185 Spring Road, Toronto, Ontario
How to Get Here:
The playground is found within High Park – I always enter via High Park Road and then you veer to the left. It will become visible on your left with a parking lot on your right.
You can take buses to the gate and streetcars to Roncesvalles Ave.
I always drive here and there is plenty of (free!) parking either in the parking lot within the park or on the various streets surrounding the park on the east.
Why We Like it:
The whole experience of High Park is wonderful – especially in the fall when the colours are glorious.
Visiting High Park from the east becomes a whole day experience for us. There is strolling down Roncy for coffee and cute shopping, a free zoo in the park and of course, this amazing playground (there is also an amazing off-leash playground for dogs if you want to bring your fur babies!).
The playground itself is fantastic. It was designed with ideas from children in mind and in fact children helped build it. Someone set fire to it in 2012 (seriously? Who is that horrible?) but it was rebuild with so much neighbourly love.
As you can see from the pictures it is a gigantic castle with twisty slides. It has a castle for little guys and a castle for the big guys.
There are two baby swings, one accessible swing, six big kid swings and a tire swing/bounce thing that I have actually no idea how to play on. There are tunnels within the castles, bridges, ropes and several slides for all levels.
All in all, this is a beautiful and imaginative playground. I love that they have a wall of ‘crests’ painted by children to truly give it that medieval feel.
Public city bathrooms up the hill from the playground (I am not sure if they are open in the winter).
As mentioned, there is a FREE zoo in High Park. You will see bison, capybaras, and a yak (just to name a few). It’s a bit of a climb up to the top of the hill but then you are rewarded with some of the most beautiful trees in the fall. My first fall with George I discovered this gem. Everyone comes here for cherry blossoms but I adore the golden trees. It also hosts an incredible dog park that is huge and my dogs adore. Plus a duck pond (and to be politically correct you can feed the ducks frozen corn or bird seed), a train that runs in the warmer months, and a wading pool. So much to do!
184 Spring Road, Toronto, Ontario
WHERE TO GET COFFEE?
This is my go-to for fantastic coffee and SCRUMMY croissants! So good. Lots of fresh baked goods.
79 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto ON
100 Soraunen Ave, Toronto ON
A very cute and fun corner café a block east of Roncesvalles.
Fantastic coffee and super great brunch – if it is a sunny fall day it is a perfect place to eat and then head to the park. You can also get items to go.
Just the name of the café should interest you. Because extra butter is always a good thing.
Super cozy coffee shop with INSANELY delicious donuts!
283 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto ON
Although technically not a coffee shop, this is a must try! A great place to pick up a sandwich to take to the park (made on Blackbird Co bread!) or a salad. OR a bowl of steaming pasta.
Their pasta is so good that it makes me cry a little when I eat it. You can grab dinner for later! Or a loaf of amazing bread.
And yes, coffee. Italian coffee.
325 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto ON
392 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto ON
Cuban sandwiches and coffee
131 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto ON
Tacos and more – EXCELLENT restaurant for kids
This is such a fun area to explore with kids – so many more cafés not mentioned here plus great boutiques including some fun ones for kids. Hope you enjoy exploring the west if you are from the east end of Toronto, and if you are from the west – lucky you!