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Sir Casimir Gzowski Playground

Updated: Aug 2, 2021

Equipment by Kompan.

Surfaces: woodchips, sand.

Not to be confused with Sir Casimir Gzowski Park, which is a kilometre west and has a playground of its own, Sir Casimir Gzowski Playground is located in Budapest Park.

Which makes no sense, because Sir Casimir Gzowski was from St. Petersburg. There is also, sitting halfway between the two similarly-named spots, a “Sir Casimir Calisthenics Park,” which I assume is named after Gzowski again, and not a different historical figure named Casimir Calisthenics.

Perhaps a better name for this playground would be "The Dino Park." That's what our son’s friend and her lovely family, who lived nearby, called this playground, in honour of the two friendly but strangely out-of-place concrete dinosaurs who live there. The two herbivores must be beloved by locals, because they survived a 2016 park overhaul. But I’m not sure why they’re there in the first place. Nothing else in the park is dinosaur-themed, and as far as I know Budapest is not a hotbed of dinosaur bone discovery. But as we’ve already learned with the multiple Gzowski-named locations along the lakeshore, it’s probably best not to question the naming gurus at City Hall.

Whatever you want to call it, this playground is wonderfully situated. Sure, the Gardiner is roaring just north of you, but with the lake stretching off to the south, the boardwalk and Martin Goodman Trail extending to the east and west, and a good mix of old and new equipment, this is a nice place to play.

My favourite bit of old equipment here (other than those concrete dinosaurs, I guess) has to be the swings.

I don’t know when things changed in the swing industry, but at some point I feel like tighter regulations came into place regarding the length of the chains on swings. The longer the chains, the higher and more thrilling the ride. And if you’ve ever pushed a child on the swing, you know they will always ask you to go higher.

Well, the old swings here certainly oblige. The chains are probably the longest of any I’ve seen in the city, which makes for some serious height. My son must have felt like he was about to launch out over the lake. The longer chains are also great for the classic “wind-up-and-spin” maneuver, which is tons of fun if you like your child to giggle and nearly vomit at the same time.

The rest of the equipment is an interesting mixed bag. A small climber, a large rope pyramid, a wading pool, a hand-operated digger…none of it is outstanding, but taken together it makes for a nice afternoon’s play. And there’s parking.

One final note about the name, because you were probably wondering: Sir Casimir Gzowski was an engineer who worked on many Canadian railways, and briefly served as Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor. He is also great-great-grandfather to Peter Gzowski, whose silky CBC baritone was probably the soundtrack to your mornings if you’re of my generation and grew up in Toronto.

Railways. The CBC. Dinosaurs. Who could ask for anything more?

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