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Surface: wood chips.

Updated August 2023. Old review here.

Before its 2023 upgrade, I had already classified Pump Park as a “hidden gem” – but to be honest that was more to do with its being hidden, and less to do with being a gem. Everything that is wonderful and quirky about the location and the neighbourhood remains the same, so you’ll have to read the old review if you want to know about how Rathnelly became its own country. Here I’ll be focusing on the changes that have boosted this playground more than 10 points on our rankings.

The rejuvenation isn’t a complete do-over; the large Henderson climber from before remains. Old, but in good condition, it is now joined by a healthy number of new items: a rope climber by Landscape Structures, a “space whirl,” a saucer swing and several standard swings, a delightful train climber for toddlers, a sandbox, and a smattering of other small equipment.

Other changes include a switch from sand to wood chips, minor landscaping, and in a fantastic nod to the pumping station that cradles the park, the word PUMP stands off to one side, made out of thick water pipes.

The PUMP sculpture probably wasn’t made to be climbed, but for bigger kids it certainly is climbable, and it makes a satisfying gong noise when tapped with a knuckle or a stick. It’s the perfect accent for this quirky, wonderful park.

If I’m being picky (and I usually am) it seems like a huge missed opportunity not to have a water feature of some kind in a park situated right at the high-level pumping station, especially given the huge PUMP sculpture that’s there to remind you of the infrastructure that surrounds you as you play. If not a splash pad, surely some kind of pump or water feature could have been installed at the sandbox?

Maybe there’s no room for the required plumbing beneath the park’s surface. Or maybe I am indeed being too picky, and I should be grateful for what is one of my favourite upgrades of the summer.

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