Bennington Heights Park / PS
Equipment by PlayPower.
Surface: wood chips.
Since the COVID era began, I’ve noticed that a few schools have making better use of their outdoor space. Extra climbing equipment, outdoor classrooms, painted games on asphalt surfaces…there’s more going on at school grounds than there used to be. Morse Street might be the best example of this, but there’s some good stuff happening at Bennington Heights as well:
A giant dart-board-style target for a game we called “wood chip darts”
An obstacle course
A maze-type thing where the kids can run from one colour to another for no apparent reason
An oversized chair and storytelling circle
Bennington Heights has the advantage of being a school ground and a public park at the same time, which means more open green space than you’d typically get at a Toronto school. There are two tennis courts (club-operated; open to the public weekend evenings only) and a baseball diamond where two adorable kids practiced their skills with their dad in a scene worthy of a Father’s Day card.
The playground equipment is in pretty good shape for a school, too, although it’s a shame that the kindergarten playground is (as is the case at many schools) behind a locked gate, reserved for daycare use only. Big kids will love the double-height slide, various spinners, climbing elements, and especially the “volcano” – something I haven’t seen anywhere else. There’s also a hidden dinosaur skeleton, similar to the one at Glen Cedar Park.
Shade is a bit hard to come by, and it was mega-hot on the day we visited. Thankfully, the sandbox is well-shaded, as is the giant storytelling chair, where we took a snack and water break. If you’re feeling adventurous, it’s not far from the chair to a trail that leads down the edge of the Don Valley and right beside the freight train tracks.
Bennington might not be one of the best school playgrounds we’ve seen, but it’s one of the better ones in East York, and a solid bet for non-school-hours play.