Kite Fighting in Toronto – insidetoronto.com

An article appeared today on insidetoronto.com’s Scarborough Mirror. The article deals with the concern of some residents about kite fighting that takes place in near by Milliken Park. I have been aware of the kite fighting in Milliken Park for the past couple of years as the Toronto Kite Festival is held there each year. Around 5 or 6 O’Clock on Saturday and Sunday the kite fighters would show up with boxes of Afghani fighter kites. All the families would attend with large platters of food and it appears to be harmless, that is until you start looking at what they use for flying line. I am pretty sure that the kite fighters are using Manja or Tar (glass coated kite line in the Afghan language). This is a huge part of the problem, you can successfully kite fight with out using glass so the Tar should be banned. Even if the kite fighters were not using Tar there would still be another problem; disgarded kite line.

Here is my take on it, for what it’s worth… Kite fighting is not the problem, people are! If you are going to fight kites then be responsible. If the fighters would just pick up after themselves we wouldn’t have a problem with people or wildlife getting injured by stray kite lines.

InsideToronto.com writes
Complete article here

Man fears kite fighting injuries
North Scarborough residents frustrated by situation

LISA QUEEN
Jun. 8, 2006

A Scarborough father who saw a bird strangle to death in string cut loose from a kite fight fears its only a matter of time before a child is seriously injured.
“Birds are flying into it and cutting their throat. (On Monday), I saw a bird caught in it and hanging upside down. It was nasty,” said Khurram Hanif, a married father of two small boys who lives in the area of Steeles Avenue and McCowan Road.

“I’ve had to retrieve string wrapped around my bumper. It’s down low enough it could get a child. The sport is not worth the risk.”

In kite fighting, participants use their expertise to try to cut the string of an opponent’s kite. Sometimes, the string is coated with tiny bits of glass.

In Hanif’s neighbourhood, trees and homes are littered with fishing line-type string that has drifted in from kite fights at nearby Milliken Park and from as far away as Markham.

“The weather is better. It’s just going to get worse from here in,” said Hanif, who received a small cut on his hand trying to unravel the string from around his car’s bumper.

He reported the problem to Ward 41 Councillor Paul Ainslie (Scarborough-Rouge River), who acknowledged kite fighting has been “a huge problem” but said it is a difficult issue to police.

The city amended its parks bylaw a couple of years ago to prohibit kite fighting, a violation that carries a maximum fine of $5,000.

“It’s just getting our parks staff to keep on top of it,” Ainslie said.

“They’re putting more signs up around (Milliken) park. Staff are going to keep an eye out, but they can’t be everywhere. They buckle down on it and it’s fine for a while and the people come back. It’s cyclical.”

Ainslie has contacted the city’s licensing and standards office to see if they can beef up patrols on evenings and weekends.

Hanif said in his native Pakistan, the city of Lahore imposed a three-month ban on kite fighting in 2003 after at least a dozen people died when their throats were cut by kite strings during the previous 12 months.

“I’m from Pakistan myself. I remember seeing that (kite fighting) when I was a little kid. I never imagined it would happen here,” he added.

While Hanif doesn’t want to stop people having fun, he hopes they will change the type of string they use.

“They have all the right to have fun and games, but it affects our environment and affects people. That kind of fun is no good.”

This is not the first time kite fighting has been a problem in Scarborough.

About four years ago, a seven-year-old girl needed three stitches in her neck after being sliced by a kite string in her schoolyard near Brimley Road and Finch Avenue.

About the same time, a 10-year-old boy was injured by a string while riding his bike in Milliken Park. Police told his father there was nothing they could do because it was a public place.