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Marie Curtis Park

Equipment by Landscape Structures

Surface: wood chips

Sitting on the border between Toronto and Mississauga, Marie Curtis Park is the only Toronto park (as far as I know) that has a playground, a splash pad, and its own sandy beach.

It’s also one of very few Toronto parks named after a woman.

Marie Curtis was the Reeve (aka mayor) of the village of Long Branch, before amalgamation made it part of Metro Toronto. It was during her time in office that Hurricane Hazel brought severe flooding to the city, especially Etobicoke Creek, where several homes were washed away. The park that bears Curtis’ name was created as a kind of flood plain in case that level of flooding should ever happen again. The park is now – perhaps ironically given the history of flooding – one of the best spots for water play in Etobicoke.

The splash pad has some fun elements; our son particularly enjoyed standing under the pelican and waiting to be drenched. One side of the splash pad is notably gentler than the other, and the 3-and-under set seemed to naturally gather on that more easy-going side. Meanwhile, some bigger kids were trying to clog the drain on the other side of the splash pad, and ended up successfully flooding most of the splash pad to about shin height. I was tempted to tell them about the tragic flooding brought to this neighbourhood by Hurricane Hazel in 1954, but opted instead just to look at them disapprovingly.

If your kids prefer to dig in the sand, it’s a quick walk to the beach, where a modest stretch of Lake Ontario is available within the park’s boundaries, although I imagine it does get fairly busy at the height of the season.

The playground has some good climbing options, reasonable shade, and is surrounded by plenty of green space that is prime picnic material. During the summer you can safely bet that an ice cream truck will make its way by at some point.

If the playground itself was just a bit more impressive, this one would be approaching top-10 territory, because the park itself has so much going for it. Free parking, washrooms, a nearby dog park…the list of extras goes on and on here, and I could see this being a place to spend a whole day. Avoid the crowds and plan a midweek visit.

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