Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Pair of Wistful Farewells

Goodbye Iringa, Toka and Thika. It looks like the three surviving elephants of the Toronto Zoo are finally going to be leaving us. A challenging journey to California awaits them, sometime before the end of this month.

Goodbye elephants! You’ll be missed.

The move follows a protracted and often farcical tussle that has lasted years. I hope that the elephants don’t suffer during the trip. Regardless of how you felt about their captivity here, they were amazing and majestic to witness in person, and I thank them for their service.

Goodbye OLF
The other farewell I want to make is to the Ontario Longboarding Forum, a.k.a. OLF, which shut down about a month and a half ago.

OLF was an online bulletin board forum for skateboarders. It was a key hub for the community and an important gathering place for skaters of all ages and backgrounds.

The classic OLF banner with its square-jawed Aryan skaters

My half-hearted description fails to do it justice, unfortunately. At a different time I might have written a lengthy panegyric, but I haven’t the energy. With the rise of Facebook and other social networks, as well as my own declining skating, I have to admit I drifted away over the past couple of years.

Founder Chris Barrett’s notice about the Ontario Longboarding Forum’s demise

Nevertheless OLF was an influential piece of the Toronto skate scene for almost a decade, and I’m happy that I got to participate however peripherally as the site waxed — and waned — in popularity.

I made a lot of friends on OLF. I’m grateful to Chris Barrett and his conspirators for running and administering the site over all these years. Thanks Chris, Adam, Bill, and the other mods. You guys were great, and I salute your efforts and passion. Be proud of your contribution.

There’s a brief history of the origins of OLF in Michael Brooke’s examination of the Toronto longboarding scene, Half the Hills All the Skills; the entire article is well worth reading.

Meanwhile the scene has moved on. More and more people are skating, and OLF’s time came and went. Like the sand patterns in a Zen garden, perhaps OLF’s existence was meant to be ephemeral—no trace of it remains except in our shared memories.

See previously
No more elephants at the Toronto Zoo
City Council Votes to Send Elephants Away

Past Skate Articles From Me
• The Return of Longboard Haven Skate Shop
• Profile: Justin Readings, Downhill Skateboarder
• Is skateboarding illegal in Toronto?
• The Toronto Board Meeting: A Short History
• The rise of Patrick Switzer, Downhill Skateboarder
• Letter to Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon: Why Jeopardize the Ashbridges Bay Skate Park?
• Concrete Wave’s Lame ‘Pin-Up’ Cover
• The Banana Split -- Four Years Later
• Grappling with another longboarding death
• Our first longboarding tragedy
• Speed! Thrills! Women! FUBU Skate Race Recap