Equipment by Bel-Air (defunct)
As you head north on Don Mills Road where it passes over the 401 and approaches Fairview Mall, you will see apartments and condos ahead of you, the DVP to your right, and nineteen lanes of traffic beneath you.
The first word that comes to your mind will probably not be “farm.”
But you will be just a minute’s drive from the Henry Farm neighbourhood, which really was a farm as recently as the 1950s.
The original farmer was Henry Mulholland, who was tending his crops on the future site of the 401 as early as 1806. Most things in the modern neighbourhood are named for Mulholland’s great-grandson, George S. Henry, who eventually sold the land to developers for a tidy $2 million in the late 1950s. The Henry farmhouse, built in 1824, still stands just around the corner from Havenbrook Park.
Oh, right, Havenbrook Park. That’s what we’re here to discuss.
Sadly in need of a re-do, the equipment at Havenbrook feels almost as old as the Henry farmhouse. It’s not, of course, but it’s in worse shape. Poorly shaded, but tantalizingly close to a lot of trees, the main purpose of this playground seems to be to give the children of tennis players something to do while mom and dad are playing at the adjacent Henry Farm Tennis Club.
The highway is close enough to be annoying, but not close enough to be exciting. There isn’t a scrap of shared toys to be seen. Follow the path, beyond the tennis courts, and you’ll end up on the Betty Sutherland Trail, which will probably provide more entertainment than this long-forgotten playground.
Either that, or come in winter, when the large hill that slopes down towards the highway would make a formidable tobogganing spot.