Updated: May 14
Equipment by Belair Recreational (defunct)
Surfaces: Sand, rubber, concrete.
The spring and summer of 2018 was a windy time in Toronto, and it drew attention to the fact that many of the city’s 10 million (or so) trees are getting towards the end of their expected lifespans. One particularly bad spring storm brought down about 1 in every 3 trees on a street near us.
The quaint little playground on Gledhill was particularly badly hit, and it has really changed the character of this park. When we first discovered it (completely by accident; on the way to a bigger park nearby) it was one of the best-shaded playgrounds in the east end. Its many old trees, along with its location on a small side street in a quiet neighbourhood, made it feel like a wonderful secret.
Returning in the fall of 2018, the difference was stark. It had lost, by my count, at least six trees, which is a lot considering that the park sits on a patch of land not much bigger than a Prius. The lack of shade, even in late September, made for a hot afternoon.
Still, the little splash pad, small climber, and wealth of shared toys meant that both our kids had a great time. And when I say ‘wealth of shared toys,’ we are talking an embarrassment of riches. The neighbourhood loves this playground, and they’re proud of the wide selection of toys available here. A few years back, the city foolishly removed a truckload of toys in the middle of the day, like some kind of broad daylight Grinch brigade, as crying children looked on. They faced the wrath of local parents in a story that was very sombrely reported by Global News. The toy inventory has since been re-stocked and then some.
The splash pad is the style that our son tends to love best: multiple rings that spray inwards, so that you can ride through on a bike, push car, or whatever, and then giggle maniacally as the pint-sized car wash drenches you and your vehicle of choice.
Gledhill is a wonderful playground, and I’m inches from designating it as a “hidden gem,” but unfortunately I can’t get over the loss of those trees. They were a big part of the reason I loved this place as much as I did.
On the other hand, maybe I’m projecting my own internal sadness over the gradual loss of my own hair. Hm. I’ll have to check with my therapist and get back to you.