Friday, 10 October 2014

The Whole World is Our Playground: Park Review - Lakeshore West

We went for a walk along Lakeshore west via the chain of parks that line the lake this past spring, but I never got around to posting a review of it, so I figured why not now in case anyone else wants to do some exploring on a long weekend.

My park review disclaimer: 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.

Marilyn Bell Park, Marilyn Bell Boardwalk

Park Name:
Marilyn Bell Park (Lakeshore Boardwalk west)

 There is metered pay parking just west of Ontario Place/Exhibition Grounds.  By TTC you can take the 509 Harbourfront or 511 Bathurst Street car to the CNE grounds and walk from there. 

Marilyn Bell Park, Marilyn Bell Playground equipment
Chris clearly had no clue that Jack was capable of climbing this!

Theme of Park:
Long wooden boardwalk along the lake that is peppered with playgrounds, statues, snack stands and the occasional cafe. 

Grass, sand, wooden board walk and flat concrete bike paths. Some trees along the paths.

Variety of Equipment for different ages:
 The playgrounds here are pretty retro with some basic old school equipment (not always in the best repair) including slides, swings and climbers.  

Marilyn Bell Park, Marilyn Bell Playground equipment

Best Parts of the Park:
The view of the city, the lake and the boats is amazing! I should note the importance of the dinosaur statues. The boardwalk allows for toddlers to toddle without the threat of cyclists or roller blades. I recall Jack constantly trying to throw himself into the lake for most of the journey - which is likely why I hadn't posted a review until now, nearly six months later.  There is also a biking area complete with ramps for BMX biking near the paid parking.

Marilyn Bell Park, Marilyn Bell Playground equipment, Marilyn Bell Dinosaur Playground Toronto

 This is more about the walk, the view and the ambiance than the playground equipment.  There is very little shade, so bring some sunblock and a hat.  This would be a great stroller walk with younger ones or biking expedition for little ones who've had some biking experience.  The water could pose a danger....we had Jack on his "tether" the entire trip to prevent a spring time polar bear dip into the lake.  I recall spending a lot of time waiting for tantrums, but that's hardly the parks fault. 

Marilyn Bell Park, Marilyn Bell Playground equipment, Marilyn Bell Dinosaur Playground Toronto

Overall Rating:
This is a really pretty walk.  I highly recommend it for spring and fall to avoid big crowds, especially if you're travelling with little ones.  I rate this park 3/5, but it will get a higher score when I'm confident that Jack isn't going to walk the plank.

To read my review of Jean Sibelius Square click here

To read about an autumn hike in High Park click here

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