It is Monday morning on Thanksgiving weekend. Toronto is basking in a gorgeous and unusually warm October day. I know it may be the last hot, sun-filled day before Fall finally settles in. It’s a perfect day to take my girl to the High Park playground.
We slowly make our way towards the park. As with any activity with children, progress is a slow affair. “Come on, we need to get to the Castle,” I say, while my daughter, with a broad smile on her face, shuffles her feet through thousands of red fallen leaves, blindly unaware that it took us twenty minutes to walk twenty meters. The word perks her up though and she lifts her arms. If I want to proceed, I need to carry her and push the stroller at the same time. I accept, lift her and briskly tried to get to the final destination.
The Castle is High Park’s Adventure Playground, which for kids is stepped out of a fairy tale. My little girl loves this Castle. It has colourful, medieval towers, swings for babies and big kids alike, plentiful slides and small nooks and corridors, so dear to kids who constantly run, hide and discover. What baffles me most is that before I was a mom, I walked by this castle dozens of times and never noticed it. Now I know the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground is a popular place for children and parents alike.
One-of-a-kind, the playground was inspired by the imagination and creativity of kids from the area, who worked along side parents, teachers and volunteers to draw their dream playground – and they did it. The playground was an integral part of the High Park Master Plan with the goal of making the park more family friendly and safe. Through a partnership between the High Park Citizen’s Advisory Committee, Toronto Parks and Recreation and a firm specializing in community-built playgrounds, the project became a reality in 1998. In 2003, the playground was named in honour of Jamie Bell, who first raised the idea of a community-built playground in High Park and served as the General Co-ordinator of the High Park Adventure Committee.
The playground is easily accessible on foot or by car. It is located inside High Park, close to the High Park Boulevard entrance at Parkside Drive. To reach it, take the first left from the Boulevard entrance, and you can see the playground at the bottom of the slope next to the duck pond. Parking is available in the High Park zoo parking lot. If you need to grab a bite to eat, there is the Grenadier Cafe in the middle of the park, or you can walk to Roncesvalles for plenty of other choices.
Check out the Jamie Bell Adventures Playground, and enjoy a fun Fall day at the Castle in High Park. Locals consider the Castle one of the best playgrounds in the High Park area – and maybe even Toronto.