Front yard net no slam dunk

A bylaw against curb-side basketball nets has one Upper Beach family feeling hooped.

Jack Johnstone, centre, Wil Johnstone, right, and their neighbour Liam play pick-up basketball net on Glen Davis Crescent. PHOTO: Andrew Hudson
Jack Johnstone, centre, Wil Johnstone, right, and their neighbour Liam play pick-up basketball net on Glen Davis Crescent.
PHOTO: Andrew Hudson

On May 28, Celia Johnstone came home to find a bylaw violation notice hanging on the free-standing basketball net that her sons set up on the edge of their front lawn along Glen Davis Crescent.

“It’s a joke really, because all my kids have grown up here and we’ve had one there for years,” said Johnstone.

“Nobody’s ever made any fuss about it.”

The notice gave the family two weeks to move the net away from the road because it stands in the city’s right-of-way, which Johnstone said goes three-quarters of the way up her yard.

Except for plants, walkways and short fences or retaining walls, a City of Toronto bylaw prohibits anything in such right-of-ways – from hockey nets to public art – that might block sight lines, driveways, or otherwise pose a traffic hazard.

But Johnstone said her sons have been shooting hoops in the same spot for five years already, and there are two more curb-side hoops just down the street.

“It’s random,” she said, noting that a city worker wouldn’t say if they got a complaint or not, only that it is not an offence that bylaw officers go looking for.

Breaking from a round of pick-up with his brother Wil and their neighbour Liam, Johnstone’s son Jack said he understands safety or noise could be issues, but Glen Davis is a quiet street, and they never play at night.

“Kids want to be out and active,” he said. “If we’re not doing this, we’re going to go play Xbox, we’re going to play PS4. Would you rather have people out shooting hoops and having a good time, or sitting inside?”


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