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Best of Toronto

The Best Playgrounds in Toronto

Posted by Libby Roach / August 6, 2015

toronto playgroundsThe best playgrounds in Toronto offer more than just your standard slides and swings. These parks engage and encourage kids of all ages and abilities to explore and test their physical prowess. Some are known for their picturesque park setting, others for their creative and unusual designs.

Here are the best playgrounds in Toronto.

Corktown Common
At the foot of the Don River you'll find Corktown Common Park. Weave your way to the picturesque playground that's built right into the hill, with slides and play structures rising up to give kids a dramatic view of the city as they slide down.

Dufferin Grove
Shady Dufferin Grove boasts a dreamy playground that seamlessly blends wooden play structures into the natural habitat, with onsite Cob Courtyard doling out healthy snacks. A massive sandpit with tools for digging gives kids a tactile experience.

Jamie Bell PlaygroundJamie Bell Adventure Playground- High Park
Arguably the most popular playground in Toronto and for good reason too. Rebuilt after a fire a few years ago, it has risen again thanks to community do-gooders, blending an immersive environment of climbing structures into a towering mini town.

Kew Gardens
Historic buildings dot this park by the lake in the Beaches. A castle-esque playground is surrounded by a Medieval village, giving creative kids all the ammunition they need for hours of play. A refreshing wading pool adds a nautical aspect.

Neshama Playground
A short jaunt from Davisville Subway, this park scores serious points for being not only accessible but inclusive as well. Kids of any size and ability will appreciate the sensory toys and a pond-themed splash pad anchoring the colourful playground.

Withrow Park
Riverdale is home to the incredible eight hectare Withrow Park, with two playgrounds, a wading pool, hexagonal climbing blocks, spinning rides, and tons of various swings of all sizes. Beach babes will dig the sandboxes, so BYOB (bring your own bucket).

Cherry Beach PlaygroundCherry Beach Sports Fields
While the adjacent soccer and lacrosse pitches are the main focus of this sports park, the real attraction here is the unexpected addition of a wood-lined pirate ship. Here, maidens and mateys alike gather portside to plan their next nautical adventure.

Regent Park Central Park Playground
After years of planning, this playground adjacent to the stunning new aquatics facility has proven well worth the wait, with loads of modern play structures and cheerful bouncy obstacles to tempt tots into burning off a little extra steam.

Marie Curtis
Located at the western edge of Etobicoke, visitors to this lakeside park are greeted by a giant climbing spider web, but the real draw is the massive splash pad that gets a dose of colour courtesy of the umbrellas and Muskoka chairs that surround it.

David Crombie ParkDavid Crombie Park
Front and Jarvis is home to the tidy David Crombie Park, and while it may be dwarfed by the larger parks, this centrally located recreational space still boasts two playgrounds, sprinklers and the most artistic basketball courts in the city for your junior ballers.

Jean Sibelius Park
Dupont and Bathurst is home to this tiny park, which crams two separate playgrounds into its small space. A flying saucer swing comfortably seats two and the small play house in the toddler area gives wee ones a chance to recharge before the next game of tag.

Vermont Square
This park near Dupont and Bathurst is a perfect blend of modern design and urban landscape. Flanked by a giant wooden boat, kids love walking the plank (it's a twisty slide), or making mud pies in the natural play area, home to a sandbox with a tap.

ritzThanks to Ritz for sponsoring this post.

What did I miss? Add your suggestions in the comments.

Jamie Bell photo by Jeanette Greaves. David Crombie Park photo by Jason Cook in the blogTO Flickr pool.



This Gen / August 6, 2015 at 11:12 am
Kids have it all these days. Look at those things, they're amazing. You can play rescue the princess or Pirates of the Caribbean. When I was a kid my playground consisted of a rusty swing set where you most likely came away with tetanus.
iSkyscraper / August 6, 2015 at 11:23 am
Pretty great, and good for the city to have such assets. But I will say, politely and constructively, that after raising toddlers in NYC the standards for public playgrounds there are phenomenal and offer much that Toronto could learn from. It's no coincidence that Corktown Common is at the top of this list and looks like it could be in Battery Park City or Brooklyn Heights -- it was designed by an NYC landscape architect.

To its credit though, Toronto has not banned wood structures nor encased all playgrounds in tall fences the way litigation-wary New York has.
balina / August 6, 2015 at 11:24 am
is the corktown one open or is it closed till panam stuff is over?
Malcolm replying to a comment from but / August 6, 2015 at 11:56 am
Or spouting ironic hashtagged dribble in comments sections.

Toronto's public parks game has definitely been raised over the last few years :)
JP / August 6, 2015 at 12:17 pm
I'm glad that many of our parks still have full sand or a sand areas for kids to dig and jump in. Many places are converting to full wood chips or rubber padding which is great for accessibility and easy to maintain but kids love sand and water so some sand even a sand box is appreciated.
daftpunk replying to a comment from Malcolm / August 6, 2015 at 12:26 pm
No ones arguing the fact the parks look great.

The issue is kids today do not want to use them.
And parents are just as happy to stick them on the couch with a cell phone rather than actually getting them out exercising.

Tablets are the new parks.
Tony / August 6, 2015 at 12:35 pm
Kids today do want to use parks and take their kids there. Go to most of these parks on the weekend and you'll see how packed they are.Yes parks are generally aimed at young kids so once kids get to be 6 or 7 they've out grown the park playground.

This is nothing new in the 80s everyone was getting Atari, Collecovision, VCRs and staying home playing video games, watching movies at home or going to an arcade. Nothing has changed.
tommy replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / August 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm
Definitely impressed by NYC's playgrounds, but what's with the fencing? Looks like little kid jail.
Amber replying to a comment from balina / August 6, 2015 at 01:57 pm
Corktown is closed until the end of the Pan Am's.
Alex replying to a comment from balina / August 6, 2015 at 02:07 pm
Still closed for the rest of the month. Thankfully, they changed their tune and are re-opening September 1. The park was originally scheduled to stay shut for the rest of the year. I am so excited to check it out next month!
Lauren / August 6, 2015 at 02:20 pm
Corktown Common has been closed since June 1, and won't reopen until October!

Everyone in the neighborhood is furious.
Mama / August 6, 2015 at 02:25 pm
As a mom I can say that it's a 50/50 split. I have no problem bringing my kids to the park and even suggest it. Unfortunately a lot of parents come home from work cook and are tired so they stick their kids in the backyard or let them play infront because they can't be bothered to bring their kids to the park.I don't believe it's the kids disinterest in all cases but what they're used to. Some parents do what's easier for them. I know first hand because I'm the mom who always volunteers to bring the neighbourhood kids to the park, parents won't come or suggest it. Some kids just won't come out to play period because they're on their computer. Who's fault is that? parents! Wood chips and foam padded parks are better especially the foam padded. I wish they'd convert all parks into these because the sand is gross. The sand gets stuck in your kids shoes in their clothes even if they don't dig in it, not to mention there's always that one kid throwing sand into other childrens faces or hair.Besides, it's safer because you can't see what's hiding in the sand, if the surface is flat you can see what's on the ground.Parks are not cleaned everyday. Unless you call and complain about garbage broken glass they won't come and clean it up. The only downfall of having the foam padded play grounds is that they need maintenance, a lot of times there are holes that are not repaired, which can result in serious injuries.
tran / August 6, 2015 at 03:34 pm
Corktown Commons is closed for the summer, as pointed out by several commenters. Maybe update the article to reflect that? Just a little note like "set to reopen in September" or something. Might be helpful information for people.
EeVon / August 6, 2015 at 11:39 pm
This list includes some nice parks, but it needs updating as a few new parks have been added and some of the parks listed here need new equipment (Dufferin Grove -- but great mud pit!). I would add Underpass park, Allen Gardens park, Forest Hill park and Edithvale park.

Also agree that the playgrounds in NYC sets the standards of playground innovation and creativity.
Airfleet Limousine / August 7, 2015 at 06:08 pm

I'm glad that many of our parks still have full sand or a sand areas for kids to dig and jump love sand and water . Its not only for kids even the parents can enjoy the fresh breeze and can have good place to spend their time
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