Lessard Park Gets New Playground

constructionThe kids have always enjoyed Lessard Park. It's a little park in west Toronto on top of the ravine that leads down to Etienne Brule Park by the Humber River near Old Mill. Now that I think of it, I used to enjoy Lessard Park as a kid as well.

It's got a big field and baseball diamond, and they've just torn down what I thought was a pretty good playground and replaced it with a brand new one.

We dropped by at the end of our walk last night to see how the construction was going. There was enough in place that the kids could start breaking in the new funnery.

Lessard park

Lessard park Lessard park

Share this entry

Comments (4 - click here to join in!)


What a great park. I remember playing there and at Cashman Park when I was growing up in the area back in the 1970's.

July 5, 2010 @ 12:22 PM

Douglas Orme

I went to the 'new and improved' Lessard park today. Verdict: thumbs down.

Why? Fewer structures, fewer places to play, less shade/shelter, less seating room. Fewer 'hidy' places for kids.

Any advantages? Yes - woodchips! These are better than sand if you ask me and my kids. Easier to spot kids and in this paranoid surveillance era knowing where your kids are is not desirable, but required ;-)

Here is the official 'rational' for doing this $100,000.00 make-over:

"Rationale describing the specific problems or objectives this project will address: SERVICE IMPROVEMENT AND ENHANCEMENT- This project will replace the current low play-value/ less challenging playground equipment with modern multi-task structures that will provide greater physical challenges and better social interaction"

"low play-value/ less challenging playground equipment" ?! If you were there before you know this is a...how shall I put it...mistruth.

Better social interaction? I think not. And, come to think of it, that's an empirical question. Why not hire some undergrad Sociology students to count users periodically over the year prior and the year post? Not likely to happen is it? Hey, maybe Mr. Ford will bring us some accountability! On second thought...

btw: here's what we spent:

Design/Engineering: $5000
Construction: $77,000
Project management: $8000
Contingency: $10,000

Total: $100,000. $33,000 federal, $33,000 provincial, $34,000 municipal.

Here's the source: http://www.celos.ca/wiki/wiki.php?n=PlaygroundProjects-RInC.RInCApplications

November 16, 2010 @ 10:23 PM


Ah .... Lessard Park. Do I remember Lessard Park. The annual "hockey" and "pleasure" skating pads that were put up and maintained by the guys from the then called York Township. Every night these guys would arrive at the park at 11PM, unlock the equipment which was housed in a deep brick underground 'well' with a steel lid, thaw out the water valve with a kerosene torch, remove the many many feet of wound-up hose from inside the well, shovel the entire surface of each rink by hand, and then hook up the hoses and flood the rink for most of the night. Living right next to the park, you could 'hear' the water that the guy was putting on the freshly shovelled ice. I recall getting up many a Saturday morning to be the first on the ice. It was always like a sheet of frozen glass when you were the first on. Beautiful. When you got cold, you could always go in "the shack", an old wooden kerosene-heated shack that York Township would also put there annually, and it came equipped with a "supervisor" or 'rink guard' as they would be called today. I still remember the supervisors ... George K., Wayne #Hassle#, Keywan, and others. They were full-time employees for the length of the winter skate season. They made sure everything was cool, kept the kerosene heater going, shovelled ice, kept the peace, tended to minor injuries, etc. They even left the big lights on until 11PM for night skating. We would be out there from 6AM to 11PM many Saturdays, but only til 6PM on Sundays as there was 'homework' and school the next day. It was wonderful to live near Lessard Park during the 60's. In the summer, the Township always provided a summer supervisor, and lots of equipment to play with. They had 'Arts and Crafts' every day, and yes, I used to eat the white glue! They had horseshoes, quoits, shuffleboard, and they formed a park baseball team where area kids PARTICIPATED. We always had the same guys, and we would play other playgrounds, namely King George #on pavement!#, George Syme, Humbercrest Public School and Magwood Park. Lessard ALWAYS kicked butt. In fact, we won the now 'Borough of York' Fastball Championships with Billy Boyd on the mound. Good old Billy Boyd. We had a real fight every single day! Why? Cuz we could I guess. I won some, I lost some. But we always had a great respect for one another. This is the Lessard Park that I remember.
I had my first kiss at Lessard Park. No, I don't kiss and tell. But she was a sweetie, that Helen. Lips like cherries. Yes, we had many 'adventures' "down the hill". One day, when we were older and more 'mature', we were busted by the cops down there for drinking. We didn't know it at the time, but the cops had raced up the street in their cruisers #4# and drove straight into the park without stopping for the curb! Of course, neighbours were alarmed and had to come and see what was happening. As the cops were bringing us up the hill with several dripping 24's, I recall looking up the hill and seeing every single neighbour and parent we knew standing at the top as we were brought up. Needless to say, my parents also knew within about 45 seconds. Embarrassing, but part of growing up I guess. Besides, there were only 14 of us down there!!
One evening at Lessard, there was an older Polish couple that used to sit nightly on one of the park benches facing the hill. This particular evening, another older European guy staggered into the park and started chasing the man that was sitting there with the lady. He chased him somewhere down the hill. We later found out that this old couple was having an affair, and that the husband had found out, and that he had indeed chased the guy down the hill, but he had also stabbed the man 21 times and killed him! We heard about a year later that the guy got off because the Judge had said that "any man may have done the same thing in that situation"! So there must have been some extenuating circumstances. That was really the only bad thing I can recall about Lessard Park. All of my other memories are good ones. I could write a book about the things I remember about that place, but, it sure was a great area to grow up in, and I wouldn't change anything about it. It always was a great park, and it still is. It's really too bad that kids aren't allowed to go out and play anymore. They are really missing out. We had it all way back when.

January 20, 2011 @ 1:11 PM


Douglas Orme:

SERVICE IMPROVEMENT AND ENHANCEMENT- This project will replace the current low play-value/ less challenging playground equipment with modern multi-task structures that will provide greater physical challenges and better social interaction"

Translated, this means:

"I'm Stephen Harper, and I sure would like to buy your vote this election".

Certain Gov'ts like to call this an 'Economic Action Plan'

See how the new playground stimulates the economy?

Nothing to it.

January 20, 2011 @ 4:41 PM

Leave a comment

Only 4 comments? C'mon, we can do better... Leave a comment above and let's keep this conversation going!

« The Hangover Review H1N1 / Swine Flu Didn't Kill Us, and That's Good and Bad »