The school I went to was built into the side of a hill.
In fact, it was a two-storey building, but you could walk into its upper floor from the sidewalk, and if you followed down the rather steep hill, enter the bottom storey from the same sidewalk.
The ground swoops and curves majestically in that part of Beacon Hill. There are town houses across the road, hundreds of tightly packed dark brown 70s area townhomes quickly built by either Minto or Campeau or some other throw-em-up-quick bulk housing producer. The houses are crowded at the base and the top of a giant hill - the engineers never bothered filling in a giant sloping steep gradiented patch that became toboggan and ski heaven in the winter and the more nutcase kids tried the same trick in shopping carts in the summer, leading to broken bones and one case of quadriplegia, if I remember correctly.
Now, the fact that the school was built that way meant that on the backside of the school there was a poured concrete sloping walkway next to the building proper. This was a magnet for skateboards and roller skates, and thanks to the prevalence of gravel and small rocks in the area, a magnet for the various small injuries kids used to get.
But what really put the wind up the teaching staff was the winter.
Technically, we could have used any part of the sloping curve of the hill. When the snow hit the entire grassy bowl the school was built into turned into the ice equivalent of a skateboard half-pipe, kind of.
But right next to the school, the gradient was so steep that that concrete pathway was soon polished slick by snowsuit after snowsuit.
Oh, it started innocently enough, sliding down the snow on your buttocks, every successive slider (and there was quite the line) polishing the snow and packing it down with each successive and increasingly rapid trip.
The more adventurous kids would go down face first, sliding on their stomachs like a seal, once the path had become a sheet of ice with a near 35 degree grade.
And then someone would push the envelope. They'd try to slide down on their feet, standing up.
For those of you in places that don't get ice, ice is fucking hard. Slam your head into it, and you might as well have fallen on concrete or marble. So imagine the look on the French teacher's face when she saw a group of gangly seven and eight year olds attempting a thirty yard slide, thirty five degree grade, standing up. Slip one way and you'd fall facefirst and lose front teeth later in life than one would expect. Fall the other way and you'd whack the back of your head, and potentially break a neck.
No teacher wanted to give up his or her smoking time in the teacher's lounge to stand in freezing subzero weather keeping us off that damn slide, so when they did bundle up to venture outside, they were angry, and it became a really sneaky back and forth. They enlisted their snitches (who we beat up) and sneaked out unawares and we kept watch over the side door and scattered when it opened, signalling the exit of an adult. I'll bet looking back they enjoyed it as much as we did, though deep down they didn't want us to get hurt.
This cat and mouse game went on for two weeks or more.
And then one day, the bell rang at an uncharacteristic time. We were confused. It wasn't the fire alarm, but it didn't ring for the usual breaks or lunch periods. Mystery.... We were all ushered into assembly. The gymnasium, fresh and new, the varnished floor and rubber mats gleaming with new equipment smell competing with the antics of fellow classmates and the fact that the principal never tucked in the back of his dress shirt to see who would win Biggest Distraction. Teachers reached in and hauled kids by their arms, seating them in different places. Sticking an unruly boy in a pile of girls did the trick in calming the rest down.
The principal told us, once the murmur had died down, in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, that that walkway was NOT to be used as an ice slide. He glared. He was serious. He warned of dire consequences. It was the 70s, noone got spanked or really punished, the consequences were of the hospitalisation for injury variety. It was the egghead-led idealistic 70s, we were being reasoned with.
You might as well have had Bertrand Russell lecturing a chihuahua on the social inappropriateness of barking at anything that moves. Whatev. We knew to fall SIDEWAYS, into the snow, and also had a firm rule - no throwing distracting snowballs at the kid sliding down on his feet, unless we really didn't like him.
Oh wait, he's shutting up now. Time to applaud and nod. Assembly meant longer recess. Alright. But when we went outside, the bastards had put SALT on the path. Our glorious beloved slide. Ruined.
This called for every man jack kid to grab handfuls of snow and re-build. Within four minutes, like a colony of ants, we had completely recovered the walkway, and after a couple of linefuls of buttock sliding, had restored the path to its former glory.
We were called into assembly again that afternoon. The rules had changed. We could slide down the path, but only in a seated position.
We grinned. We'd won. And we accepted those terms. They'd not screw with our ice slide, and we'd slide down in a sane and sensible manner.
When there were no teachers looking, anyway.