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Jesse Ketchum PS

Updated: May 14, 2021

Surface: wood chips.

When I was a kid at Jackman in the early 90s, when all of us thought that “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” was peak filmmaking, there was a schoolyard rumour that our principal, Mr. Christie, had been Keanu Reeves’ principal at Jesse Ketchum a few years earlier.

Not only that: Christie had allegedly called Keanu Reeves into his office, right around the time Reeves was considering quitting school to pursue an acting career, and told him that he would “never amount to anything.”

Jesse Ketchum's most famous alumnus and least talented actor, Keanu Reeves.

I have no way of knowing if this is true. It is certainly true that Christie was principal at Jesse Ketchum around the time that Reeves would have been there. Whether or not he tried to stomp on the young actor’s dreams is impossible to know.

As kids though, we all believed it. The fact that an adult, someone of such authority as a school principal, could be so wrong about a student’s career path…well, it was the most subversive thing we could imagine. If he didn’t see the obvious budding thespian standing right in front of him, well, that meant that we didn’t have to believe anything he said. He was, as Bill and Ted might say, bogus.

This apocryphal story was on my mind when I visited the brand new playground equipment at the Yorkville-area public school where Reeves used to run and play.

Jesse Ketchum is one of the oldest schools in Toronto, and enjoys a large patch of land for a downtown school, especially considering that it is not a high school. There’s a new artificial turf field on the grounds, which is great if you’re visiting with older kids, or kids who need a big area to run around in.

The equipment is, by school standards, pretty good. There are two separate areas, one for older kids, one for youngers, and while it makes sense from a school perspective, it’s a shame that they’re on complete opposite ends of the school grounds. Neither is particularly well-shaded, but there are some good climbing elements here for big and little ones, and a sandbox which (if not being used by the daycare run out of a separate building on the grounds) offers a relief from the summer sun, as it’s tucked in between two wings of the school.

There was another play structure right next to the junior playground that looked to be about right for kids 3 and under, but it was behind a locked gate when we visited.

This is a nice spot to play if you’re in the area outside of school hours.

Party on.

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