Updated: Jul 12, 2019
Equipment by Kompan.
Just like Rosedale Park, Suydam proves that if you’re a playground, it pays to be in a wealthy neighbourhood. A recent rejuvenation is evidenced by the names of many neighbourhood families whose names are carved in paving stones, and whose money, presumably, went towards paying for the new equipment.
But unlike Rosedale Park, the local money that brought a rejuvenation to Suydam Park hasn’t created a top-flight playground, and I blame the manufacturer – Kompan.
Kompan’s equipment is all over Toronto. My local park – Withrow – is a good example. At first glance, Kompan’s stuff looks great: their climbers are colourful and playful, with a slightly cartoonish, kid-friendly look; almost as if they were drawn in marker by a 7-year-old. To put it in real estate terms, Kompan’s playgrounds have great “curb appeal.”
However, having watched my kids climb on literally hundreds of climbers of the past few years, I’ve started to notice the shortcomings of Kompan playgrounds.
Climbing holds that aren’t spaced quite right. Toddler swings with foot-holes so tiny that shoes have to be removed to get a kid out. Bumpy slides that are never as exciting as they look, but somehow also never as safe as they look.
None of these things are deal-breakers, and I don’t mean to say that Kompan’s work isn’t worth using. But each one of these minor annoyances adds up to an overall experience that is less than it might be. Perhaps this is why an all-Kompan playground, like Suydam, is rare. It’s far more common to see Kompan equipment mixed in with the work of other companies.
It’s too bad, because Suydam Park’s location is lovely. Situated in a beautiful spot as Forest Hill slopes down towards the Cedarvale Ravine, this could have been a real hidden gem. Instead, it’s a passable playground with lots of rich people’s names carved into paving stones.