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Glen Edyth Drive Parkette

Surface: wood chips.

I had a semi-sentimental reason for visiting this playground: when my mother came to Canada almost 60 years ago, one of the first places she lived was an apartment on the top floor of a house on Glen Edyth Drive, right across the street from the Parkette. I had seen her pictures of the area (converted from old-school slides to digital files) and was curious to see if the immediate area was still the same.

I’ve always liked this neighbourhood. It’s quiet, close to downtown, and smells a bit like old money. It’s what would happen if you took Rosedale and set it on the side of a hill. One of the great weekly thrills of my 20s was rocketing down Russell Hill Road on my bike and wondering which of the huge houses would be mine when I inevitably became rich and famous.

One of the quirks of the neighbourhood for those travelling on foot is the way that the winding roads create oddly-shaped parcels of land which – because they’re too small for the area’s monster homes – have become little parkettes or shortcuts from one street to another.

The Glen Edyth Drive Parkette sits on one of these unusual bits of land. Several large trees shade the general area, and a cool mid-century bench with seating that faces in opposite directions looks to be a relic of my mother’s time in the neighbourhood.

The playground has fairly new equipment, and is pretty good for a relatively small space. The standard two climbers, plus a sandbox and some play panels for little ones, and two of our favourite pieces: Jax by Miracle, and a Supernova Spinner by Kompan. These two alone were enough to keep my two kids happy.

A short staircase at the far end of the parkette leads to a separate bit of green space that doesn’t even appear to be named. It’s an odd bit of land that feels like it could be better used, either for a dog park or a splash pad or something. But I guess I’m not opposed to unspecified green space.

While the kids played, I took a quick peek across the street, trying to remember which number my mum’s house was. Several of them looked renovated, and there was nothing I recognized from her pictures. I took a photo anyway, and as it turns out I managed to capture it from just about the same angle she did:

I stood there for a second, imagining my mum in her mid-twenties, a young professional starting fresh in a country she barely knew. And then me in my mid-twenties, an semi-employed underachiever barrelling down hills on a bike for kicks. I contemplated the contrast for a second, and then rejoined my kids to play a game of tag.

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