Updated: Mar 27
On a beautiful first sunny day of spring, we visited our 199th and 200th Toronto playgrounds.
Cloverdale was the first of these two, but the story begins the night before. We were fresh off a March Break trip so full of museums and adventures that the kids were happy to stay home all day. They re-acquainted themselves with their toys, their favourite games, their arts & crafts tables.
And also: with a long-forgotten drawer containing all the temporary tattoos we had accumulated over the years.
They each put one on the backs of their hands. Then one on their left cheeks. Then the right. Then their necks. Then their foreheads. Why didn’t I stop them, you ask? Well, you know how it is when your kids are happily occupying themselves, right? They’re getting along so well that you take the opportunity to lie down, clean up, or in my case, unpack from the trip.
I came back downstairs shortly after my son’s incredibly efficient innovation: he discovered that rather than cut out each tattoo individually, he could accelerate things by taking a whole sheet at once and simply plastering his entire torso. And his sister’s. They had a bath that night, but the things wouldn’t come off with anything short of intense and painful scrubbing, so I thought meh, keep ‘em on. School doesn’t start for another week anyway…what’s the harm?
This brings us to the next day; that beautiful first sunny day of spring, we head out to Etobicoke – a part of the city I vow to do more exploring of in the next few months – to Cloverdale Park.
It’s a lovely spot. Even in mid-March, with no leaves on the trees and everything all squishy from melting snow, we appreciated this as a very good playground. We started on the three public tennis courts, happily sending tennis balls flying in every direction for a while before heading over to the play equipment…of which there is plenty.
A very nice variety of equipment here for young and old, and while it’s missing sand and water play, there’s so much climbing and spinning and swinging to be done, we barely noticed. The spinner by Little Tikes is a great one: riders can spin themselves by gripping the central circle, or others can use the handles to spin the passengers before leaping on themselves.
Add to this some toddler play panels, good rope climbing, and a Miracle DNA twisty thing (pretty sure that’s not the official name) and my two kids were very impressed. We took a snack break on a nearby tree that was conveniently coming out of the ground at a 30-degree angle, and made for perfect kid seating.
We were having such a good time that I barely noticed, as I took my compulsory equipment photos, that a neighbourhood parent was eyeing me suspiciously. And I mean, who can blame her? Who is this guy taking photos of playground equipment on a school day while his two school-aged kids sit on a tree, covered in temporary tattoos as if they’re miniature Post Malones?
She very politely asked what I was up to, and thankfully, despite my awkward explanation, she’d heard of my website and was happy to recommend a few other good spots in Etobicoke that I hope to visit soon. I thanked her for her recommendations, gathered up my inked-up children, and set off for the second part of the day: playground number 200.