Get ready to hit the hills.
A new Google map is highlighting all the best places to go tobogganing across Canada. Already featuring more than 200 hills from coast to coast, the map can be edited by anyone willing to share their hidden winter gems with the rest of the country.
The idea can be credited to Edmonton’s Charles Heard, a self-described “toboggan enthusiast” who is actually encouraging people to help fill up the map. And so far, it looks like his efforts are paying off. Not only are there plenty of possible locations to browse, the users adding them often leave little tips and tricks to help maximize the fun.
“Wanderer’s Grounds side has a steep hill and long landing area. Don’t go too close to Citadel High School; that side of the hill has some sizable rocks and roots,” one user wrote of Halifax’s Citadel Hill.
“Watch for the bylaw officers; not a spot sanctioned by the city,” another warned for a spot in Alberta.
Speaking of bylaws, the map doesn’t actually take into account any potential tobogganing bans, which would pose a problem in cities like Hamilton, Ont where the activity is prohibited. Other cities like Ottawa, meanwhile, have enacted bylaws that restrict tobogganing to certain hills and locations. So make sure you know the laws that apply in your area before hitting the slopes.
Another thing to remember: Helmets. Most emergency room visits related to tobogganing are for injuries to the head, face or neck — putting one on could literally save your life. The Ontario Health Promotion E-Bulletin also advises parents to keep the fun away from hazards like roads, rocks and trees. Although reported tobogganing injuries are significantly fewer than those incurred snowboarding or skiing, the Canadian Institute for Health Information reports the activity was still responsible for 171 hospitalizations in the winter of 2010-2011.
With all that said, here’s how to add your favourite hill to the Google map:
- First off, navigate to the map by clicking here
- Sign into your Gmail account (if you don’t have one, you’ll have to sign up)
- Click “edit” in the legend window on the left side
- Search for the location you want to highlight using the bar at the top, then click “add marker” (or just double click on the area itself)
- A pop-up window will appear where you can fill in the name of the location, along with any pointers or tips you want to provide
- Click “save”
Here’s what the map looks like now: