IMG_3046It’s officially outdoor playtime. We’re celebrating this long-awaited season with one of the city’s newest downtown revamps — Allan Gardens Playground.

I know, many Torontonians label this area a bit gritty. But a year-long revitalization has turned this outdoor space into a super place to play. There are a few final touches before it officially opens this spring.

This winter we stopped by often on our way into the warm and tropical Allan Gardens Conservatory. (The back door to the greenhouses is easily accessible from the playground – no need to walk around to the front.) There are two play structures for big and small kids, swings, slides and things to climb, plus some modern multi-groundperson teeter-totters all on that soft springy ground. (It was the first time we’ve seen the kind of surface made to look like real “ground” – so we took a picture.) There is a sandbox and a water feature will be added.


Getting there: Allan Gardens Playground is located east of Jarvis St. between Carlton St. and Gerrard St. If driving, you may find free parking on the east side of Allan Gardens Conservatory on Horticultural Ave off of Gerrard St. On TTC, take the 506 College streetcar or the 95 Sherbourne bus.

Potty time: In the Conservatory.

Know your history: The Friends of Allan Gardens put together this history. About 100 years ago, the area along Jarvis Street was considered one of the most desirable locations. Sadly, with the widening of Jarvis St. in 1948, the majestic trees were removed and only a few of the mansions now remain.

In the hood: Obviously, you have to visit the Allan Gardens Conservatory. It’s free and has always-changing blooms with the seasons. (My kids love the turtles and fish.) Farther east along Gerrard St. you’ll find the Children’s Book Bank and the Toronto Public Library Parliament Branch. Riverdale Farm is 1.5 km northeast.

teeter toddler


Allan Gardens
160 Gerrard St. East
Toronto, ON