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Stephenson Park

Equipment by Landscape Structures.

Surfaces: woodchips, sand.

There’s an interesting mix of old and new at this playground that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

Usually, when a playground gets a makeover, it’s a completely clean slate. The old equipment, worn down by generations of sugar-fuelled children, is replaced by some slick new climbers by a company that only works with up-cycled organic materials or something.

Stephenson Park is different.

Yes, you’ll find some new stuff here: a climber by Landscape Structures, one of my favourite manufacturers, whose equipment you’ll find in many of Toronto’s very best playgrounds. There’s also a fairly new sandbox – covered, which was useful on our visit when the skies opened and it poured for a solid twenty minutes.

But they’ve kept some of the older items that give this park some character. There’s the wading pool, a classic Toronto concrete cone, made special by the paintings of various species of whale. (A legend showing which whale is which can be found on the mechanical hut just beside the pool.) There’s a vintage spinner, which many people of my generation call the Wheel of Death, and where your child can have their first encounter with g-forces. There are also some old school swings with some of the longest chains in the city, which means that if your kid can use their legs to pump, they can get some serious altitude.

None of this makes the park outstanding, but it’s definitely a character park; one that you might pair with a visit to nearby Ed McLeverty if you’re in the area.

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