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Underpass Park

Surfaces: rubber, concrete.

It may not be Toronto’s best playground, but Underpass Park is worth a visit by virtue of its uniqueness alone.

Designed in part by the urban revitalization specialists at The Planning Partnership, Underpass Park takes an element of cities that are usually either underused, unsafe, or both, and turns it into a fun, vital, even beautiful space that can be enjoyed by Torontonians of all ages.

The underpasses in question – raised roadways that connect three downtown streets to the DVP – provide shelter for a playground, skate park, and some very Instagram-friendly mirrors hung directly above the heads of passersby.

The east side of the park comprises the skate park and half-basketball courts, and feels like it could be the setting for a re-boot of the movie “Breakin.” It’s a uniquely Toronto juxtaposition of urbanity and nature to sit there, within a stone’s throw of the beautifully green Don Valley bike trail, but surrounded by the wood-and-metal crack of skateboards on pavement, and the hum of traffic directly overhead.

Over on the western side of the park is the playground. This features a nice Berliner Seilfabrik rope climber, some swings, a geometric climber by Kompan, a teeter-totter, and some spinners. It’s not a wealth of equipment, but certainly adequate, and of course, it’s (mostly) shaded by the underpass.

If your little ones need a splash pad, or more variety of equipment, the much larger Corktown Common is a short walk to the south. (It’s so close that my son refers to it as “the other part of Underpass Park.”)

As playgrounds go, this one is probably the only one that can truly be described as “cool.” Definitely worth a visit.

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