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Aldwych Park

Updated: May 14, 2021

Surfaces: sand, rubber, grass.

I’m fully ready to admit that my rating of Aldwych Park might be a little inflated, because I grew up on Aldwych Avenue, and many of my childhood memories are stored within this park’s tiny, fenced-in footprint.

Having admitted my bias, I have to say that this playground, like most playgrounds, is far superior to what it was when I was a kid.

It packs a lot into a small space- a modest splash pad, climber, triangular-shaped sandbox, swings…and probably the most ridiculous stock of shared toys of any playground we’ve visited. On one visit, there were so many shared toys that someone had dumped a pile of them inside a Little Tikes playhouse, just to get them out of the way. My son couldn’t believe his luck, and started madly pulling at the pile to try and dislodge some toys. He ended up pulling one out from the bottom of the pile, of course, and ended up buried neck-deep in an avalanche of toys. I don’t think he’s ever been so happy and hurt at the same time.

The park straddles the block between Aldwych and Sammon Avenue to the north, and the Sammon end of the park is a cute little greenspace with a picnic table, providing a small open space that can be used for snack breaks, unambitious games of Frisbee, or kids who are throwing embarrassing tantrums and need to be dragged out of earshot for a minute or two.

Random childhood memory: as a kid, I learned an important lesson about the word “restricted” here. I was probably about 9 years old, and my mother had allowed me to walk down the street to go to the park alone. This was a big deal; usually my older brother was required to go with me, so I felt cool and tough and grown-up.

But when I arrived at Aldwych Park, a group of teenagers was there, and when I tried to enter, they said I wasn’t allowed. They pointed to a sign that said, “USE OF THIS PARK RESTRICTED TO CHILDREN 12 AND UNDER.” All I knew about the word “restricted” was that it referred to movies I wasn’t allowed to see, so I took the kid at his word, and walked home with my tail between my legs.

My mother gently explained to me the difference between “restricted to” and “restricted for,” but somehow, I still didn’t feel like going back and having a linguistics debate with a group of kids way bigger than me.

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