Equipment by Little Tikes Commercial
Surface: wood chips
As we approached the playground at Charlton Park, I wasn’t sure who was more excited: me or my kids.
It’s an impressive structure. Shiny, colourful, new (2021) and towering almost as high as the trees that surround it. As we explored the slides, challenging climbing elements, and secret nooks & crannies of the tower, I started thinking that this might qualify as a “Dad’s Pick” – one of the playgrounds that rates a 90 or higher on the highly scientific scoring system that I developed in co-operation with the United Nations*.
But as we spent more time there – and we passed a good three hours at Charlton Park – I realized I had been so impressed by the climbing structure that I hadn’t noticed everything that this park didn’t have. A sandbox. Any kind of water play. Any elements that spin. A water fountain. A bathroom. A shaded seating area.
I’m not complaining. This is a super fun playground with plenty to offer for a fairly small park. The big slide is twisty and fast, and the climb to reach it is challenging. There are bells that you can operate with your feet. There are multi-level crawl-through elements that I haven’t seen anywhere else in Toronto. There are some nice tactile pieces, and reasonable options for toddlers.
But it seems that after splurging on the big centrepiece (it’s currently the cover image on the Little Tikes website, so you know it was expensive) there was no money left for all those other things. Add to this the fact that the park itself doesn’t have much else to offer (no basketball courts, no tennis courts, etc.) and you end up with a fair-but-not-exceptional score of 82.
Interestingly enough, the last playground we visited was also an 82, and for pretty much the exact opposite reasons; a fantastic location with mediocre equipment. Put this playground equipment at the edge of a ravine, or next to a library, or on the edge of a forest trail, and you’d have something to write home about.
But hey! You can’t have it all. And if you’re a regular little park on a regular suburban street with not a whole lot to offer, you might as well go all-out on an awesome climber. Keep this one in mind if Earl Bales is too busy.
*In no way was our scoring system developed in co-operation with the United Nations.