Equipment by Little Tikes.
There’s more to a playground than just the playground.
As I was figuring out how to rate the playgrounds on this site (and I spent an embarrassingly long time debating the perfect pedagogy) I knew that a playground’s setting was almost as important as the equipment. But I also felt there needed to be another category; some way to allow some wiggle room to reward playgrounds that had something special about them.
And so, the “extras” category was born.
Of all the playgrounds I’ve reviewed, fewer than 5% get a perfect score in the “Extras” category, and Stan Wadlow is one of them. The playground itself might not be a showstopper, but it’s good enough, and there’s so much else to do here that Stan Wadlow Park can easily occupy a family for a full day.
Here’s a list of all Stan Wadlow’s extras:
Skatepark. Officially the “East York Skatepark,” this is a good spot for beginner and intermediate skaters/scooters alike. It’s tucked away at the east end of Stan Wadlow, and often my kids will ignore the playground in favour of the skatepark.
Outdoor pool. Although I’ve never used the Kiwanis Outdoor Pool (Riverdale is our local) it looks like a good one, and there’s a fun-looking slide. Plus, right next to the pool is a…
Splash pad. Not huge, but great on those hot days.
Washrooms. The East York Memorial Arena’s washrooms are usually open. Washrooms are shamefully rare at Toronto playgrounds, and parents of kids who are only halfway out of diapers know that the struggle is real.
A second playground. If your kids tire of the Stan Wadlow playground, Parkside Public School is just north across the field, and provides some nice supplementary climbing.
A tennis wall. The most reliable hitting partner a tennis player could hope for.
Baseball diamonds. Not that you’d probably have a ball game with your own kids, but the diamonds here sometimes host fairly high-level regional tournaments, and we once found ourselves watching a game, which was surprisingly fun.
Taylor Creek. One of my favourite trails for biking, hiking, and picnicking, Taylor Creek can be accessed via Haldon Avenue at the park’s eastern edge.
This park has been a big part of East Yorkers’ lives for years, and even if it’s not local for you, it certainly deserves a Saturday.