The North Oshawa Skatepark Isn’t Just About Skateboarding

Feature and Images by Shana Fillatrau, Durham College Journalism Student

To some, a skatepark just seems like a slab of concrete, but to others, it’s a place to exercise, make new friends and express their passion.

​David Galloway, a long-time volunteer at Skatelife, a faith-based organization that works with local skateboarders in different communities across Canada, is at the North Oshawa skatepark at least once a week.

Galloway’s favourite moments from the park are conversations. “Sometimes I show up, especially when there are a lot of guys here, and guys I know, I don’t even necessarily get on my skateboard right away. I’m just making rounds talking to people,” says Galloway.

It’s not always about the skateboarding, says Galloway, but it’s about connecting with people and building a community. Treflips, nose grinds and varial heels are all terms you would hear and tricks you would see at the North Oshawa skatepark.

It’s a place for the young, the old – the beginners and also, the professionals.

The 10,000 square foot skatepark opened in 2010. The park was built by New Line Skateparks, a municipal skatepark design and construction company who have finished over 200 projects

The park includes, rails, manual pads, hubbas and quarter pipes, as well as space to pump in order for the skaters to keep their momentum.

Skatepark construction 101:

Mitchell Wiskel, an Oshawa parks development supervisor, says planning to build a skatepark is similar to any other parks’ development project.

“In the case of a skatepark,” he said, ”we would typically start off by determining if there’s a need for the city through surveys or outside studies.”

While being relatively inexpensive, the parks give youth a place to spend their time and it promotes physical activity. Wiskel didn’t work on the park, but is knowledgeable about the process and says skateparks are beneficial to city’s urban development.

Once it’s determined there is a need for the skatepark, parks development would then decide what the best location is. After that, Wiskell said, they would then focus on the design of the park

Next, an expert skatepark designer has to be brought in. To accomplish this, Wiskel said a request for proposal (RFP) is sent out. Designers pitch their ideas and skills to parks development. This would be contracted out and parks development would oversee this process

Another RFP is sent out to contractors but their pitch is based on price. Parks development hires the least expensive, qualified contractor.

After the design is finished, parks development hires general contractors to build the park. Parks and development decides what company would be hired, as well as the construction process itself.

Once the skatepark is finished, parks development ends their involvement and the city’s parks operation staff looks after the facility.

Wiskel said parks and development is only brought back onto the project if something broke or the park was to be renovated.

Other duties of parks development include organizing public consultations (whether that be through city hall meetings, local surveys or speaking to interest groups – skateboarders), speaking to other city departments that may have a stake in the process and fiscal responsibilities.

“It’s so important to stay involved and to stay involved with the development side of things for Oshawa,” says Wiskel, “because if we didn’t have that involvement, from a public standpoint, there wouldn’t be that buy-in, through the process.”

Wiskel says with strong community feedback we can build much better facilities. “Because we’re building for exactly what those users want.”

A skater’s experience:


Kyelle Hatherly started skating in 1986. He stopped when he started high school. Back in the eighties, Hatherly said skateboarding was a fad, and he wanted to try it.

Three years ago, Hatherly picked up the board again, since he didn’t have a license and needed a way to get around.

Hatherly says he didn’t have many skateparks around when he was younger, so when he saw the North Oshawa skatepark, he wanted to try it out. He started coming to the park three years ago when he started skating again.

His favourite part of the park is the funbox (a manual pad), but he says, “Yeah, I think it should be bigger, but there’s not really space to add it unless they took out some of the parking lot or something, but yeah, it’s a little small.”

Hatherly tries to make it to the park every day he has off from work.

Who is David Galloway and what is Skatelife?:

David Galloway started skating in 1988. He went to O’Neill. This is where he found his passion. One day he saw students doing a trick called a boneless down a set of stairs.

Even though he said it was a small set of stairs. “They were flying through the air and I’m like, ‘man, I want to be a part of that,’” recalls Galloway who says the North Oshawa skatepark is an integral part of his skating experience now.

He was there skating at the park before it officially opened in 2010.

He tries to be at the park at least once a week, but tries for several times a week.

Galloway says he wants a flatbar added to the park and has heard other people feel the same.

He started volunteering at Skatelife in 1997 in British Columbia, while attending school in Abbortsford. His school gave credits for volunteer hours, so he joined when he saw Skatelife being advertised in a local skateshop.

Skatelife is a non-profit, faith-based organization that works with local skateboarders in different communities across Canada. SkateLife promotes community and friendships. They hold weekly skate clubs where local skaters can meet up, spend time together, learn new tricks, film, etc.

​Galloway says Skatelife focuses heavily on the 13 to 18-year-old age range, but the organization also caters to younger children, as well as adults.

His favourite part is connecting with the skaters. Being a mentor to them and helping them make positive life choices, career paths is important to him.

“Some of these guys don’t have a positive male figure in their life, says Galloway, “and I feel that’s really important, just to be that to those guys.”

Looking at the park, you wouldn’t know the stories of the people who skate there, but taking the time to learn more reveals the Oshawa skatepark has an impact on people in the community.

The land where we stand is the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

Durham College‘s newspaper, The Chronicle, launches a new feature series called The Land Where We Stand, about the hidden stories that shape our region.

This article originally appeared in The Chronicle, February 28, 2018.

Some of the articles found on this blog have been provided through partnerships with external sources, and we welcome reader engagement through comments.  The views expressed in such articles/comments may not necessarily reflect those of the OHS/OM.


Ways the Oshawa Museum is Changing the Narrative

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist

There is a saying that “history is written by the victor” and this is certainly true when it comes to Canadian history.  So much of our history, on a local, provincial and national level, is written from the perspective of European colonial settlers. This narrow focus has greatly impacted how museum and archival collections have been developed and has created an historical narrative that is not entirely accurate.

Throughout Canada, museums and archives are working to find ways to move beyond the colonial settler focus of our collections and develop collections that more accurately showcase our history.  The Oshawa Museum is working to fill the gaps in our historical narrative, to include more voices and become more inclusive by telling the untold and under researched stories of our community.  In Oshawa, our local history tends to be told through a lens of focusing on the impact of the wealthy industrialists and the companies they ran.  This is certainly an important part of our local history, but it is a very narrow focus and leaves out so many other fascinating stories.

One of the ways we are changing the historical narrative is through our research into early Black history in Oshawa.  Oshawa has had a small Black population since at least 1850, and that population has continued to grow and flourish.  The research has focused on the experiences of one family, the Andrews/Dunbar/Pankhurst family, and examines how their experiences fit into the larger context of the history of Black Canadians.  Research like this widen the lens through which we look at our history and works to tell a local history that better reflects what the community actually looked like in the past.


Black History Month Display at Hot Roots Festival Launch, 2016

Throughout the month of February, the Museum has been celebrating Black History Month by reaching out to the community to talk about our research.  In fact, over the past month, we have spoken to over 400 members of our community about this research.  It has been truly rewarding to share this research with so many people and help bring focus to the rich and diverse history of Oshawa.

The Land Where We Stand

On Wednesdays, the OM is excited to offer a new feature series called The Land Where We Stand, a partnership with Durham College.

By Teresa Goff, Journalism Faculty, School of Media, Art & Design – ‎Durham College

The land where we stand is the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

Uncovering the hidden stories about the land our community is built on is what The Chronicle’s new feature series, The Land Where We Stand, is about.

We have talked to Oshawa Mayor John Henry, Oshawa Museum archivist Jennifer Weymark, former City Councillor Lousie Parkes, chair for Heritage Oshawa, Laura Thursby.

The Chronicle launched this project with Julie Pigeon, an advisor at Durham College’s Aboriginal Student Centre.

We sat down with Pigeon to participate in a smudging ceremony, to expand our knowledge or the history of the land and to learn how to make tobacco ties to give to elders when asking for information and stories about the land where we stand.

This series uncovers Durham Region’s lost stories and explores the impact history has had on shaping where we live.

You’ll read about famous buildings like the Hotel Genosha and Regent Theatre and discover places such as Harriet House, Oshawa’s first post office and the Oshawa skate park.

The Land Where We Stand series explores themes such as the impacts of World War II in Durham Region, businesses’ role in shaping our communities, the development of farm lands and maintenance of historic buildings.

Tune into Riot Radio ( on Thursdays from 3 to 4pm for segments with guests like mayor John Henry.

We have a story map for you to check out online at<>.

Follow us on Twitter @DCUOITChronicle and use #thelandwherewestand to join the conversation, ask questions or send us more information.

Student Museum Musings – Ria

By Ria K., Co-op Student

Hello, my name is Ria, and I am this semester’s co-op student at the Oshawa Museum. I am currently in Grade 11, and attend O’Neill C.V.I. I chose to do my placement at the Oshawa Museum since it is an extremely different learning environment from what I am used to. History class is something I enjoy, as I am constantly learning, however history is much more exciting and engaging when I am experiencing a hands on learning experience, and not just listening to a lecture. Throughout my time as a co-op student, I will have many ongoing projects. One responsibility I find extremely interesting is researching and creating the monthly Month That Was blog posts.  Also, I have been passing a lot of time creating write ups on artefacts and posting them to the Oshawa Museum Tumblr. I hope to gain a lot of knowledge about how museums run, as well as gain new skills in researching, writing, and creating aesthetically pleasing displays. I am looking forward to spending the next four months at the Oshawa Museum!

Here is a selection of photos Ria has taken around the Museum!

The Month That Was – March 1926

The Ontario Daily Reformer
Bus Enters Ditch to Avoid Auto
March 4, 1926

Bus Owner Lays Charge Against C. H. Read for Recklessness

A Whitby-Oshawa bus ran into the ditch on the Kingston Road at Gibbons street shortly after seven o’clock this morning, when Harold Dalton, the driver, attempted to avoid striking a car driven by C. H. Read, 96 Gibbons street, when it turned on to the Kingston road off Gibbons street. The bus went on its side in the ditch. There were about 18 passengers in the bubs at the time, but none suffered injuries, outside of one man who sustained a scratched hand.

A charge of reckless driving has been laid against C. H. Read.


The Ontario Daily Reformer
At Local Theatres
March 4, 1926

Meighen in “Irish Luck” Opens at Regent Tonight

The famous Blarney Stone – heralded for many years in song, poem and Irish tale – has been kissed by Thomas Meighen, the Paramount star who went to Erin to make “Irish Luck,” the Emerald Isle romance which opens a three-day engagement at the Regent this evening.

Such an event in of sufficient importance as to have the exact time of its accomplishment recorded. Hence be it noted that the kissing took place at five minutes after two o’clock on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 1925.

The Blarney Stone is located, as everyone should know, at Blarney Castle…

“Irish Luck,” a romantic-drama against a background of modern Erin, has a swift-moving plot, suspense, thirlls and heart-interest – and more – it has Tom Meighan in a duel role. Tom Geraghty adapted the story from Norman Venner’s Saturday Evening Post serial, “An Imperfect Imposter.” Victor Heerman directed the production, which features Lois Wilson at the head of a strong supporting cast.

Arthur Stone in a rollicking comedy creation and “Call of the Game,” a short sports film will be added attractions as will Sam Collis and his Regent orchestra.

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The Ontario Daily Reformer
Second Annual High School Play
March 4, 1926

Those Taking Part Are Working Hard To Make It A Great Success

On Friday evening of this week the students of the Oshawa High School are presenting their second annual play and concert in the auditorium of the school. The first part of the entertainment will consist of selections by the Glee Club of the school. The club have been practicing faithfully and well since early fall and under the able tuition of Mr. Lyonde of the Hambourg Conservatory of Music have developed wonderfully. This part of the programme will be made up of solos, duets, quartets, and choruses and should be highly entertaining.

The second part of the evening’s entertainment will take the form of a play put on by students of the school. In the presenting of plays the local students have won themselves a place in the hearts of Oshawa people by their stellar work in the comedy “Mr. Bob,” which was put on last year. Probably no play given by amateur talent in Oshawa has attracted more favorable criticism and well-deserved applause than this play and on their reputation won last year the students should have a large audience on Friday night.

…The play is being directed by Ms. Adams who was in charge of last year’s production and o whom much of the credit for the excellent showing of the students last year was due. The details regarding costumes and setting are in the hands of Miss Tuttle, MissArmstrong and Mr. Holme, all members of the High School staff who had charge of this work in the presenting of “Mr. Bob.”

The principal parts are being taken as follows: Mr. Pickwick, Maurice Hutchinson; Mrs. Bardell, Miss M. Hart; Mrs. Cluppins, Miss M. Anderson; Mrs. Sanders, Miss L. Mundy; Mr Winkle, Donald Crothers; Sergent Buzzfuzz, Manning Swartz; Sergeant Snubbins, Hartland Callaghan; the Judge, Irwin Deyman, and the Clerk, James Kinnear.

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The Oshawa Junior Reformer
Children Help Children
March 6, 1926

We wish to call the attention of all our readers to the special article (on the front page of this issue by Mr. George Speedie of Toronto, Superintendent of the Missionary Department of the Upper Canada Tracts Society’s Mission to Soldiers, Sailors, and Lighthouse Keepers etc.

I am sure all of young Oshawa feel proud to have had the chance to bring happiness to so many people and to merit the hearty thanks of Mr. Speedie.

Everyone of us knows the pleasure to be gotten from the reading of books. Living, as we do, with well-stocked libraries at hand we cannot realize what it is like to be without books and magazines to read.

To my mind, the most pleasing feature of this donation of books by the girls and boys of Oshawa is that a great many of the books have been given by girls and boys to girls and boys.

This readiness to help others is what we admire. A.S.


The Oshawa Junior Reformer
St. Gregory’s School Rink
March 6, 1926

The boys of St. Gregory’s School made a fine little rink which was enjoyed by not only by our own school but also by others. There were many hockey games played on it. In some of the games, the players looked like professionals. But some of the smartest games were those played by the Primary Classes; in one game the latter won by a close score, after a hard fought game.

The girls also enjoyed the rink. They held a skating party on Feb. 8, and skated until they were tired. Then they went to the hall where they were served a lunch. At last, they returned home tired but happy after their outing.


The Oshawa Junior Reformer
Games to Play and Tricks to Preform
Edition 06, March, 1926

A Magic Trick

This clever mathematical trick, by which you can tell the month and the year of a person’s birth, will startle many of your friends says “The American Boy Magazine” Tell your friend to put down the number of the month in which he was born, multiply it by two, then add five, multiply by fifty, add his age, subtract 365, and then add 115. The two figures on the right will tell you his age, the REMAINDER will be the number of the month of his birth. For example, if the total is 615, he is fifteen years old and was born in June.

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