“Fantastic playground for kids of all ages! It’s a borderline theme park, as far as playground designs go.”
#1 in South Cambie
801 West 22nd Avenue
Douglas Park has the best playground, bar none, of any park in Vancouver, and if you have kids under 10 and live in or around Vancouver, you should go there.
That could be our entire review; it would certainly be blunt and get the point across, but it’s worth espousing on the exact merits of the Douglas Park playground, along with why playgrounds matter and why the one in Douglas sticks out in Vancouver.
First, the merits: the $760,000 playground, opened in 2018, is dominated by a sprawling wooden structure that has suspension bridges, slides, climbing walls and more slides coming out every which way.
It feels like something kids might construct in a Lord of the Flies scenario, a defensive battlement, and sits on top of ground that is mixed with woodchips and springy turf paths for accessibility. Complementing all this are a number of springy swing toys, modern swings, a sandy play area, a trampoline, a tiny log house and a number of balancing beam elements.
Other Vancouver parks might have a bigger highlight (see: Creekside’s slide), or have an outstanding spray park (see: Granville Island), or have multiple playgrounds (see: Stanley), but none have an individual playground as good as Douglas. Little wonder it’s always packed.
All this matters because playgrounds are still where kids gravitate to, and are still the easiest way of getting kids outside and exploring a physical environment in a safe way.
And the truth is that Vancouver’s suburban municipalities tend to have more standout playgrounds: a quick look across the internet will see plenty of praise for Richmond’s Terra Nova, Coquitlam’s Queenston, Port Coquitlam’s Lions Park and many more east of Boundary and south of the Fraser River, while discussion of Vancouver’s playgrounds drops off quickly after Creekside and Douglas.
There are reasons for that — including suburban municipalities trying to attract growing families, or having less space for expansive field-based parks and prioritizing playgrounds instead — but nevertheless, the playground at Douglas rocks.
And it’s surrounded by a big park with plenty of field space, a basketball court, a cricket pitch, and a solid community centre. Put an A+ playground in the middle of a B park, and this is the score you get.
Of course, Douglas is the centrepiece of a neighbourhood that regularly is among the busiest Halloween centres in Vancouver.
Little wonder the park is just as bustling the other 364 days a year.