Apply to join the Centennial Park Playground and Water Play Area Indigenous Advisory Circle by February 1, 2023. Visit the Get Involved section for more information on how to apply.

The City is improving the playground and water play area in Centennial Park as part of an ongoing city-wide program to ensure playgrounds provide safe and accessible fun for many years to come.

  • Summer 2022 to Spring 2023: Community engagement
    • Summer to Fall 2022: Phase 1, Building a Vision (current phase)
    • Winter 2023: Phase 2, Exploring Design Options
    • Spring 2023: Phase 3, Setting the Direction
  • Winter 2023: Design development and detail design
  • Spring 2023: Hire a construction team
  • Summer 2023: Construction starts
  • Spring 2024: Construction complete

The timeline is subject to change.

Join the Playground and Water Play Area Indigenous Advisory Circle

The City is looking for local Indigenous community members of all ages and abilities to join a virtual Indigenous Advisory Circle to help inform the redesign of the playground and water play area. Professional experience is not required. Honourarium will be provided for participation in each meeting (two to three meetings are planned).

The first meeting is planned for mid-February. At this meeting, Advisory Circle members will meet the project team and review and provide feedback on playground and water play designs.

Indigenous Elder Catherine Tammaro, who is on the design team, will help guide the inclusion of Indigenous Placekeeping. The Ridge Road will lead the Advisory Circle process.

To apply and for more information, email abirioukovbrant@theridgeroad.com. The application deadline is February 1, 2023.

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This project is part of Phase 1 of the implementation of the Centennial Park Master Plan, which guides changes to the park over the next 20 years.

The existing playground and wading pool is located at 151 Elmcrest Rd. and accessed from Rathburn Drive. The playground is west of Elmcrest Creek, south of the Centennial Park Conservatory and situated on top of a hill that slopes down to the creek. The existing wading pool is located at the bottom of the hill.

The playground currently includes:

  • Four swing sets with:
    • five swings for ages two to five
    • five swings for ages five and up
  • A medium-sized slide
  • A junior-sized slide
  • A climbing structure with two slides and an accessible ramp
  • Sand under all play areas
  • Wading pool with four segmented pool areas.

The existing playground and wading pool will be replaced by a large new playground and water play area that will serve the local community and be a destination feature for the City.

The new playground and water play area will include:

  • Play equipment and water play for ages two to 15
  • Accessible playground and water play with new accessible pathways connecting to the playground area
  • Additional seating
  • Indigenous Placekeeping

In this phase of the community engagement process, the project team introduced the project to the community, which builds on the direction set in the Centennial Park Master Plan. The purpose of this phase is to build a vision for the playground and water play area.

November 2022

PFR Community Disability Steering Committee Meeting

On November 24, project staff presented a project overview to members of the Parks, Forestry, and Recreation (PFR) Community Disability Steering Committee and discussed the committee’s ideas to ensure the space is fun and welcoming for people who have a wide range of abilities.

Key Feedback:

  • Consider the needs of caregivers with a range of abilities in the designs.
  • Include an adult and child change table that can rise and lower in nearby washrooms.
  • Ensure the space is accessible for people arriving by TTC, Wheel-Trans, vehicle, walking or rolling.
  • Provide as wide of a variety of play features as possible. Do not design for only one or two
  • Ensure that ramps on play features do not lead to dead ends (slides can be dead ends for some playground users).
  • If rubber is cost prohibitive for the full playground surface, ensure it is used in areas to get to and from each feature from main pathways.
  • Provide plentiful and accessible seating for playground users and caregivers and ensure there are no busy paths or trails between the play spaces and seating areas, to avoid children colliding.
  • Consider having a water chair/beach wheelchair available on-site.

Inclusive and Accessible Play Online Survey

From November 3 to November 17, an online survey collected feedback from members of the accessibility community on what types of accessible playground and water play features to prioritize in this space, along with other suggestions for how to best remove barriers and build a welcoming space for playground users of all abilities (beyond AODA accessibility standards). The survey was promoted through the Parks, Forestry, and Recreation Community Disability Steering Committee network. Nine people responded to the survey.

Key Feedback:

  • Playground preferences:
    • The five most popular play features include a wheelchair-accessible swing, large play structure with ramps, accessible swing with harness, accessible zip-line (with accessible harness seat) and tactile/feeling sensory panels.
    • Half of the respondents had no preference between rubber or engineered wood fibre playground surfacing. About a third preferred rubber because they felt it improved maneuverability, prevented slips, improved ease of use, and is a softer material.
    • Other suggestions around accessibility included: bright contrasting colours or tactile strips on walkways and edge of ramps for kids with low vision; ramps into the playground; higher/lower spaces to get onto equipment for wheelchair users; and a sign encouraging sharing space, to ensure kids with disabilities have access to spaces/able-bodied children do not monopolize the space.
  • Water play preferences:
    • The four most popular water play features include a splash pad, interactive features (buttons to push or motion-activated), water jets that shoot up from the ground, and water misters.
  • Universal washroom suggestions:
    • The universally accessible washroom near the new playground and water play area will meet all AODA accessibility standards. Specific suggestions from respondents include child and adult change tables that raise and lower to prevent the need for caregivers to lift individuals; adapted toilets of multiple sizes with backs that help users sit upright; stalls large enough for mobility devices.
  • Additional suggestions include accessible pathways around and through the play area, and sidewalks leading into the park and play area that are accessible.

October 2022

TASSC Friends and Partners Sharing Circle

On October 20, a member of the project team attended a Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) Friends and Partners Sharing Circle. A brief overview of the project was shared. TASSC members were invited to let the project team know if they would like to be involved or engaged through the design process for the playground and water play area, to help shape the playground and water play features and ensure the space is welcoming for Indigenous communities.

August 2022

Online Survey

From August 9 to August 28, feedback on the playground use and preferences for the water play features was collected in an online survey. The survey received a total of 655 responses, with 348 responses reaching the end of the survey. The survey was designed for children, youth, adult and group respondents.

Key Feedback:

  • Include accessible pathways and surfaces and amenities for people with disabilities and/or mobility devices.
  • Include climbing features and adventure structures or experiences.
  • For the water play area, falling water features and sprinklers were highly ranked and requests for accompanying seating and shade areas were also requested.
  • Safety and comfort was a key concern amongst survey respondents, with requests for improved lighting and sightlines.
  • Children and youth expressed an interest in swings, slides and adventure-based equipment including zip lines and/or climbing structures.
  • Artistic and creative play was identified by children and youth as an opportunity, pointing to features like a stage or musical elements.
  • Children and youth identified a desire for some natural elements including flowing water and/or ponds, trees and gardens.
  • A need for spaces to relax and gather was identified across all age groups, with a desire for shade, grassy areas, additional seating and washroom facilities.

Children and Youth Workshops

Workshops were held in the gymnasium at  Olympium Community Centre on August 9 and  Hollycrest School on August 16 during summer camps. The workshops involved a creative experience mapping activity designed as a tool for campers to share ideas about their favourite kinds of play, the activities they enjoy, and play area features they like. Across the two workshops, 120 children aged three to 12 were engaged. In addition, 20 camp counsellors aged 16 to 24 participated in the facilitation and provided input.

Key Feedback from Campers (ages three to 12):

  • The four most popular play equipment suggestions included swings (a range of sizes), slides (a range of sizes and types), monkey bars, and zip lines.
  • The four most popular activity suggestions included climbing, hide and seek, wheeled activities (e.g. scooters, bikes, skateboards etc.), and socializing.
  • Children shared ideas for artistic play features (e.g. a stage, musical elements, or an arts and crafts zone) as well as natural play features (e.g. natural water features like rivers and frog ponds, trees to play/hang out on and under, flowers and gardens).
  • The four most popular water play features included falling water features (e.g. water buckets, mushrooms, and fountains), sprinklers/sprays, waterslides, and a lazy river.
  • Spaces to “hang out” are important. Ideas for these spaces included spaces with shade, places to sit (e.g. rocks, grass, benches, and picnic tables), interesting views, and access to washrooms and drinking fountains. Places to eat or purchase food was also a popular idea (e.g. snack station, BBQs, café, and hot dog stand).

Key Feedback from Camp Councillors (teens/young adults):

  • Include spaces to “hang out”. Ideas for these spaces included WIFI, water features, semi-private spaces, tables and seating, games and activities (e.g. fitness equipment, board games, programming like movie nights), and clean and safe spaces.
  • Include natural spaces with lots of greenery, trees, trails, and programs in nature (e.g. hiking and yoga in the park).
  • Councillors are interested in similar playground and water play equipment as the campers.

This phase of the community engagement process will start in winter 2023. In this phase,  draft design options for the playground and water play area will be presented to the community for feedback and revision.

This phase of the community engagement process will start in spring 2023. In this phase, a final proposed design for the playground and water play area will be presented to the community for a final round of feedback and revision.