Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Whole World is Our Playground: Jeff Healey Park

This past weekend we went and explored a playground that is a work in progress.  The Jeff Healey Playground (formerly Woodford Park) is dedicated to the memory of Canadian Rock Legend Jeff Healey who was taken by cancer way too soon.  Regular fundraisers worked on improving the park and playground in terms of accessibility and a baseball diamond became a feature just a few years ago.  Many of these improvements have been made via fundraising complemented by city funds.  Unfortunately recent storms in Toronto have taken out a bridge in the park which makes it more difficult to access.

Again, If you don't live in the area I hope you enjoy the pics and can use some of the ideas to inspire and explore in your own city. If you have any recommendations for great playgrounds (or new criteria I haven't thought of) please post a comment on this post or email me.
Park Name:
Jeff Healey Park, Toronto Ontario 
Off of Woodford Road - The Queensway, East of Royal York and West of Park Lawn.  There are three entrances, although if you aren't actively looking for this park, you probably won't find it.   By TTC you can take a bus south from Royal York Station and take a 10 minute walk to the park from Queensway and Royal York (11 minutes according to Google Maps).

There is a small lot at one entrance and street parking all around the park. 


Theme of Park:
Sunshine Yellow with a Happy Shiny Bug Theme...Spiderwebs to climb and a lady bug and caterpillar to ride on. The actual play equipment is for kids a lot older than ours, there are swings and one structure for toddlers but everything else is for ages 5-12, but that didn't stop our kids from trying with some boosts and spotted tumbles alongside mom and dad. 
Ground Coverage:
Wood chips (which means Miss Molly approves)
None that I saw.

The park is isolated with little road traffic nearby which means it's great because you don't need to worry about someone running out in front of a car, but I'd be loathe to allow older children play without adult supervision unless they were in a decent sized group. There were a number of people with rambunctious dogs off leash right beside the playground.  The dogs weren't vicious, but they were loud and this could be scary if your child is scared of dogs.*
Best Part of the Park:
Most of the great things about this playground (climbing/monkey bar accessibility for children in wheelchairs) etc. are for older kids, however since it's a hidden gem the equipment isn't overcrowded so there is more space to help younger kids enjoy.  Children who love wall climbing will adore this playground.  We also spotted a fabulous toboggan hill in the park for our very own winter enjoyment.  In warm months you're a short walk away from Etobicoke Iconic Ice Cream Parlour Tom's Dairy Freeze.
Overall Rating:
 I'd rate the entire playground area a 2.5/5 for kids under four years old, however if I were to review for an older crowd (I asked my nephew and he loves the climbing structures) I'd probably give it a much higher ranking.

To read my review of Vine Avenue Playground click here

To read my review of Marie Curtis Playground click here

To read my review of Vermont Square Playground click here

To read my review of  Dufferin Grove Playground click here

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*Or is anything like Jack and bounds towards them with reckless abandon.

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