“Family friendly, with a neighborhood spirit.”
#3 in Kensington-Cedar Cottage
4850 St. Catherines Street
Grays Park is a fascinating and fun example of what happens when a community takes over the purpose of a park from a government.
That’s a little unfair: after all, the lawn still gets mowed at Grays, the garbage gets taken out, the small playground is modern enough, the tennis, basketball and ball hockey courts are still in good condition, and the washroom gets cleaned, all courtesy of the park board.
There’s also a number of mosaic art pieces, plenty of benches, a small walking trail and a covered area with a table.
But consider the lawn bowling area and small community centre abandoned five years ago — the neighbourhood has repurposed it into a small dog park, in an area of the city without a lot of space for dogs.
Or consider the centre of the park: another one of those wading pools that in a good year is open for about 15 hours a week for a couple of months in the summer, but otherwise is drab cement. In 2020, people turned it into a little bike park for kids, with a few small jumps, integrated with a nearby hill and dirt path.
It adds up to a number of generic park amenities and a number of unique ones; all put together reasonably well in a small area; all well-used by the community.
A very good park, in other words. And an interesting one, too.