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Elm Park (York)

Equipment by Little Tikes.

Surface: wood chips.

This was the first park in our “cross-border triple” – an adventure that spanned three playgrounds, all within a few hundred metres of each other: one in York, one in North York, and one right on the border.

Officially, this border means nothing, since amalgamation combined all of Toronto’s former municipalities into the “megacity” in the late 1990s. But the former boroughs still have their own personalities, and physical evidence remains that betrays a bygone period in Toronto’s history.

Elm Park is a reminder of one of the awkward things that happens when municipalities join forces: name duplication.

We parked on King Street, but obviously not the King Street that most Torontonians are familiar with. This is the King Street that was part of the town of Weston, which became part of the City of York in 1967. I often wonder if any confused Amazon delivery trucks have shown up to a King Street address down in the financial district, only to find out that they’re 20km away from their true destination.

Elm Park shows up on Google Maps as “Elm Park – York,” to distinguish it from the other Elm Park, in North York, at Jane and Steeles. (And just to make things more confusing, North York also has another park called “The Elms Park.” Sometimes I think that whoever is in charge of naming things in Toronto needs to re-interview for their job.)

York’s Elm Park is in a really cozy location, and because it’s part of the old town of Weston, it truly doesn’t feel as far from downtown as it is. Lovely old houses that would look right at home in Riverdale line the streets, and large old trees provide Elm Park with some good shady picnic spots.

The equipment is by Little Tikes, and includes some of that manufacturer’s best elements: a log-roller, a nice big Infinity Climber, a wobbly bridge, and monkey bars, both fixed and spinning. With such variety and such a cozy location, I was tempted to give this one “hidden gem” status, but some of its shortcomings prevented me from doing that; there is definitely enough space for a sandbox and/or a splash pad and/or a wading pool…and I will never understand the city’s unwillingness to put public washrooms in more parks.

But all things considered, this was a solid playground, and a great way to start our “cross-border triple” adventure.

Next up: the playground that sits right on the border between York and North York: Grattan Park.

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