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Balmy Beach Park

Equipment by GameTime.

Surfaces: wood chips, sand.

Balmy Beach is the easternmost of Toronto’s eastern beaches, just beyond Woodbine and Kew. There aren’t any physical barriers between the different beaches – they’re all basically part of the same stretch of sand – they do all feel a bit different. Woodbine has its myriad beach volleyball courts, Kew has its dog park, and Balmy has…well, fewer people really. Which is nice.

It’s also got this playground.

You couldn’t ask for a much better location for a playground; shaded by old trees, the lake on the horizon, and an ice cream truck parked more or less permanently at the foot of Silver Birch Avenue. The equipment is past its prime and not especially varied or inspired (I mean, why include a sandbox when an entire beachful of sand is a literal stone’s throw away?) but it’s a good spot to cool off if you’ve just walked or biked the length of the boardwalk, which also happens to end here.

Having the washrooms at the nearby boathouse is nice, and my kids’ favourite beach activity was wandering out onto the massive hunks of granite that act as a breakwater. If you’re lucky you might even spot a muskrat hiding among the stones.

If you’re headed to The Beaches[1] in search of a playground, then there’s no competition: Kew Gardens is by far the area’s best option. But if Kew is too busy and you’re happy to wander further east, just know that there’s another play spot (and maybe some ice cream) waiting for you at the end of the boardwalk.

[1] The debate over whether this neighbourhood should be known as “The Beach” or “The Beaches” is perhaps one of the most quintessentially Toronto, most completely ridiculous, and I would argue most white-person debates in history.

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