Like many neighborhoods in Toronto there are at least 10 houses undergoing major renovations. Each one has the obligatory waste bin out front full of old 2×4’s sheets of plywood and old pipes.
My 16 year old skater self would stand in awe at the mother load of raw material a bin like this provides. In the late 80’s we skated around the neighborhood for days trying to scrape together enough scrap wood to make a small launch ramp. Most times we ended up buying a sheet of plywood for the surface.
“Back in the day” being a skater also introduced you to the skills of carpentry. We spent hours planning our ramps on paper and then making full size templates on cardboard. The goal of this process was always to find the best transition.
Skaters back then could not imagine the quantity of free and amazing skate parks present in Toronto today. I would have given up our homemade ramps in a second for a chance to skate these beauties but I can’t help feeling something is lost from today’s skate scene. We had a DIY spirit born out of necessity because the monotony of skating the same curbs eventually set in. We craved for the ramps we saw on VHS tapes of competitions. Since there was no cash and no place to buy these ramps we learned to make our own . This is a right of passage not many skaters get to experience today.
It’s time to reach into the past and revive this culture of ramp building. Lets utilize these home renovations and the waste lumber they create as a call to action. Hit the streets and save these raw materials from landfill, give them a second (more exciting) life as skate ramps!