Updated: Aug 1, 2019
Surfaces: wood chips, sand.
If your kid is going through a vehicle obsession, Little Norway Park is just what the child psychologist ordered.
To get there, you can take the subway, then the streetcar. That’s two types of vehicles down already. Once you’re there, you can watch the planes and helicopters taking off from Billy Bishop airport, and get a really up-close look at the airport ferry, which docks right next to the playground every 15 minutes or so.
And as if all that isn’t enough, the playground itself is pretty solid, too.
The park’s showpiece is the wonderful lion sculpture, who sits majestically, almost sphinx-like, clutching an orange tube in his left paw, daring your children to crawl through. Climb to his head via a staircase and you can slide down the tube slide into the sand below. It’s a shame there aren’t more sculptures like this decorating Toronto’s playgrounds; it gives the playground character.
Beyond the lion, there is no equipment here that doesn’t come standard on most playgrounds, but all ages are covered, and the wading pool is a nice touch in summer. Not a lot of shared toys when we visited, but again, the lion made up for that quite easily.
If you’re wondering about the park’s name, it’s a little bit of Toronto history that I didn’t know about until…well, until just now.
It turns out that when Hitler’s forces invaded Norway in the second World War, the Norwegian Air Force found safe haven in Canada. They set up camp on the lakeshore in Toronto, where they opened a flight training camp. The camp later moved to the Muskokas, but the “Little Norway” name stuck, and lives on in this park. The story of these brave Scandinavians has been made into a book, and a giant rock in the park (which was shipped over from Norway in the 1970s) commemorates the area’s time as a Norwegian enclave.
So there you go. Oh, and Norway’s official animal, in case you hadn’t guessed it, is the lion.