Updated: May 14, 2021
Surfaces: wood chips, concrete.
I’ve never been a huge fan of spending a day at the beach.
Swimming is fun, sunshine is wonderful, sand has its moments, but combining these things and expanding them to fill 8 hours isn’t for me. Maybe it’s my pasty-white British heritage that makes me fear intense, direct sunlight. I’m not sure.
Whatever the reason, the upshot is that I don’t spend as much time as I should enjoying Toronto’s eastern beach neighbourhood. It’s got a wonderful boardwalk, a scenic bike path, some of the city’s best tennis courts, a great stretch of Queen Street…and of course, the actual sandy parts. For me, Kew Gardens is the one of the highlights of the neighbourhood, and the playground is first-rate.
The centrepiece is the climber, which is a bit like a miniature version of the one in High Park. Like that one, the structure at Kew makes great use of the area underneath the structure- passageways and kid-sized corridors are just waiting be discovered, or hidden in by kids who don’t want to go home yet despite the angry-sounding countdown that their parent is already 6 counts into. There are also a couple of smaller, non-castle-themed climbers, a row of playhouses, and a wading pool.
Plenty of extras draw people here too: apart from the obvious bonus of being by the beach, the playground is fenced, it’s across the street from Tim Horton’s, there’s a library nearby, and it’s well-shaded. A nice place to retreat to if you’ve had enough sun for one day. Part of the park just south is also shaded by old trees, and strewn with enough picnic tables for most of the neighbourhood to have picnics. Bring a lunch and make a day of it. Beware though…at the height of the season things get pretty busy, especially at the playground.
Kew Gardens really is a beautiful spot. And if you’re strategic about it (especially if you’re a pasty sun-avoider like me), you can spend a whole day at the beach without even setting foot on the actual beach.