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John Chang Neighbourhood Park

Updated: Jul 13, 2019

Equipment by Belair Recreational Products (defunct)

Surface: sand.

It might be a bit unfair to judge such a tiny playground so harshly, but having seen other parks do so much with so little space (Tiverton, Langford, Bright Street) it’s hard to find much good to say here.

The equipment is pushing 20 years old, and isn’t much of a challenge to kids over three. Although there are shared toys, there simply isn’t much room to play with them. A push car isn’t much fun to ride when the whole play area is covered in sand.

The playground is fenced, which is good, but looking at the rest of the park space, it’s hard to understand why the park’s creators wouldn’t have simply expanded the play area a bit, maybe added a picnic table…and certainly a swing or two isn’t too much to ask? The biggest pros to this playground are that it’s close to other, better playgrounds, and also just around the corner from Sprouts, which is a locally-loved indoor play area with drop-in classes.

As far as I can tell, this playground’s most frequent users come from a nearby daycare. When I went with my daughter on a chilly fall day, there were a dozen teeny tiny kids from the daycare, all wrapped in snowsuits, and enjoying themselves as much as it is possible to enjoy oneself when wrapped in a snowsuit without the benefit of snow.

The daycare kids all gathered around me in a cute, but slightly Children Of The Corn type of way, presumably because I was a new adult, and they may have hoped that I was there to take one of them home. Then they turned their attention towards my daughter, who didn’t really know what to make of it. She was sitting on a Thomas The Tank Engine push toy, and they just encircled her, well inside her personal space. One or two of them murmured, “baby” while staring blankly at her. Every single one of them was dribbling profusely from their noses, and I suddenly wondered if we were fully stocked up on baby cough syrup.

The encounter didn’t last long, because the daycare workers soon rounded up the troops and attached them to one of those group walking ropes where each kid holds on to a loop, and either walks or is dragged crying back to the daycare. Several of them were in tears, and I felt as bad for the kids as I did for the adults, who must get so tired of the chorus of crying that follows them wherever they go. But soon enough, each child was attached to a loop, and they left, in what can only be described as the world’s smallest, saddest parade.

My daughter watched them leave, and I would give my left arm to know what she must have been thinking.

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