Derek Therriault defies gravity at Lake Devo. Take that gravity! Anastasia Moskvitina / The Eyeopener

Lake Devo: Ryerson’s unofficial skatepark

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By Alexia Kapralos

Morgan Smith ollies onto the curb and barely misses the group of guys sitting along it. He rides up to a bench, jumps up on it with his skateboard, and grinds along the waxed edge. He lands back in Lake Devo.

While filled with water during summer months, it is drained in autumn, revealing a relatively untouched surface for skateboarders to ride on.

A professional skateboarder, Smith skates for companies like Blind and DC. He has been featured in a weekly skateboarding video made by Toronto skate shop Blue Tile Lounge called Toonie Tuesday, which was filmed at Lake Devo.


“It’s just a good spot to skate with smooth ground,” said Smith. “But nobody bothers you – that’s the best part.”

In parts of Toronto, especially the financial district, skateboarding on public property is often frowned upon, said Smith.

“It happens pretty much every day…one time, there was a frantic [security guard] calling for the rest of security at the TD building. We just agreed to leave and the whole situation turned out to be cool,” said Smith.

But Ryerson security said they don’t mind skateboarders.

If anything, they’re more concerned with the safety of the skateboarders because of the slippery surfaces and large rocks in the pond, said Tanya Fermin-Poppleton, manager of security and emergency services.

Despite security’s concerns, first-year business management student and skater Derek Therriault said the layout of the lake makes it difficult to get severely injured.

“It’s kind of really tough to get hurt on something so small. It’s just a little ledge, or something on flat ground. Had it been ten or eleven stairs and people were jumping down it then maybe I’d see a risk for injury,” said Therriault.

He said he skateboards at Lake Devo because as a student living on campus, it’s convenient and close.

“It’s great because I [can] continue my hobby throughout school,” said Therriault.

Therriault said he’s been to better spots in Toronto to skate, but doesn’t designate the lake as insignificant. He figures if Smith, who he called one of the best skaters in Canada, skates at Lake Devo, it must be good.

“Everyone watches us skate,” said Therriault.  “I feel like it adds life to campus.”

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