Orchard Park

Updated: Aug 1, 2019



More photos.

City of Toronto site.


Surfaces: Sand, concrete

Equipment by Bel-Air (defunct)


Toronto has an incredible number of summer day camps, and on the day my daughter and I visited Orchard Park in the east end, it felt like they had all decided to spend the day there as well.


We had a peaceful fifteen minutes at first. The playground was empty, the splash pad was dry, and everywhere was eerily quiet. Even Dundas Street East, which border’s the park’s northern side, appeared deserted.


And then they came.


We heard them before we saw them: a high-frequency cacophony that sounded like 70% singing and 30% crying. The noise seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at once.


Soon enough, on the horizon, there was a solemn line of three-foot-tall silhouettes, each with one hand outstretched to hold the infamous daycare holding rope. Every so often, a small figure would let the rope go, and for a moment drift from the line in a unique combination of freedom and terror, like an astronaut who’d come loose during a space walk.


The walking rope: the thin line between order and chaos at any summer day camp. (Image: kaplanco.com)

The stray child would soon be reunited with the rope by a blue-shirted counsellor, a kid of probably university age who walked alongside the procession with the slow, resigned pace of a husband following his wife around a mall. These poor counsellors; I was one of them once, and I remember how the days crawled by, how at any given point one kid was always crying, how difficult it is to get through a hangover when surrounded by 4-year-olds.


Having finally made their way across Orchard Park’s significant green space, the inmates were told to sit while the counsellors went over the rules. At last, they were set free, bounding towards the playground in their ludicrously oversized blue t-shirts with the daycare’s name and phone number printed on the back, in the same way you might put your information on your luggage lest it get lost in travel.


Alarmed by the sudden influx of kids, my daughter (not quite two at the time) grabbed my leg, looked out at the wild masses of kids twice her age, and said, with quiet reverence: “So many friends…”

I can understand why day camps like Orchard Park. It’s pretty, with lots of mature trees at the southern side, the playground is partially fenced, and the splash pad is always a favourite. The sandbox was stocked with construction vehicles, and the equipment, while old, was big enough to be interesting.


When we needed a break from the day camp kids, we took advantage of the “mini library” at the playground’s entrance – one of those take-one-leave-one community book boxes – which had a surprising amount of kids books available. A nice touch, and appreciated when we wanted a moment to ourselves.


It’s not the best playground in the area, but it’s got enough going for it to be worth visiting. Just keep your ears open for approaching day camps.



29 views
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
Pano Carlaw
Pano Deer Park PS
Pano willan
Pano Morse
Pano amos waites
Pano margaret fairley
Pano gzowski
IMG_7413
IMG_7458
IMG_7394
IMG_7388
IMG_7385
IMG_7364
IMG_7378
IMG_7363
IMG_7356
IMG_7281
IMG_7297
IMG_7164
IMG_7253
IMG_7082
IMG_7098
IMG_7163
IMG_6962
IMG_6948
IMG_6950
IMG_6915
IMG_6770
IMG_6856
IMG_6857
IMG_6769
IMG_6750
IMG_5648
IMG_6642
IMG_6709
IMG_5695
IMG_5621
IMG_5606
IMG_5350
IMG_5391
IMG_5511
IMG_5570
IMG_4704
IMG_3516
IMG_3513
IMG_3514
IMG_3509
IMG_3466
IMG_3460
IMG_3458
IMG_3375
IMG_5083
IMG_5350
IMG_4704
IMG_3424
IMG_3425
IMG_3412
IMG_3198
IMG_3166
IMG_3206
IMG_3227
IMG_3199
IMG_3200
IMG_3516
IMG_3513
IMG_3514
IMG_3509
IMG_3466
IMG_3460
IMG_3458
IMG_3375
IMG_5083
IMG_5350
IMG_4704
IMG_3424
IMG_3425
IMG_3198
IMG_3166
IMG_3206
IMG_3227
IMG_3199
IMG_3200