Lighter, News

Tobogganing Banned In Some Canadian and US Towns

Image: David Cooper, Toronto Star
Image: David Cooper, Toronto Star

Tobogganing is a very popular winter sport in Canada and the United States.

Also known as “sledding,” tobogganing is a sport in which people sit on a plastic or wooden flat-bottomed sled at the top of a snowy hill… and then push off, to go sliding down the hill. It can be exciting, a bit scary and lots of fun.

It’s also great exercise, especially since after you’ve slid down the hill, you usually have to walk back up.

Some people say tobogganing can be dangerous, since it’s possible for the sled to tip or hit something on the way down and it can be difficult to stop. People—especially children—can get hurt. Some people who have gotten hurt may even then blame the city for their accident and sue the city (sue, in this case, make the city pay them some money).

That’s why some towns in Canada and the United States have recently banned tobogganing. Other towns have put limits on which hills people can toboggan on.

People who ignore the ban and toboggan on a hill that has been banned risk having to pay a fine.

Some people are objecting to the new bans on tobogganing. People in Hamilton, Ontario put together an online petition, asking that instead of banning tobogganing, the city put up signs that say “Toboggan at your own risk” instead. That way, they say, people can decide for themselves if they want to take the risk.

Tobogganing is an inexpensive, fun and sometimes dangerous winter sport. Doctors say that people who toboggan should wear a helmet, which may help to prevent some injuries.

In some cities, like Ottawa, Ontario and Calgary, Alberta, there are “official” tobogganing hills that are specifically groomed for the sport.

Like many sports, tobogganing can be dangerous, but it can also be great exercise and a lot of fun. And for now, it’s still happening on many hills in snowy towns across North America.

Related site

Hamilton’s online petition.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Do you think toboganning should be banned from some hills? Do you think a city is acting sufficiently responsible if they post warnings? How would you like to see this problem solved?

Reading Prompt: Point of View
What side of the argument do you think the writer of today’s story is on? What evidence can you find in the text to support your answer?

Identify the point of view presented in a text and suggest some possible alternative perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Identify the point of view presented in texts, ask questions to identify missing or possible alternative points of view, and suggest some possible alternative perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Identify the point of view presented in texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts; give evidence of any biases they may contain; and suggest other possible perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Language Feature: Word Origin
The word “toboggan” is actually a Mi’kmac word meaning “sled.” French-Canadians started to use the word over time and began to refer to sledding as “tabaganne.” Later, the word was adopted by English, and its form, “toboggan.”

Using only the letters in “toboggan,” make a list of new words. New words don’t have to use all 8 letters. Compare your list to a friend’s. Whose got more words?