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Knob Hill Park

Equipment by Miracle.

Surfaces: sand, wood chips.

When a playground gets rejuvenated, the standard practice is to tear down the old and bring in the new, with updated equipment sitting within the existing playground footprint. That’s not the way things were done at Knob Hill Park, and it makes the park a bit of a novelty.

When updating the playground in 2020, the new equipment was built west of the old stuff, closer to Brimley, and the old stuff was just kind of left there to rot. Separated by the wading pool (also older, but still functional) the old and new play structures make Knob Hill feel like a living “before and after” photo, where playground nerds like me (and you?) can spot the changes that four decades have brought to the industry. Once we’ve done that, we can make charts illustrating those changes. Like this one:

That last row really sums up the new Knob Hill playground: some playgrounds are for slide enthusiasts, some are for swing-lovers, some are for sand explorers…Knob Hill Park is, emphatically, for climbers.

The equipment is almost set up to encourage an American Gladiator-style obstacle course, and there are a few elements here that I haven’t yet seen anywhere else in Toronto. They're challenging, varied, and just nice to look at.

The manufacturer, Miracle, even gives these elements cool names like "Champions Trek," "Jax Beanstalk," and "DNA climber." The colours are great, too: one of our favourite playground games is to call out a colour, and then the kids scream like banshees to get to something of that colour before I can catch them. This playground is perfect for that game.

And to be honest, the old playground isn’t awful either. My kids spent a bit of time climbing, and a lot of time on the swings; I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for old swings, as the chains tend to be longer and the ride therefore a bit more exciting.

After dipping our toes in the wading pool, we explored the small creek nearby, complete with picturesque pedestrian bridge. My kids wanted to walk up the creek to see the spot where it disappears under Brimley Road. They walked in the water while I followed on the riverside, and everything was going great, until I discovered that my bare ankles were being eaten by red ants. We quickly returned to the wading pool.

This is a solid Scarborough playground, and If your kid needs a good climb to tire them out, this place should definitely be on your list.

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