Street Hockey Banned In Toronto – Or Is It?

People playing ball hockey in Toronto; Image: Joyce Grant,
Image: Joyce Grant for

Canada loves hockey! It’s one of the country’s two national sports. Right across the country, lots of kids play street hockey (or ball hockey) after school. A few kids, some sticks, nets if you have them, and a ball – that’s all you need for a great after school game.

But you may not know that street hockey is banned in Toronto.

Of course, many people – adults and kids alike – play the game anyway. They may not know it’s banned, or they may simply play and just hope they don’t get caught.

The City of Toronto is deciding whether to keep the by-law or change it to make street hockey legal.

Josh Matlow is a city councillor in Toronto. He thinks the by-law banning street hockey does not make sense since many people play street hockey anyway. He is fighting to lift the ban, especially for people who live on a residential street.

“Ball hockey should be legal on Toronto’s residential streets. It’s a Canadian tradition and keeps kids active,” he wrote on Twitter.

The street hockey law is rarely enforced. When it is, it is usually because a neighbour has complained. Police officers can give a warning or – in rare instances – slap the players with a $55 fine.

There are a few things the people at Toronto’s City Hall have to think about when making their decision about the by-law. Some residential streets in the centre of the city are narrower and busier than normal side streets. Keeping children safe from cars is important, but many parents like to keep an eye on their kids from their home if they play on the street instead of at a park. Also, neighbours do not want their property damaged, like broken windows or dents in cars.Sign: "Ball hockey prohibited"; Image: Joyce Grant,

Canada’s exercise guidelines recommend that kids have an hour of exercise every day. If children stop wanting to play street hockey outside because of the ban, some councilors argue, then it may become even harder for them to get their exercise.

Josh Matlow organized “a game of street hockey with kids in my ward” last month, he said on Twitter. He said, “We played last year too!” He jokingly called himself a “rebel” for playing street hockey in spite of the ban.

Related Links
Read this excellent editorial in that explains why the ban is in place and asks, “if Kingston was able to lift its ban, why can’t Toronto?”


Writing/Discussion Prompt
If you were a city counselor, would you support the ban on street hockey or would you ask that the ban be lifted? What three arguments could you use to support your answer?

Reading Prompt
When reading a story or an article, you need to take in a lot of information. If, when you are reading, you find that you work hard to sound out words we use all the time (high frequency words), understanding the story becomes more difficult. Underline 15 different high frequency words in today’s article.

Automatically read and understand most high-frequency words, many regularly used words, and words of personal interest or significance, in a variety of reading contexts (OME, Reading: 3.1 ).

Spell familiar words correctly (OME, Reading: 3.1).

Automatically read and understand most words in a wide range of reading contexts (OME, Reading: 3.1).

Grammar Feature: Verbs
Verbs are action words and they are so important that every complete sentence includes one. Today’s article includes many verbs including: love, play, know, decide, make, want, give, fight, recommend, and organize.
For each of the 10 verbs in the list above, write another verb that means the same thing (a synonym).