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Lytton Park

Equipment by Miracle Recreation.

Surface: rubber.

When I spotted something on the map called “Lytton Sunken Gardens” my mind conjured up a variety of fantastical images of what that might be, ranging from “underground floral lair” to “scale model of the Titanic filled with roses.”

Reality was (predictably) not quite as exciting, but still pretty lovely.

Lytton Park is split into three pieces, all hidden in a dip in the landscape just off Avenue Road just south of Glencairn. At street level is a small, shaded park with a playground. Behind that, down some stairs, are the North Toronto tennis, croquet, and lawn bowling clubs. Finally, just across Lytton Boulevard and down some more stairs, are the aforementioned Sunken Gardens.

We’ll get to the gardens in just a moment, but our first order of business is the playground.

This general area is spoiled for great playgrounds. Eglinton Park is a short walk away, and June Rowlands and Oriole Park aren’t far either. But if you’re looking for something smaller and potentially less crowded, Lytton Park offers a cozy, fun alternative.

The equipment isn’t old, but might be classified as “middle-aged” – starting to show signs of its years of use. There are some fun JAX climbers by Miracle Recreation (although one was broken on our visit) and some play panels that were only partially functioning as well. There’s a nice mix of climbing challenges for all ages, and a cool seat that was not only a spinner, but a wobbly spring-mounted thing too.

Once we were done climbing, we walked down the stairs past the tennis courts, and over to the sunken gardens.

It was a lovely peaceful place; a bit more sparse on flowers than I expected (and sadly nothing to do with sunken ships), but cozy and calm, backing onto several surrounding properties. It kind of felt like a plot of land that the city didn’t really know what to do with- irregularly shaped, with awkward changes in elevation that would making building just about anything a bit difficult. As it turns out, this patch of land was once part of Mud Creek, and the gardens (which are fertile because they are fed by the old aquifer) were donated to the city by the daughters of Herbert Begg, an insurance magnate who is memorialized by a plaque in the garden.

So all in all, if you’re into peaceful gardens and historical plaques, this is a great place. But if your kids aren’t as into those things, you may want to look elsewhere.

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