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Lithuania Park

Equipment by Little Tikes.

Surface: wood chips.

A short walk from the northeast corner of High Park (and Keele subway station), Lithuania Park is a nice little spot that might be unknown to many east-siders.

Swings, slides, a splash pad, and some good climbing challenges for younger kids have made this a neighbourhood favourite. It was pretty full on our visit; day camp kids raced around, dodging clusters of new moms and chatting groups of nannies.

There’s no blow-your-mind climber, but there are some elements – some faux-tree ladders, a four-post rope climber – that aren’t super common and will keep your little one(s) entertained if they’ve grown tired of your local park. Most of the play area is well-shaded by mature trees, and set back far enough from Keele that you don’t really notice you’re close to a busy street.

The sandbox is a bit disappointing: un-shaded in an otherwise well-shaded park, it feels like an afterthought, and might be an un-rejuvenated relic that they didn’t bother updating when the rest of the equipment was re-done a few years back. The splash pad, just down the hill from the rest of the equipment, is small but decent.

The whole park is on a bit of a slope (there’s a baseball diamond on the upper level) and the hill leading from top to bottom must be a pretty exhilarating toboggan run in winter.

Side note: if you’re wondering about the park’s name, there is a bit of Lithuanian heritage in the area. A wave of immigrants came here post-WW2, and a Lithuanian seniors centre still exists at Keele and Bloor. The nearby Bar Lokys apparently does some pretty good Lithuanian cuisine. One of the city’s most famous sports figures, basketball player/coach/commentator Leo Rautins (half Lithuanian) grew up playing hoops at Keele Street Public School, just south of Lithuania Park.

None of this really has any bearing on the playground, although it is a bit surprising in plaque-prone Toronto that there’s nothing in the park to interpret the area’s Lithuanian links. Not even a basketball net in Leo Rautins’ honour. Oh well. No park is perfect. But if you’re looking for an appetizer playground before spending a day at High Park, this one’s a good bet.

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