Updated: May 14
Equipment by Henderson/Berliner Seilfabrik
Surfaces: wood chips, sand, concrete.
Located in the neighbourhood that real estate agents like to call “The Upper Beach,” but that I prefer to call “The Lower Danforth,” the Cassels Avenue playground is almost the twin of the Moncur playground, with one main difference: Cassels is just a bit better in pretty much every way.
It’s just as hidden (in fact, none of its three entrances appear to have one of those “city within a park” signs to signal its existence) and with more shade and more seating than Moncur. The slowly sloping landscape is beautiful, and probably provides for some nice entry-level toboggan hills in winter.
The climbers are perhaps slightly less exciting than those at Moncur, but to make up for it, there’s a splash pad which, on our visit, was comfortably shaded until well past 10am. In fact, pretty much every play element sat protected by the shade of big, mature trees until we left to get lunch.
One of the newer climbers was a slightly odd one by Henderson-owned Berliner Seilfabrik, a company we know mostly from its giant rope climbers, like the one at Morse Public School and the Degrassi Street playground. The one at Cassels looked a bit like the mast of a ship that had sunk beneath ground level. It was different, but it didn’t appear to offer much challenge for its intended 5-to-12-year-old users. It offered lots of ropes to climb up, but the only option for getting down looked to be a pair of parallel, sloping bars.
I watched some kids try to scale it in flip flops, with predictable results. They then tried to use them as a kind of slide, suspending themselves by their armpits and descending with the stomach-turning squeak of hot skin on metal. It was strange to watch the kids try to figure it out, but I guess that’s part of the fun, right?
The sandbox was well-stocked with Tonka trucks, the people were friendly…it was enough to make me want to sell my house and move to the Lower Danforth. Or whatever it’s called.