It's May and the weather is beautiful, and while we make a point of playing outside at playschool all year round (and in all kinds of weather too), there is special delight in the returning of spring, sunshine, and the leaves on the trees. We're so lucky that Huron-Washington Park is our park too—such a fantastic place to play. Which makes us think of how blessed we are to have so many incredible green spaces here in Toronto, in the Annex and even further afield. And here are a few of our favourites that are definitely worth a trip.
1) Jean Silbelius Square: Recently renovated, the new park features an amazing climbing structure for big kids, an enclosed play space for the little ones, and a tap that runs and runs to create the mother of all mud puddles. (Between Kendall and Brunswick Avenues, at Wells Street)
2) Vermont Square: Home of the amazing pirate ship play structure, lots of swings, and a splash pad to cool down with on hot summer days. (Palmerston Avenue, just south of Vermont Avenue).
3) Margaret Fairley Playground: Small neighbourhood park with a whole lot going on, including cool climbing structure, a splash pad, and great big wooden armchairs. (Brunswick Avenue south of Ulster Street)
4) Trinity Bellwoods: The place to be a sunny day! Featuring a great playground, splashpad, lots of grass for picnics, and good places to fetch grub for said picnics on streets Dundas and Queen. (South of Dundas, between Gore Vale Avenue and Shaw Street)
5) Christie Pits: Everything happens here! New playground is coming soon, plus there is a splashpad and four swimming pools which means the whole family can cool down when the weather is hot. Nicely located near Baskin Robbins too on the corner of Christie and Bloor.
6) Dufferin Grove: Highlights include the sandpit with construction-grade shovels and so much space to build and play, plus climbers, a splash pad, and a cafe that's open daily. This park is a city treasure. (Located across from the Dufferin Mall)
7) High Park: A whole world in the city! Great for garden enthuasists, people who like to roll down hills (just watch for goose poo), see ducks, geese and swans on Grenadier Pond, have lunch at the cafe, visit the zoo, walk in the woods, and play at the incredible Jamie Bell playground. (At High Park Station, south of Bloor Street, just west of Keele)
8) Riverdale Farm: This place is pure magic. In spring, you can catch all the baby animals coming into the world—lambs, goats and piggies, oh my! And then take a walk down the hill to the duck pond and try to believe you're actually in the middle of a city at all. (Winchester Street, 3 blocks east of Parliament Street)
9) Corktown Common: Brand new park on a flood plain. It's worth the trip to get stunning shots of your kids frolicking in the totally cool splashpad with the city skyline as a backdrop. Being a downtown kid has never been so good. (South of King Street, at Bayview Avenue and Mill Street)
10) Oriole Park: A great new playground with a really fun splashpad, all kinds of perfect design touches, and the whole thing is super accessible to children who use wheelchairs and have other disabilities. It's the perfect ending to a walk or cycle along the Beltline Trail. (At Oriole Parkway and Chaplin Crescent, west of Davisville Station).
11) Toronto Island: You've never had the perfect getaway so close at hand. The Centreville Amusement Park is totally fun, but for a lower key day, picnic on the Centre Island south side, play at the beach, on the splashpad, on the playground, and take a walk in the Franklin Garden. And then stroll along the boardwalk to Ward's Island for ice cream and a walk through the island's picturesque neighbourhood before catching the ferry home. All this, of course, is the recipe for a perfect day.