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Ravina Gardens

Surfaces: wood chips, rubber.

Because High Park is so fantastic and so popular, it’s easy to forget that there are other great parks and playgrounds in the High Park neighbourhood. Ravina Gardens might be the best one, and the least known among east-end families, so allow me to blow the lid off the secret of this great west-side play spot.

We got there by TTC, exiting High Park station through the Parkview Gardens exit, then walked north through the very serene and very green neighbourhood. (Danforth folks: if you’ve never strolled around the High Park neighbourhood, it’s a beauty. Imagine Playter Estates except it goes on forever.) It’s just a bit too far from the subway to be super convenient, but you could always drive, as the residential streets provide plenty of parking.

Ravina Gardens is tucked away on a quiet street, and slopes up gently towards a set of stairs that leads to the grounds of St. Cecilia Catholic school, whose playgrounds have already been featured here as another hidden gem. Plenty of shade, lots of seating, and good options for play meant that we spent a happy couple of hours here.

The equipment is a combination of Kompan and Landscape Structures. Nothing huge, but lots of variety; club houses, slides, swings, spinners, sand…something for everyone. Not too many parks have a splash pad and a wading pool, something we were happy to see given the temperature on the day we visited.

The picnic tables, with built-in shades, made for easy picnicking, though we easily could have found shade in the stand of mature trees nearby if we had brought our picnic blanket. As (almost) always, there were no bathrooms, which always annoys me. There was one porta-potty, but it was sitting on a slight slope, which I imagine might be a bit disconcerting when you’re doing your business.

This park is a favourite for day camps and nanny groups in the summer, so if you want to avoid crowds it’s probably best to arrive at about 11:30am, just before everyone leaves for lunch. Then you can bust out your picnic and enjoy a quiet play in one of the west end’s loveliest parks.

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