“Small but we had so much fun there.”
#4 in Riley Park
3276 Yukon Street
In the middle of last decade, Vancouver built two mini parks a few hundred meters from each other, each intended to be a complementary space to an already-existing transportation corridor.
But while Sun Hop Park (next to Main Street) is a soulless concrete plaza next to a bank, Lilian To Park (next to the Yukon bike lane) is a well-used parklet that already feels fully part of the neighbourhood.
Created after the city bought a corner residential lot in 2013 for $1.6 million (now a verifiable steal!), Lilian To packs a lot into its space — some grassy areas, a bike repair station, a place to exchange children’s toys, some benches and giant rocks that can be used to sit on as well. If you pass by on your bike, or are just looking for a peaceful place to get out of the house, you could do much worse.
The pièce de résistance, however, is the small play structure; specifically a giant disc swing that can fit a couple of kids (or kids at heart) at once: anchored by four large planks of wood, the swing can be pushed up and around before rotating with the force of a tiny roller coaster for 30 to 40 seconds. It’s a fun little engineering marvel that can’t be found anywhere else in the city, and combined with a climbing web, will provide enough replay value for most kids.
There are drawbacks to Lilian To, as there would with any park the size of a small residential lot — you never feel fully removed from the city and it’s not the type of place you would want to hang out in for more than 30 minutes.
But in a short time, it’s arguably developed a reputation as one of the best mini parks in the city, and for good reason.