“Came at night, was very dark.”
#5 in Kensington-Cedar Cottage
1100 East 17th Avenue
Fundamentally, Sunnyside is a pretty simple park: some swings and an early 90s playground, on top of a raised grassy area with plenty of trees.
So what is it doing here?
Well, there’s the clever design — most parks in the city have a sunken bevel, but being on top of a small hill gives Sunnyside a different feel. And the park is filled with trees in a way most others aren’t — it feels a bit like a wooded area in the English countryside, particularly given most of the trees are of the plain variety. A rare structure with a permanent bench and table underneath can easily be covered with a tarp, giving options for family gatherings.
But really, the highlight of the park is something not technically in it: the giant 25-foot high climbing structure that’s between the park and Charles Dickens school. There isn’t a taller climbing structure available for free in the city, fun for both larger kids and adults, and “just” tall enough with “just” enough gaps between the intricate tightropes that there’s a sense of danger.
Factor in the closed off street between the park and the school, filled with basketball courts and funky benches, and it’s an excellent example of how a few unique additions can make a neighbourhood park something special.