Lee Centre Park
Equipment by Kompan, Bel-Air Recreational Products (defunct)
Surface: wood chips.
The more playgrounds you go to, the rarer it is to see a piece of equipment that you’ve never seen before. Toronto has a great diversity of playgrounds, but outside of the few custom-built playscapes at high-traffic places like Grange Park or High Park, it’s not often you find something distinctive.
With that in mind: Lee Centre Park.
The setting isn’t exactly beautiful; with the dull roar of the 401 coming from behind clone Toronto condo towers on a street called Corporate Drive (no kidding), it’s easy to feel like you’ve been plunked down into a late-20th century landscape designed by Radiohead’s art director.
But the dull inner-suburban setting is made up for by the unique play structure.
It’s bright blue climber comprising nine towers, sitting in a neat three-by-three square, about two metres above ground level, connected by tunnels on the east/west axis and bridges on the north/south axis.
There are no slides, but it’s just so cool to see something so different, and I imagine that little ones would love exploring the structure. It’s really not like anything else we’ve come across in Toronto, and given that the manufacturer, Bel-Air Recreational Products, is now defunct, it’s unlikely that anything similar will pop up anywhere else. If I’m wrong and there’s one of these in your neighbourhood playground, please let me know.
In addition to the Blue Wonder, there’s a smaller Kompan structure, some swings, and a splash pad. I’m not sure if the wind was just a bit strong when we visited, or if the city had set the splash pad’s pressure on “exfoliant” or what, but the thing was shooting out water with what I can only describe as “fire hose enthusiasm.” Some nearby benches were getting absolutely soaked, and our car, parked a good 15 metres away, even had some mist on it by the time we left.
There’s not much else to do in the area, but this is a worthwhile playground to visit if you’re looking to see something different.