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June Callwood Park

Equipment by Kompan.

Surface: rubber.

June Callwood Park is a tiny, wedge-shaped park squeezed between two downtown condos, and in very close proximity to two attractions that might bring you to the neighbourhood anyway: Fort York and The Bentway.

The equipment definitely wins some points for originality. The large rope bridge, warped funhouse-style mirror, and pink rubber forms are elements we haven’t seen anywhere else in Toronto. There are also two musical / tactile elements at the perfect height for toddlers. One is a rain stick that flips vertically, and the other rolls horizontally and is a bit like a malfunctioning music box. But in a good way, if that makes sense.

The pink rubber things were probably my kids’ favourite; they spent a good long time running along them, jumping from one to the other, lost in their own imaginary worlds. It was a good reminder that sometimes the most basic elements – the ones without an obvious purpose – can be the most fun.

The playground also features perhaps the longest-range talk tube we’ve ever seen. (I’m hoping you know what I mean when I say ‘talk tube,’ because I don’t know what they’re actually called…one person speaks into one tube while a friend waits at the other to see if they can hear them.) The two ends of the tube had to be a good 25 meters apart.

It’s a neat little playground, and nice that it’s named after such a dedicated social activist like June Callwood. I have to say though, something about it was a bit off. It felt like the kind of playground that a developer would pay for in exchange for building their condo a few floors higher. There was a certain lack of deep thought put into it.

For example: that big rope bridge is cool, but it doesn’t lead to or from anything. It’s just kind of there, as if on display in a warehouse. The big stone abacus looks cool, but is pretty difficult for kids to manipulate, and if it hasn’t pinched any fingers yet, I’m sure it’ll happen soon.

Oh, one other weird thing in this park. We spotted some kind of installation just south of the playground in a stand of trees. A couple of dozen white posts were arranged in a grid, but what they were for was unclear. A label on the side of the posts directed us to, but that produced more questions than answers. From what I can tell, the installation is supposed to create sound based on cloud cover, but when we were there not only was the thing not producing any sound, but it didn’t seem to have the ability to produce sound. It was highly weird, and we had to leave before we could make sense of it. If you can figure it out please let me know.

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