Known as “The Bridge”, it was build by a handful of hard-working shredders known as DIYYC beginning in July 2016.
It started with the smaller triangular barrier along the bike path, but grew to several obstacles on the west edge of the land. Mostly covered by a bridge (hence the name), the spot is skateable in the rain, provided the wind isn’t blowing too hard. It’s not lit.
The creators of the Bridge urge you to respect the spot. It was created by them, at their own expense. The rules are pretty simple: No bikes, no scooters, no littering, and no graffiti. We don’t want this spot to go the way of Toronto’s recent DIY skatepark.
Police have checked it out and seemed to have given passive approval so far. They recognize that the creators and users of the Bridge are keeping an otherwise unusable empty lot clean. Skaters are also activating a dead space, driving out potential illicit activity.
There are plans to expand the Bridge; at press time there was a major built of a new obstacle.
Many casual observers and non-skaters might as, “Why do you need to build your own skatepark when there’s a huge one near by?”
There are a number of reasons. The first being to have a spot or park in Calgary that is solely for skateboarding. Many of us enjoy the new skateparks but at times they’re a victim of their own success– they can be really busy. When there are scooters, bikes, and other non-skaters using the parks, they can become tricky, not to mention dangerous to navigate, much less have fun at.
The second reason the creators of the Bridge built it is so that they could have something of their own. The satisfaction gained from riding the fruits of your own labour is unlike any other. Building it themselves has allowed the DIY crew to maintain a certain construction standard, where they need not worry about shoddy builds like the one at Southwood skatepark.
Consider a community garden, for instance. A group comes together for a common goal– to create a garden together so that they may harvest it. DIY spots are no different. They involve a community coming together to create something that they all can use and benefit from.
The DIYYC would like to expand it, but they’re cautious. There’s a good chance a future pipeline might run along the tracks, very close to the Bridge spot. Too add more obstacles only to have them destroyed seems pointless, according to the Bridge spot creators. A lot of money, time, and supplies, has gone into the spot.
“Ideally I would like it if the city would just leave this place alone and see how it works, how it integrates with the community”, says one of the creators. “The Skatepark Amenities Strategy calls for ‘skateable terrain’ and that’s what we’re creating here. I’d love to see this be kind of like a pilot for future projects like it and maybe get neighbourhood kids involved. It seems hard to get kids involved in anything these days. We can do something like this elsewhere in the city and get the kids invested.”
He goes on to say, “I would love it if the city would come to an agreement with us and give us this parcel of land and let us build what we want, like Leeside. If we had to come up with a design or plans, we could do that.”
Here’s a little video of Dan R skating The Bridge, Fonda Slab, and a few other DIY spots:
DIY spots are new to Calgary. There’s no blueprint or “strategy” for them so they might be hard for some people to understand. As skateboarders, we recognize the need to create and tailor our own spots to our own needs. We hope DIY spots like The Bridge, Fonda Slab, and any other spots that might pop up will stick around and be accepted or at least be allowed to remain.
There are now a handful of DIY skate spots in Calgary. DIY stands for “do it yourself”. That means that individuals or groups of individuals have used their own time and resources to design and build these skateparks.
Skaters at these DIY parks adhere to a specific set of rules and often self-police them with tenacity that comes from pride– pride from pouring their hearts and souls into these parks. And it a many cases, a lot of funds.
Rules at Burnside, for example, include no scooters, no bike pegs, and no drugs or alcohol. It comes down to respect. If you respect the builders and the park, you’ll be allowed to skate there. If you disrespect it, chances are you will be very unwelcome by the locals and likely banned.
The function of “harsh locals” is two-fold– they keep out riff raff like drug users and others who seek out places to engage in illicit behaviours. They also ensure that no one is disrespecting their park. And make no mistake– it is their park. They built it so they get to say who uses it. Think of it as their house.
These rules aren’t that different from the sanctioned skateparks we have. PLEASE respect our parks, both DIY and legit. Don’t litter, don’t loiter, don’t snake, and just treat people how you would like to be treated. Offer help– chances are it will be accepted. Who knows, maybe you’ll become a local one day.
Global News reports that the City is putting in place measures to keep people from skating the benches, banked hip, and other obstacles at the corner of 10th St and Memorial Dr NW. It appears they’re installing strategically placed planters as well as cameras in an effort to curb skateboarding, BMX, and mountain biking at the spot.
Bylaw officers have threatened to ticket offenders to the tune of $200.
It is an amazing skate spot and obviously no one skating there is intending to disrespect the site or the people it memorializes. The fact that it has seen such heavy use is a testament to the fact that Calgary skateboarders are starved for new facilities. It goes to show that we don’t need a giant concrete skatepark to have fun; as the Skateboard Amenities Strategy dictates, numerous small “skate spots” are planned.
We recently contacted City of Calgary aldermen and urged them to watch the video below, titled “Share Path”.
The simple fact is, we need more places to skate. Did you know that Calgary has the most extensive pathway network in North America? And skateboarding IS allowed on the pathways, provided all other rules are being followed.
Wouldn’t some little skate spots and skateable art pieces be a nice addition to the pathways?
Calgary-area skaters Brandon Curcio and Tyson Branston will be releasing their video, Initial Incident soon. They’re generously donating some of their profits to CASE. Watch the promo below and stay tuned for a full premiere:
Here’s a nice video clip with Calgary and area spots and skaters. Filmed by Chance Swainson.
Friend of CASE, Dan Robinson, sent us this video. He celebrated his 37th birthday by releasing a video of him doing 37 tricks (with appearances by Rob Thorpe and Lyndon Strandquist). Enjoy:
A former Calgary skater is the driving force of this DIY skatepark built under a bridge in Victoria, BC. Enjoy this vid of Sixside: