Updated: May 14
Surfaces: sand, concrete.
This charming and well-used park is in a neighbourhood that locals call “The Pocket,” which is a cute way of saying that it’s a huge dead end, the borders of which are the Danforth to the north, Jones to the west, the GO/Via train tracks to the south, and the TTC’s Greenwood Yard to the east.
But of course, living in a dead end makes for peace and quiet, and hidden spots like the lovely Phin Avenue Parkette.
You really wouldn’t find this place unless you were lost, or if your real estate agent was trying to convince you that you can buy a house with Riverdale charm at half the cost if you’ll just be open to living a bit further east. If you want to really feel sneaky, you can access the park by cutting down a diagonal laneway that runs south from Chatham Avenue, and eventually becomes Condor once it hits the entrance to the park.
There is pretty strong community feel here. The park hosts many events organized by the Pocket Community Association, a group that also organizes street parties, consults with the TTC about the aforementioned subway yard, and hosts pub nights at the nearby (and excellent) The Only Café.
All this means that the park is often (and especially in summer) buzzing with activity, but still quiet enough not to feel overwhelming, the way places like Withrow or High Park can sometimes be. The wading pool, basketball court, grassy area, climber, and the running track just north (a relic of the now-closed Eastern Commerce Collegiate) make for a great variety of activities.
Okay, the climber's maybe a bit underwhelming, but a good stock of shared toys adds to the fun, and the many large trees make for good shade. You just can't help but feel comfortable here.
We spent a beautiful summer’s afternoon here a while ago. We bought our son his first pedal bike and brought it here for him to try out. He pushed and grunted around the track with great delight, before joining us for the pizza we picked up at Danforth Pizza, another neighbourhood favourite.
The sun began to get low, but the temperature stayed warm. Our son was tired and happy. Our baby daughter looked at him and cooed. And just when we thought the day couldn’t get any better, a lady walked by with a pig on a leash.