Huron Street Playground
Equipment by Kompan.
Surfaces: sand, wood chips.
When I lived in the Annex a decade ago, one of my favourite things about the neighbourhood was that it had lots of quirky 1960s apartment buildings – big mod buildings that must have been the height of cool back in the day, filled with young professionals sporting beehive hairdos and Mad Men suits.
Because I loved walking aimlessly (and didn’t have a job to go to anyway) spotting these buildings became a bit of a pastime, and I soon discovered that my favourite ones were in fact all designed by the same architect: an Estonian-Canadian named Uno Prii.
He was as much an artist as an architect, and his buildings have a great 60s flair to them. If Austin Powers had a bachelor pad in Toronto, it would probably be in one of Prii’s buildings.
I mention this for two reasons: first, the Huron Street Playground sits in the shadow of one of Prii’s buildings, and on our visit, my daughter and I looked up at the building’s curving balconies while lying in a saucer swing on a ridiculously hot summer's afternoon. It made me miss the Annex, with its wonderful combination of grand Victorian homes and mid-century space-age apartments.
The other reason I mention it is that, well, there isn’t much else to mention about the Huron Street Playground. The park underwent a recent (and much-needed) rejuvenation in 2016, but the results are a bit underwhelming.
It’s not that the equipment is lousy, just a bit sparse. There are exactly four elements here: a rope climber, a swing set, a sandbox, and a 5-foot-tall artificial climbing rock. All good stuff, but with the amount of room left over, it feels like they could have packed more in, and still left plenty of the shaded green space that gives the place a cozy atmosphere.
So while it’s not the Annex’s worst playground, it’s a tier below Sibelius Square, not far away, which is more worth your time.
Unless, of course, you want to admire the work of Uno Prii while your kids play.