Half The Hills All the Skills, Toronto Scene Part 3
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How did 900-plus longboarders wind up gathering in September of this year? Well, you have to go back to 2003, to a guy by the name of Benjamin Jordan. I’ll let Adam Winston take up the story from here. “Benjamin Jordan would come to sessions, and he was kind of like a hippie,” Adam says. “He saw things a bit differently. He was taking a course in which he had to come up with a community event.” What Jordan came up with was Board Meeting, a joyful, light-hearted reinvention of its stuffy, stereotyped namesake: a gathering of longboarders, most of them wearing white “office” shirts and ties, riding together through downtown Toronto as a show of camaraderie and community spirit.
“It was like 15 people the first time we did it,” Adam says. “It was cool to skate with a group that big.” Adam says that at first he didn’t do much to support the event: “All we did ever did was put out a few posters and talk to a few people. It was all Ben. “After a while, he just left. He skated across Canada for Push for the Cure. And after he left us with this event. Everyone enjoyed it but there were no rules.” Benjamin Jordan created something magical with Board Meeting and his skate stoke is still strong. He was enjoying the moment when I spied him at the 2011 Board Meeting — thrilled to see so many people had taken hold of his idea. I had the privilege of attending this year’s Board Meeting with my two sons. It was not only a terrific day of longboarding, it was just a great feeling sharing and passing along all that skate stoke to my kids.
The police were incredible. They helped with traffic flow, and you just knew it was one of those magical moments. But Board Meeting isn’t the only event on the scene where the multitudes gather. In 2005, Jonathan Nuss, Benjamin Jordan and Janelle LeClair started a weekly skate called “Old School Night Shred.” They would meet at Queens Park every week to shred all the downtown garages, and Ben would make videos with his point-and-shoot camera. “We wouldn’t go home ’til our legs felt like they would fall off,” Jonathan says. “It was a fun place for all skill levels to skate together, male or female. We were all equals. I remember this dude named Patrick Switzer, the most stoked kid every week. He would pump the s—t out of these garages on a different board each week. “We were a giant family and it was all love. We would forget all of our troubles and just skate with giant smiles on our faces. It was all very simple, and I was very lucky to have been there.”
Written By Michael Brooke