Toronto Mayor John Tory sides with street hockey players

Mayor John Tory came out swinging against city officials who've threatened to fine residents in a North Toronto neighbourhood whose children play hockey on their street.

'What's next? Are we gonna ban Halloween?' Tory asks

Mayor John Tory sides with Jake Ashcroft, 9, and his friends who play street hockey in a North Toronto neighbourhood. He has questioned why residents on Esgore Drive have been threatened with fines for not removing hockey nets from their street. (CBC News)

Mayor John Tory came out swinging against city officials who've threatened to fine residents in a North Toronto neighbourhood whose kids play hockey on their street.

On Friday, nearly 20 homes on Esgore Drive, in the Wilson Avenue and Avenue Road area, were threatened with $90 fines from the city if they did not remove hockey and basketball nets from their street in the next 20 days.

Jacqueline White, the director of transportation services for North York, said the law is on the city's side and provided CBC News with a copy of the bylaw that states, in part, that "no person shall play or take part in any game or sport upon a roadway."

Esgore Drive doesn't have sidewalks so children often play with their hockey and basketball nets on the edge of the street.

"It's a safety issue for the city, a liability issue," Coun. Christin Carmichael Greb, who represents Ward 16, told CBC News.

Mayor sides with kids

On Thursday, Tory sided with the children who play on Esgore Drive.

"I don't know who the people are who have the time to remove hockey nets from streets," Tory said. "Most kids and their parents are sensible enough to move the hockey net off the streets when they see cars coming along.

"What's next?" Tory asked. "Are we gonna ban Halloween because kids are walking on the sidewalk in the dark?"

He suggested the issue can be solved without writing tickets.

"Let kids play ball hockey as I did as a kid and as many kids do and will do for generations to come," he said.

Mark Ashcroft, whose son Jake plays on the street, welcomed Tory's comments.

"That's brilliant!" he told CBC News. "I'm so glad to hear that. Mayor Tory is a very sensible man and he's a father. He knows. And I agree, I think there's a solution to this."

Jake said the city shouldn't move the nets "because they're not really affecting traffic."

Speeders on Esgore Drive are the problem, he said, not his friends playing street hockey.


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