Stanley G. Grizzle Park
Updated: Jul 12, 2019
Equipment by Little Tikes.
Surfaces: Wood chips, sand.
Directly across from Main Street subway station, this is another Danforth playground that sits right on top of the subway line, like the ones at Langford and Carlaw further west. Its equipment, while nice and new, is no better than either of those two small playgrounds, but its name, I’m sure you’ll agree, is far superior.
Although his name may sound like the name of a bear trainer or a hip-hop producer, Stanley G. Grizzle was in fact more awesome than either of those two things.
Grizzle was the eldest of seven kids, a Toronto native born to Jamaican immigrants in 1918. After returning from service in World War II, he worked as a porter, and eventually became an important trade union figure, fighting for black railway employees to have the right to hold management positions. His passion for civil rights led him through a career in politics, a membership in the Order of Canada, and an appointment as a Citizenship Judge by Pierre Trudeau in 1978.
Oh, and if you were a Canadian kid in the 80s, you may remember one of his daughters and her TV adventures with a magical mannequin.
It’s a bit of a shame that we couldn’t have found a bigger playground to honour Mr. Grizzle, or perhaps some kind of train element as a nod to his work with Canadian Pacific. Maybe that’s asking too much.
But it’s not too much to wish there was at least a plaque giving park users an insight into Grizzle’s life, is it? As far as I could tell, there was nothing…and if the purpose of naming a park after someone is to prolong that person’s memory in the public’s conscience, it seems a bit silly not to have a plaque.
Oh well. For now you’ll just have to listen for the rumble of trains passing underneath you, and imagine good ol’ Stanley as a young man, working as a porter, poised to embark on a lifetime of fighting for the little guy.