Murray’s Mountain ‘Sled-in’ planned for Sunday

January 9, 2015   ·   0 Comments

For many who have grown up in Orangeville, there has been a longstanding winter tradition of tobogganing on Murray’s Mountain. The hill, which leads directly onto the track and one of the soccer fields at ODSS, has always been in the perfect position for a great ride. But recent changes to that has left much of Orangeville in an uproar, particularly on Facebook, where residents have been very vocal about their feelings.

This outrage was caused by the placement of a ‘No Tobogganing’ sign on the hill four weeks ago, and while there is no official by-law number on the sign, according to police and the Town, the ban is still legal.

According to a press release put out by the Town of Orangeville on Thursday afternoon, the ban is not new; a sign was originally erected in 2009 when the property was purchased by the Town from the Upper Grand District School Board. The new sign has been erected on the same pole, but is much larger, and more visible, whereas the older sign was smaller, and posted on the back of the pole. This change has made the sign more visible to those climbing the hill, rather than just those about to sled down the hill.

The move to put the sign in place after the purchase was directed by the Town’s insurance company in order to protect the Town from possible legal repercussions.

“Murray’s Mountain has never been classified as a toboggan hill, it’s never been insured as a toboggan hill, and it’s never been maintained as a toboggan hill,” said Parks and Recreation Director Ed Brennan. “While we all appreciate fun winter activities, some of them have inherent risks and bring liability issues for municipalities.”

On Thursday morning, Mayor Jeremy Williams took to Facebook to address the concerns, indicating he had received a large number of comments from members of the public that he was working diligently to respond to.

“I was tempted to remove the sign myself, however that wouldn’t be appropriate,” he wrote on his page. “Two things are crystal clear. We must remain compliant with our insurance policy and Orangeville values Murray’s Mountain, and for most of us it is a part of our childhood that shouldn’t be ‘taken away’ by bureaucratic procedures.”

He added that he has instructed the Town clerk that he intends to bring the issue to council on Monday night.

“In order for us to officially allow tobogganing on the hill we must get our insurance to include it in our policy,” he said. “There may be costs involved, including adding staff time to maintain the hill to safe standards just like is done with snowboard or ski hills.”

Residents of the area are also finding their own ways to take action and ensure their voices are heard in this discussion, both at a local level and a provincial level. Teresa Wing, a resident of Shelburne, has launched a petition on that is directed towards Premier Kathleen Wynne, demanding the Province take action and stop the ban on tobogganing.

“People have been tobogganing for decades upon decades,” said Ms. Wing in the petition description. “It’s not only a Canadian tradition but it’s also our right to have fun in a great winter activity! Can there be injuries? Yes, it happens, as it does with numerous activities. They all have an element of risk of injury! Are we going to ban those next?”

Rob Stewart, an Orangeville resident who has been active on the Orangeville and Area Q&A Facebook page for quite a while, arranged a ‘sled-in’ for this weekend to make sure that council heard the voices of the residents. Now that it has been announced that the town has heard, and that the Mayor will be bringing the issue to council Monday evening, the event has been changed to reflect community spirit and fun together.

As far as what the response will be from other Council members, and what kind of proposed solution the Town could be looking at, residents will have to wait until Monday evening’s meeting.

“This is one of those unfortunate circumstances we find ourselves in in the modern world,” said Mayor Jeremy Williams. “I’m looking forward to Orangeville Council weighing in to see how we can legally permit tobogganing in future.”

Murray’s Mountain is the only location posted with a “No Tobogganing” sign in the Town. To sign the petition directed to Premier Kathleen Wynne, go to The Sled-In will be taking place on Murray’s Mountain between 10 a.m. – 12 noon on Sunday. For more information you can visit the event page on Facebook at

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