Although it’s probably not a secret to most families in the neighbourhood, most non-Scarborough folks have never heard of Highview Park. Even if you drove by the main entrance on Highview Avenue, it’s unlikely you would see the fantastic playground hidden at the north end of the park, just off the quiet residential streets of Birch Cliff Heights.
Well, with apologies to local fans of this park, I’m going to tell everyone who lives west of Victoria Park about your neighbourhood’s little secret.
It’s missing a splash pad, and there isn’t a big centrepiece-style climbing structure, but this playground has just about everything else you could possibly want.
If your kid is into digging, the sandbox alone is enough to satisfy: there are two built-in diggers, a water feature, and even a hidden dinosaur fossil if they dig in the right spot. Another kid who was there swore that a second dinosaur was hidden somewhere in the sandbox, but after thorough excavation we could not confirm that. There were plenty of shared sand toys, too, which we used to see a lot pre-pandemic but has been slow to become common again.
If your kid is into musical elements, there’s a set of Landscape Structures’ “Rhapsody Vibra Chimes” here, which I have yet to see anywhere else in Toronto. It’s a brilliant set-up, because no one person can use more than two chimes at a time, which encourages co-operative play and reduces problems with waiting in line to use an element. (There’s another musical element; a three-sided electronic thing...two of the three sides were not working when we visited.)
The rest of the equipment provides plenty of opportunity for spinning, swinging, climbing…no single piece of equipment is spectacular, but it’s plentiful, relatively new, and lots of fun. Several sensory elements are included, and the main climber has nice wide ramps that are wheelchair accessible. In fact, the park also includes a wheelchair-accessible baseball diamond donated by the Jays Care foundation and named after Roy Halladay.
The wading pool, a classic Toronto concrete crater, is a short walk south of the playground. Nice to have, but makes supervision tough for solo parents with one kid who wants to wade and another who wants to stay in the playground.
For a mid-sized park, there is a lot to do at Highview. And with parking on-site, there’s really no excuse for any car-owning Danforth family to make the trip and enjoy this Scarborough beauty.