Jessie-Maxwell-Smith Park

This park had been on my radar all summer, ever since I read THIS ARTICLE about the group build effort between ForestersTM, the City of Montreal, the Tyndale St-Georges Community Centre and non-profit KaBOOM!. But each time we drove by there were too many kids to play and take pictures. So finally, in December (!) we stopped in on a dreary but warm evening. (Sorry for the pictures, it was getting dark).
The park is named after educator and community volunteer Jessie Maxwell-Smith who passed away in 2000. One thing I always like to see is the story of the person it’s named after right on the park sign, as it was here. You’ll find a little biography on the name signs at some parks in Montreal, TMR, and Saint-Laurent, but not many other cities.

The playground opened in 2012…but then THIS happened. A TWO year delay while the city redid the playground (after telling residents they had to build their own??), with the park reopening in 2014.

What really intrigued me in reading about the park was that children from the community had been invited to submit drawings and designs for the playground, which were then incorporated into the final design.  
A playground designed by kids FOR kids? Brilliant. 

We found some parking on the street, walked up the new paths and the little one darted for the “diggy”. Super cute and easy to access, this bulldozer by PlayExplorers has gadgets to crank, dials to turn, a teensy little ladder that should be easy for the smallest to climb, and space inside to sit or drive. We tried out the mini slide and I climbed up the twirly metal ladder. 
I was NOT allowed to touch any of the dials, so I assume they are very important to the operation of the diggy.
*look of horror as I reached out with my hand*
“Don’t touch!!!! You, you can sit dere.”

All of the equipment is on wood chips and there are three little areas: The toddler bulldozer, the swings (which were taken down for winter but there will be two big-kid and two baby swings), and the large climber. 
It’s all fenced but with large openings to the street including super busy Saint-Antoine. 

The large climber has easy-for-little-people stairs, fun monkey bars, two tandem slides, little steps up to the dragon twirly slide, a rock wall that’s a little tricky as it’s not attached to the structure, and a fireman pole. Challenging for big kids who want to try out all the different ways to climb, and easy enough for my three-year old who was impressed at the dragon head. 

My only complaint (besides the lack of gates), is that while we were there, two different groups of men came to sit at the picnic table and smoke weed. Now I don’t usually care where you do that, but really, not at a children’s park when it’s wafting over to them. Having some sense of self-preservation, and being on our own, I didn’t say anything but ended up leaving instead.

Video from the original build in 2012. Video credit to Éric Cimon.

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