Updated: Aug 11
Surfaces: wood chips, rubber, sand, concrete.
From the street, Ramsden Park doesn’t look very big. Its long, narrow shape, running east-west between Yonge Street and Avenue Road just north of Davenport, hides its significant size: about 14 acres, making it just a bit bigger than Dufferin Grove.
Following the park’s recent (and controversially expensive) rejuvenation, it is truly one of Toronto’s best. The list of amenities is impressive – skating rink, off-leash area, baseball diamond, a dozen tennis courts…and that’s before we even discuss the playground.
Part of what makes this playground so great (and so difficult to capture in a panoramic photo) is the way it fits into the landscape of Ramsden Park, sloping gently from north to south. The variety of equipment here is excellent, too: climbers for young and old, a sandbox with a water feature, a couple of musical elements. The crown jewel, though, is the central climbing structure, like the mast and crow’s nest of a ship, with a large slide that will deposit your delighted child back to ground level at a startling speed.
The play area for younger kids is down a rubber slope from the main area, and very nicely shaded. This section includes smaller slides, miniature houses, and the sandbox.
I suppose that if you’re not into rope climbers, this place wouldn’t hold quite the same appeal as the more exploratory play structures like the castles at Kew or High Park, but for our son, it was a paradise. And an easily accessible one too, right across from Rosedale subway station.
There were, unfortunately, a couple of malfunctions when we visited towards the end of the summer. We arrived eager to play in the wading pool, only to find nobody was allowed in because it was overflowing. Water poured over the edge, spilling into a nearby sewer, and threatening to flood part of the play area.
I asked the two sheepish-looking high school kids employed to operate the thing, and the girl pointed to her male companion, saying, “Darryl broke it when he was trying to shut it off.” Darryl, seemingly unaware that he had been accused, or perhaps accepting of it, ignored us and fiddled with his phone.
We then walked down the ramp to the sandbox, only to find that the water pump in the sandbox was broken. Whether this was thanks to an over-enthusiastic child, or whether it was Darryl’s fault, I wasn’t sure…but I hope it’s been fixed since, because it’s a nice addition. A few moments later, a city worker (a grown-up one this time) pulled up on a golf cart, and I figured he was there to fix the wading pool and/or reprimand Darryl and revoke his screen time privileges. But he didn’t. Instead, he put a three-foot strip of “caution” tape on the broken water pump in the sandbox, before getting back into his golf cart and driving off.
Weird as that moment was, I put it down to the fact that it was the last day of summer before school started up again. Perhaps Darryl was nervous.
Bottom line: this is an outstanding playground in a super park, right downtown. You should go.
Update July 2019: The pump has been fixed. No word on Darryl's state of mind, or whether he was disciplined for his reckless handling of wading pool mechanics.