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Old Orchard Park

Equipment by Landscape Structures.

Surface: rubber.

Old Orchard Park is certainly not a secret for those who live in the neighbourhood, but for those of us who only go up Avenue Road on the way to the 401 or when we feel like paying too much for groceries, this one is definitely a hidden gem.

The playground features some of our favourite Landscape Structures equipment, including a Skyport Climber, a variety of rope climbing elements, and their four-person teeter-totter adorably called the “We-Saw.” A few standard swings, a saucer swing, and some play panels round out the equipment.

At the south end of the playground is a water bottle refilling station, three fixed-position picnic tables covered by a triangular sun shade. Those tables are nice, but the shade probably doesn’t cover more than two of the three tables at any point in the day, and the beautiful big trees scattered around the park make for perfectly shaded picnic spots anyway.

Those big old trees, along with the slight dip in the landscape that follows the course of a long-since buried creek, give the park a lot of character for its small size. It’s unfortunate that there isn’t a sand or any water features (that rubber surfacing sure does get hot) but the equipment is good enough that it doesn’t matter too much.

We played here long enough to witness a bit of a “shift change” – when we arrived, the neighbourhood nannies and grannies were there with their babies and toddlers, some of them attending some kind of outdoor music class. One little dude watched my 8-year-old closely, awed by his superhuman ability to kick a soccer ball.

By the time we left, the babies had left and all the local middle school kids had arrived, and were trying hard to look cool while still wanting to enjoy the early days of perhaps their last summer as kids. My 8-year-old watched them closely, awed by the fact that they had their own phones. Circle of life.

The bottom line: this is a very nice playground with a lot of charm and good equipment for bigger kids, right near a vibrant stretch of Avenue Road.

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