The first park in my ongoing series of the Toronto Parks Project is Eglinton Park, more officially known as Tommy Flynn Park. This park is tucked away behind the North Toronto Community Centre, and may be better known for the hopping public (free) outdoor pool associated with the community centre. The park is behind the centre, and behind the arena located there as well, but has recently been redone, and was sure heaving with children on a hot Monday afternoon in July.
The playground consists of a large (very large!) play structure, a smaller play structure, a play house, some swings, a small sand pit, and some monkey bars. During the summer, there is also a staffed wading pool to cool off in, though there is no splash pad. The surface of the park is the weird spongy flooring that is so popular in parks today, and there are some nice benches around the perimeter.
So far, so normal.
This park is far from normal though. The large play structure has been styled to look ‘natural’, which means that steps and ladders have been made to look like wood and trees. There are several large rocks built into the spongy flooring. One of them is even right up against the play structure with an opening to allow kids to climb right up onto the rock.
This is not normal.
This climbing structure encourages kids to climb high and to climb without a safety fence. Some parents might be unhappy about this, but I love it. My kids are climbers, and if there isn’t anything there to allow it, they end up climbing weird things they shouldn’t. This park provides them with everything they need to really take risks, while still staying over the ‘safety flooring’ that feels so weird to walk on.
Not only are there large rocks, there is a HUGE ‘log’ wall for them to climb, and a cute hollow ‘log’. There is even a hanging bridge through which it is actually possible to fall! The logs on it are a big step apart, and the fence lining the sides is non existent. This makes it scary and challenging and awesome! My 5 year old commented again and again how things were made of wood, and she said that was definitely her favourite thing about the park. Of course, the structure is all metal and plastic, but the styling is good enough to fool a small child!
There are ample swings, 2 baby swings, 3 adult swings, and a special needs swing. The monkey bars come in three flavours, normal, swinging, and… weird. The play house is… house-y, and the small play structure is average.
On the downside, the sand pit is not huge. There also isn’t an enormous amount of shade. There are trees around the outside, but they don’t tend to fall on the benches during the afternoon, meaning that most of them sit empty while families crowd onto the grass under the trees. The centre of the playground is in full sun, and I find that the strange spongy flooring reflects the heat, making it a very hot playground.
Of course you can always cool off in the wading pool!
5yo says: I like how it’s made of wood!
2yo says: I got wet!
Mom says: Lots of challenges and risk taking, too much sun and heat.