Toronto: Toronto, home to the largest concentration of South Asians in North America, has banned their favourite pastime of kite flying in the city's popular Milliken Park which is filled every weekend with enthusiasts.
Anyone violating the ban faces a fine of USD 100.
The ban follows after residents complained about the kite debris falling in their properties, and the fallen kite string ensnaring birds, cutting people's limbs, and disrupting lawn-mowing.
Kite flying is particularly very popular among Toronto's huge Pakistani and Afghan communities as well as the Punjabi community from India.
There are numerous kite flying associations who hold kite fighting competitions in the park. Kite fliers wait for the winter to be over to take to their recreational sport which continues though the summer till September.
The 32-hectare park is the first place where the ban on kite flying has come into effect immediately.
Unhappy kite fliers fear that the ban might be extended to other zones of the city.
The city council took the decision after residents complained to the local councillor Chin Lee about dangerous and disruptive kite strings - which are made of nylon coated with glass - falling over their properties and some cases ensnaring and killing birds.
"I have had reports of people getting tangled in the string and falling and of people being cut in the face by string that has become snagged in the tree," the councillor said.
He said ducks and geese in the park's pond lost limbs because "the string gets wound around their legs cutting off circulation to the limbs".
The councillor said city workers also complained about kite strings entangling trees their maintenance equipment.
Kite flying associations have expressed willingness to collect the debris and use cotton strings to keep the tradition alive.
Toronto bylaws ban kite flying within 25 metres of a tree, a building or an electricity pole.
First Published: Thursday, August 19, 2010, 13:01