I saw the proposal for this park last fall, talked about it (and playground accessibility) on CBC back before they started building it, and all winter I was like “I hope Verdun does it right.”
And they did.
This is the accessible and inclusive park I’ve been hoping to see in Montreal. While there are a few around town, there just isn’t all that much to DO at them. Which kind of negates the inclusive aspect.
After checking with a friend who lives nearby, we zipped over to check it all out as soon as the fences were down. With the park to ourselves for a few minutes, I wandered around taking pictures and then we played, played, played.
This is a large space, with ample room between all the different products, and just about everything is accessible to kids (or adults) who may be using a wheelchair, walker, or who may have mobility issues.
The majority of the products are on a cheery poured-in-place rubber base, while the small splash pad is on painted concrete, and a couple of swings and the awesome fossil table are on sand. And while there’s a sand shovel here, it’s completely wheelchair-accessible and a chair can be rolled right up to it. Or use it standing!
The little one took off went racing up the wide wheelchair ramp of the impressive Kompan play structure. There’s quite a ramp system here with activities along the way (tactile walls, binoculars, and wheels to spin.) Climb up the steps and you’ll have an impressive view of the whole playground and can zip down the helluva high slide. There’s also a cute “hammock”, rubber pods to jump across or sit on, and ropes to scale.
Just steps away is the cute splash pad, which is a holdover from the old park. There are critter water cannons and a misty…crab(?) to run (or wheel) through.
My toddler LOVES play houses and this bright green Play Tower is adorable with its ADA staircase, wall activities, fun slide, and ground-level panels including the great Music Pipes, steering wheel and gear shifters. Nearby is the Talk & Tumble wall of activities with things to turn, slide, crawl through, or rest on.
On the rubber base you’ll also find the Expression parent-child swing, an adult swing, an adaptive swing, as well as a couple of spinners. Need a break? There are relaxing lounge chairs, benches, and an accessible picnic table right near all the action.
“MomeeeeEEE! Come and race!”
Behind the playground and within the fencing is a nice grassed area and they’ve added the CUTEST racetrack, complete with painted stop signs and colourful buildings along the route. The park sign says no bikes, but I’m not sure if it applies to this section. This is a cool spot for tricycle races or for new bike riders to cruise safely. Use your own judgement…
And then…there’s a whole little sand area with the accessible sand shovel, a baby and adult swing, and the COOLEST elevated fossil table. We visited right after a monster rain storm, so I had to spend a few minutes trying to empty it of water (while repeatedly scraping my hand on the concrete), but it was worth it. There was lots of chirping and exclaiming over the teeth, and shells, and toddler-eating dinos. Bring your shovels and brushes!
So, ya. It’s great. Lots to do for kids of all abilities. Music, things to touch, easy to roll or walk around. My able-bodied 4-year old LOVED everything, and kids of all abilities will have something to play with. Interesting and new products, and great attention to detail. Well done Verdun! I can’t wait to see more of these accessible and inclusive playgrounds around town.
Things to note:
-Splash pad hours can be found HERE. They’re on for a really, really short time on the weekends. Which makes no sense.
-The playground is almost completely fenced, but has a rather large opening near the swings.
-There is an accessible porta-potty right near the playground, but you need to cross the grass to get to it.
-Information for the tennis courts can be found HERE.
-Street parking is available on both sides of the playground, though it would be great to have some accessible parking spaces right near the playground entrance (with a curb cutout.)
-Because it’s so open, there is no shade over the actual playground, but there are mature trees around the perimeter.
If you’re interested, you can hear my full CBC radio interview HERE. It’s the last link at the bottom.
|Toddler park (2-5)||✓|
|Completely fenced park|
|Separate fenced toddler park|
|Big kid park (5-12)||✓|
|Big kid swings||✓|
|Reduced mobility swings||✓|