June Rowlands Park (Sharon, Lois & Bram playground)
Updated: May 14, 2021
Equipment by Earthscape.
Surfaces: wood chips, sand, concrete (splash pad).
The one and only time I have ever lined up to purchase concert tickets was in September 2018, when Sharon & Bram’s farewell tour hit Toronto.
I woke up early (well, not that early for a parent with young kids, but they both decided to sleep in that day, of course) and biked down to the Young People’s Theatre a good two hours before the box office was set to open for same-day rush tickets.
I was second in line. The others were much like me; 80s kids who grew up on Sharon, Lois & Bram, and who had suddenly realized that time was running out if we were to provide our own kids with the experience of seeing these Canadian legends live.
We chatted a bit about parent stuff, 80s stuff, music stuff. I was surprised to find that I was the only one who knew about the Davisville playground that had recently been renamed in SL & B’s honour. I was only too happy to tell them about it, because it truly is a wonderful spot.
It’s not huge, like the Jamie Bell playground in High Park, and it doesn’t enjoy the urban arts oasis setting of Grange Park, but it’s got just about everything you could want, and it’s all tied together with a musical theme.
The climbers provide a good challenge for braver kids (the balance-beam walk to the guitar-shaped climber will make you nervous) but there are plenty of options for smaller ones, including a cute elephant-shaped structure, a reference to their famous “One Elephant Came Out To Play” song. There’s also a decent splash pad, and plenty of shaded picnic space. On a recent visit we spent a good couple of hours, ordered pizza, and ate in the park.
But the standout element here is the music circle. Several new playgrounds have started to incorporate chromatic percussion instruments, but nothing on the scale found here. Glockenspiels, bells, Blue Man Group-style tubes…it’s awesome.
If there’s one drawback, it’s that the sprawling layout, from music circle to sandbox to climbers to swings to splash pad, means that you can’t really sit in one place and have your kid within view as they explore. And it's not right on a subway line like some others. But that’s really getting picky. This one’s a must-see.
PS: The concert was great. It opened with a 40-year retrospective video, and in a room full of toddlers, the adults were the ones in tears.