Ottawa: The City That Fun Forgot

Ottawa is the only city I know that has designated tobogganing hills. They come with a list of rules and important warnings. The National Capital Commission decides when it is safe to open them for the season. At various times during the winter months they are closed because it’s not safe!

 They even have scary signs.


To ensure even less winter fun the National Capital Commission has also decided not to have the outdoor concert series during Winterlude this year because heating the stage will “cause damage to the environment”. They’re aiming for a carbon-neutral/fun-neutral Winterlude this year. 

Isn’t that awesomely responsible of them?


The kids at D. Roy Kennedy Elementary School in Ottawa are no longer allowed to play with balls during recess – except in warm weather months…. when they’re not at school.

Balls in cold weather are too dangerous. A kid got hit in the eye with a ball the other day. Now kids have to stand around at recess and chat.  I’m sure it won’t be long before all the other schools in Ottawa ban balls as well.  They won’t want to continue putting our children’s lives in jeopardy.

I can’t believe it’s taken this long for adults to fully realize the danger of kids playing.


27 responses to “Ottawa: The City That Fun Forgot

  1. The safety Nazis have to make a living too you know. Every time someone gets hurt a new rule must be promulgated. These rules in spite of little stevie are never, ever, prorogued.
    Eventually if we would all just follow the rules all risk can be removed from life and we will all live forever since there will be nothing left dangerous enough to kill us.
    Now I realize some dark souls out there think we would damage our environment so badly this won’t be possible but honestly can you truly say you have tried to follow all the rules all the time.
    If you do you are guaranteed a totally safe secure and never ending life.
    At least it will certainly seem never ending. Kinda like a 24 hr a day staff meeting forever and ever and ever.

  2. It does sound so silly, doesn’t it. Thanks for consolidating!
    Just curious how many parents put helmets on their children when they go tobogganing?
    We haven’t made that leap just yet….

  3. Hills: All we really have to do is avoid the officially designated hills. I mean, I am fully able to butt-toboggan down any given sidewalk in Centretown, more or less fatally, every time there’s an ice storm. Take that NCC…!

    Outdoor concerts: Ya don’t think maybe the NCC is just trying to come up with a (marginally) plausible, politically correct reason for being utter f#$%*&ing!! cheapskates? Or being music haters? Because over on the Quebec side, that self-same, ummm, environmentally responsible organisation has sucked about 12 million litres of already-rationed municipal water through its snowmaking machines. To build ummm the Snowflake Kingdom, a park full of officially-approved ice and snow slides. Upon which to officially toboggan.

    BALLS: Enough said, I think…

  4. The balls, well…I dunno. As someone who has experience getting hit in the face with a frozen ball, I can certainly understand the concern. Balls don’t have the same give when they’re frozen. They’re not nearly the harmless orbs of fun you might think they are. I’m not saying I necessarily agree with the ban, I’m just saying it’s not completely ridiculous.

    Okay all…have at me. 🙂

  5. The Boy and I were in the car when he heard to the story about the ball ban… he seems as baffled as we are. (Never been an issue at his school… ) They even let them slide at recess without helmets.

    I know… I know…

  6. Jazz- Indeed. Frozen balls don’t kill people…well, okay, they might…

    Dave – How many things have you broken and injured just for the sake of fun? If you’d only followed the rules you’d be perfectly okay now.

    Finola – Really? Kids have to wear helmets while tobogganing now? No wonder kids don’t want to go outside and play anymore.

    Meagan – I know. Great idea! I think it’s cool that the kids are doing a petition to get their balls back (literally and figuratively, I would think)

    MM – Yes, we can’t just have kids splashing around in cool water on a hot day. Of course there were no really hot days this summer, so probably the city was protecting them from hypothermia. Phew!

    Coyote – Take kids’ balls while they’re young and they’re grow into very compliant adults, I always say. And, I think they ought to cancel the entire Winterlude – all that ice and snow is incredibly dangerous and environmentally iffy.

    Tu sais que – Florida?

    Mary Lynn – Balls have been getting cold and hard for a long, long time and kids have been playing with them and maybe even getting smacked in the face with them. So what? Do we actually expect our kids to never do anything that could possibly harm them?

    Nat – Slide without helmets? And they let them play with their balls freely? OMG! What kind of unfeeling, uncaring place do you send your kid?

  7. To be really, really safe, they should ban winter all together cause all that ice is plain dangerous. I love Canada but I have notice a certain bizarre extremism in the implementation of policies for the common good.

    At least, their intentions are good. When I lived in the U.K. the local law makers were really wasting time and resources by coming out with absurd by-laws. One such law was to forbid the use of the word “pet” for animals. It was deemed to demeaning and they would now be called “animal companions”. One disgruntled citizen wrote to the papers and complained that the councilors were just being “animal companion”-ery.

  8. A few years back, the Resident Love Goddess foresaw a time where car passengers wore helmets. Two summers ago I saw a family of 4 adorned with bike helmets while in their Nissan on Elgin St. Not a bike to be seen and they weren’t dressed for anything athletic-y.
    There is a reasonable limit, though. I am old enough to remember trying to push my little brother out of the back of my Mom’s ’63 Caddy convertible… seat belts? Naw! Yet thousands of lives have been saved by this simple little strap.
    Though Ottawa does most definitely goes overboard on the safety/liability side. No doubt.

  9. LGS – Har har – animal companions. The crazy thing is that the English call people they’re fond of “pet”

    Trashy – What is ironic is that while we’re protecting our kids from all these external dangers, we’re killing them internally with all the crap we feed them and the insane technology and associated games we expose them to.

    Milan – They say the heating is not so much for the people as for the instruments

  10. Well I fought the law of gravity, a few times and the law won.
    But on the other hand I was never injured while running with scissors cause I pretty much always follow the rules.

  11. I love the sign for no tobogganing. It looks like it’s suggesting no pooping on your sleigh..

    And if kids can’t play with their balls on the playground is it still ok to play with them in class..

  12. Dave – Ya, gravity’s a bitch. They ought to have protective equipment for that.

    Bob – Except that geography teacher you had the hots for,right?

    Glen – I don’t know. My daughter had a kid in her class through the first few years of elementary school who played with his balls all the time and was ostracized by the other kids because they didn’t want him to touch them. Parents complained. Teachers had the mum in for interviews. Finally he had to get transfered to a special school. Let that be a lesson to us all.

    Chris – No sledding in Ottawa right now. Too dangerous. If you fall off the toboggan you could get bruised or get muck on your pants or something.

  13. the ball situation is hysterical, or maybe just hte way you write about it 😉 the world is closing in on us.

    i love you have designated toboggan hills! all we have here is golf courses to slide around on when and if we get snow.

  14. Leah – No, no – designated tobogganing hills are insane. They take all the fun out of it. Kids are supposed to wander around with their sleds and discover cool hills on their own. And there shouldn’t be a posted list of rules and officials opening or closing the hill to users.

  15. I read about those balls being banned. Un-freaking believable.

    For Chrissakes…what’s next on the list? Yo-yo (Which could cause head injury?) Skipping ropes? (which are a chocking hazard)

    I pity today’s kids. Those of us who grew up in the 70’s will go down as the last generation that got to have fun.

  16. PS. If you’re going to toboggan, make sure you limit your fun to only for 2 hours

    Because that’s apparentlyi how long you’re allowed to park.

  17. Missy – Sure, I appreciate thin ice warnings and I appreciate e-coli warnings on our beaches in the summer, but what could go wrong on a toboggan hill? No snow? Too much snow?

    Friar – If you have to be driven to the toboggan hill and your parents have to park while you toboggan, then the fun is already over. Also, I’m pretty sure skipping ropes and yo-yos are already banned.

  18. The NCC, the same NCC that inflicted the incredibly energy-wasteful Brownbelt (formerly the Greenbelt) on Ottawa, and continues, despite all the evidence in the universe, to insist that the Kanata-Orleans-and-Barrhaven-inducing-Brownbelt is still a wonderful thing; the NCC that has never — literally, never — encountered a City of Ottawa or RMOC capital transit project it couldn’t obstruct; the NCC that ripped out rail lines and replaced them with “parkways”; the NCC that flattened downtown mixed-used neighbourhoods; that NCC, THAT NCC, is suddenly worried about greenhouse gas emissions?

    Give. Me. A. Break.