I’m super-d-duper excited that since I first started this weird website back in 2014 there has been a noticeable increase in both awareness and the construction of accessible and inclusive playgrounds in and around the Montreal area. Accessible surfacing, sensory panels, musical instruments, adaptive swings and more are no longer as obscure as a unicorn. In the past couple of years, impressive and fun playgrounds have been built with ALL users in mind.
As of this spring, Montreal now boasts another inclusive play space — the island’s biggest to date. Julie-Hamelin Park in the Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension borough recently opened to the public, marking another important step towards barrier-free playgrounds being available across all parts of the city.
It’s this big (stretches arms reallllllly wide).
At 16,465 square-feet, the playground at Julie-Hamelin Park is massive, and is designed as an intergenerational space for people of all ages and abilities. Built in conjunction with the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Foundation the playground is one of many that the foundation is building across the country.
Dotted with interactive and carefully-designed equipment, those with physical, cognitive and sensory disabilities are stimulated and challenged at their own level. Play opportunities abound, with the large space ensuring that kids can play side-by-side — and that no one is left to just watch while others play.
Visitors can find multiple areas with picnic tables and benches, an accessible and self-cleaning restroom building, a small splash pad for those hot summer days, a drinking fountain, and an amazingly colourful basketball court complete with shorter nets for the younger kids.
SOME OF THE ACCESSIBLE EQUIPMENT
The variety of equipment from playground manufacturer Landscape Structures creates a recreational area that’s packed with innovative structures:
- Poured-in-place rubber surfacing rather than sand or wood mulch, allowing for a barrier-free transition from pathways to play area and making the area usable for kids and adults with mobility or other assistive devices.
- The We-Saw: An updated version of a seesaw whose molded seats are designed for ease of use.
- A We-Go-Round: A merry-go-round designed so that children using mobility devices can wheel right in and spin with their friends.
- Double-wide ramps so that everyone can play together and mobility devices or wheelchairs can pass each other. No traffic jams here!
- Slides with adjacent ground-level transfer stations to ease moving from slide to wheelchair.
- Interactive panels on the elevated platforms and at ground level.
- Sensory panels for those with visual limitations or hearing differences.
- Musical instruments where children can express their creativity.
- A variety of swings including a tandem Friendship Swing, baby and adult swings, and harnessed adaptive swings.
- A toddler area with play structures sized just for them.
Things to note:
- A parking lot is located directly beside the playground and there is also street parking.
- The playground is not fenced.
- There is approximately ZERO shade over any of the playground so either come super early in the morning, be prepared to run through the splash pad often, or come on a cloudy day.
- The splash pad is on from 9am-9pm. Press the sensor to turn on the water sequence.