GIANT Slip ‘N Slide in Bickford Park on Saturday
The idea for Toronto’s biggest Slip ‘N Slide was actually born in the dead of winter.
“There was a party at my house that went late and in the morning we all went tobogganing. We wondered, ‘What if we could slide down this amazing hill in summer?'” explains Keita Demming, the man behind the 100 foot long Slip ‘N Slide being unspooled down the hill of Bickford Park this Saturday afternoon in Toronto.
So Keita made it happen.
“Of course, our next thought was ‘Well, if we do this, we have to have ribs!‘ So it became a ‘Rib N Slide: a big competition where everyone brings BBQ ribs, and everyone slips and slides at the end.”
The inaugural 2013 event was wildly successful, and also hilarious — as video evidence shows:
What they didn’t expect was that passers-by would be irresistibly drawn to it. “There was a guy running past — and he stopped his run and slipped down. The guys playing baseball in the park decided to take a break and try it out.” Their summer party was destined to become a participatory thing.
This Saturday, June 7 it will be part of a citywide effort to make Toronto a better — and more fun — place to live.
“My girlfriend Shauna Trainor is part of 100 In 1 Day, trying to get 100 social interventions all happening on one day in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax,” explains Keita. In fact, there are 161 social interventions — ideas and events put on by regular people — taking place across our city as part of this citizen-driven 1 day festival, in partnership with Evergreen and the United Way.
Just check out everything that’s happening: new interventions are added daily!
Bickford Park has a fantastic set of hills, thanks to the largely covered over Garrison Creek. (Christie Pits’ natural amphitheatre and the ‘Dog Bowl’ in Trinity Bellwoods also come to mind.)
For Keita, the incline in Bickford Park is the most inviting slope — and it’s across from his house — so the intervention’s been dubbed “Slip N Slide Into The Garrison”
I asked him what his objective for Saturday was.
“You know what? That nobody gets hurt! I’m serious,” he says, laughing.
With input from neighbours and others, he’s added some DIY innovations to make the slide more kid-friendly. “Since I put it out to the neighbours, I’ve met about 10 of them and it’s great: they are willing to come to my house, they volunteered to buy stuff for it, someone is bringing a hose, and their kids are gonna come have fun with it.”
“Honestly, all of the objectives I had with this have already happened: the interest in 100 In 1 Day, and the street coming together to make it happen.”
And if Keita’s feeling ambitious next year, there’s always the example of Bristol in London, UK.
During the first weekend in May, artist Luke Jerram set up a water slide running down the main street of this diverse neighbourhood, and more than 100,000 applied for the chance to slide.