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Allenbury Gardens Park (Fairview Mall)

Equipment by Kompan.

Surface: rubber.

Like the playground we visited recently that’s hidden near the Shops at Don Mills, this small but satisfying play spot near Fairview Mall can make a shopping trip a slightly better experience if you’ve got kids in tow.

On the plus side: plenty of seating, a small splash pad, a permanent ping pong table, and the Fairview library is close by (which has an excellent kids’ section).

On the not-so-plus side: unlike at the Shops at Don Mills, there’s a parking lot approximately the size of Belgium between the mall and the playground, and virtually no shade means you will get fried if you’re here in the summer.

And also, Kompan.

Kompan isn't my favourite playground equipment manufacturer. I'm not here to hate on them; I’m a big fan of their Bloqx climbers, and this playground has a nice one. But their towers always feel like a disappointment. They always look impressive from far away; tall, brightly-coloured, and accented child-like shapes that make you think, “oh, this will be great.” But they often fall short when you get up close.

I find Kompan's slides especially frustrating: built in sections with big seams which tend to make them either slow or painful or both. The gigantic Kompan tower in Oshawa looks incredible, but the slide's bumpy seams left red marks on my son’s back. It was nothing serious, and I’m not about to launch a lawsuit over it, but it was uncomfortable enough that he didn’t go on the slide again.

Anyway, the slide here at Allenbury Gardens isn’t terrible, and didn’t leave any marks (likely because it was cold and my daughter was bundled up in thick clothing). But still, the climbing tower here, as photogenic as it is, doesn’t have the nooks and crannies of a Landscape Structures climber, or the unique intrigue of an Earthscape tower. The toddler climber is passable but not exciting, and the teeter-totter teets and tots as expected.

So…yeah. It beats walking through a mall with a cranky child. Which, come to think of it, could be a good tagline for Kompan playground equipment. I’m willing to negotiate terms if they would like to copyright it as a slogan.

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