Signage declaring new regulations about sliding on the hills in St. John’s has been posted in public places throughout the city. The signage declares a whole raft of rules about what can and cannot be done when snow sliding.
Some think that this is a new conversation, but the reality is that regulations about snow sliding or sledding in St. John’s started 100 years ago.
In 1916 “skating or sliding down the hills” was on the agenda of Newfoundland legislators, so much so that the lawmakers opted to pass legislation about sliding.
In Chapter 51 of the Consolidated Acts, 1916 under the chapter title “Of Nuisances and Municipal Regulations” Section 14 the Act reads:
“The stipendiary magistrate may make regulations for preventing persons from coasting, skating or sliding down the hills or highways or streets …”
The focus of the legislation in 1916 was on the “… skating or sliding down the hills or highways or streets…”
There was a time when the ‘townies’ loved nothing more than grabbing their sleigh for a ride down of the steep hills of the city. The practice was however quite dangerous.
The local newspapers reported on an almost daily basis about individuals being injured on the hills of the town.
On January 14, 1916 the Evening Telegram reported:
“Boy Injured while sliding over Prescott Street” Yesterday after noon, newsboy met with a painful accident. He collided with another sled resulting in a deep wound being inflicted in his leg. The injured youth was brought to a nearby drug store for treatment and was later conveyed home and attended by a doctor. “
On February 18, 1916 under the headline “Dangerous practice the sliding of children” the Telegram reported:
“The sliding of children on the city heights is a very dangerous practice particularly on those hills near the street car rails. This morning two children of Hutching’s Street narrowly escaped being killed by a passing street car. The sled on which the youngsters were seated passing in front of the car’s fender by a couple of feet. “
The new signage posted on St. John’s hills and parks (including Victoria Park) owned by the city comes after the city of St. John’s had to review its liability in the wake of the city of Hamilton, Ontario being sued following an injury at a popular sledding hill . The City of Sudbury, Ontario in response to the same lawsuit responded by fencing off a sliding hill and banning tobogganing on public land outright.
Almost 100 years following the initial conversation about snow sliding on the hills of St. John’s the conversation continues. The warning signs in Victoria Park read no “crazy carpets and flying saucers.”
Learn more about Victoria Park, St. John’s: Read More:
Learn more about Victoria Park: https://www.facebook.com/VPRenewal/
Recommended Archival Collection: At the Rooms Provincial Archives. The consolidated statutes of Newfoundland : being a consolidation of the statute law of the colony down to and including the session of the Legislature in the year 1916 / printed and published by and under the authority of the Governor in Council, and proclaimed under the authority of the Act 9 and 10, George V., cap. X., 1918.