It’s referred to as the “castle playground” and it’s easy to see why: The sprawling wood structure at High Park’s Jamie Bell Adventure Playground is like a medieval castle and maze, with narrow passageways, and “hidden” winding staircases, elevated walkways, and lookouts.
Big and little kids get equal play space here. The play area for toddlers and preschoolers has two-storey towers, tubes for crawling, a tire suspended on bouncy coils, and two slides. It’s entirely enclosed by wooden fencing, so parents can rest assured kids won’t give them chase—at least, not without fair warning.
Bridges and winding warrens connect the “little-kid” play area to where the bigger kids play: a multi-storey four-turreted castle with a climbing wall, fireman’s pole, and two- and three-storey-high twirly and bumpy slides.
The original design for the playground was developed from children’s drawings of their dream playground, and the “castle playground” was erected in 1998. The structures are decorated with artwork created by kids and adult volunteers who built the playground.
In 2012, the larger castle was destroyed by arson. The community quickly raised $80,000 to rebuild the playground and local companies chipped in. The new structure was completed just a few months later, with the help of celebrity HGTV contractor Mike Holmes and local volunteers.
- Look for the bronze depiction of the fire that serves as something of a coat of arms for the newer castle.
- The High Park Zoo is within easy walking distance from the playground—a great combo day for young kids.
- Kids love to try their hand at attempting to remove the Excalibur replica from the stone near the playground’s entrance; the sword was installed when the playground was rebuilt in 2012, to symbolize that no matter how hard anyone tries, the playground is here to stay.
Playground in the southeast corner of High Park; access via High Park Boulevard or Spring Road entrances (map it). Park and playground open year-round.
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Photos: Shannon Kelly