Mount Royal (Salamander) Park

150 Canada Playground Badge (1)

Did you know there’s a kids’ playground on Mount Royal? I sure didn’t. But I guess life is a bit different from the days of lounging on the hill with a beer, to now with sippy cups in hand! I wasn’t so much into parks the last time I was on the mountain 😉
While we were there three different people stopped us and asked if there was a playground around so it seems like it isn’t well known. 
This is our summer of the staycation, and Mount Royal was on the list of family outings. After a hearty breakfast we left really, really early and were pretty much the only people on the mountain besides the really eager joggers. 

Our main goal was to find this mysterious Salamander Playground within the large Mount Royal Park as well as showing the kids the lookout and the city below. 
We parked at the first lot on Chemin Remembrance beside The Pavillion and Beaver Lake, looked at the newly redone (and still being landscaped) lake. Said “Hi!” to the fish and ducks (baby ducks!!), and then guesstimated where the playground would be using Google Satellite.
If you walk past The Pavillion, stay close to the lake and you will see it on your right. Or West, whichever makes more sense. 
It’s quite a different design from the plastic and colourful equipment we usually see. Here the design firm of Groupe Cardinal Hardy used muted metal and blues, and the modern style really compliment the surrounding greenspace and trees. Inaugurated on May 25, 2009, the park opened to the public in June of that year. You can read about the inspiration and details behind the 1.7 million dollar project HERE.
Its name Salamander comes from the layout as the different areas make up various parts of the body. The sand shovel and little stools are in one….paw. Hand? In the other…hand is the splash pad (which wasn’t working when we visited. Darn.), a “HANG ON!” spinner, and a “is it a surfboard or it is a teeter totter?” balance board thing. 

Some of the equipment from Conlastic defies explanation, like The Nest egg-shaped spinner you can stand or sit in. We tried to teeter-totter and then did it standing up. What is neat here is because the play things are so different you can let your imagination run and come up with new ways to play, climb, balance, and explore. (You can read about the design behind some of the Conlastic features HERE)
In the large Dish platter you can stand or sit and go around and around. The spherical spider web climber from Berliner’s Cosmo line has a couple of ropes placed in a perfect hammock shape, which StrollerDad loved.
The boys ran around to the slightly broken, ride-on mini teeter-totters, to the cool sand shovel, back to the climbing boulders, and around again. There are baby swings, but curiously, no big swings, and we were pretty disapointed that the water wasn’t working on the small splash pad in the middle. It didn’t look like it had been on in a while. 
Some of the equipment needs replacing or fixing, and the wooden paths are deteriorating. Just a bit of TLC and this park could be great. AND, it needs a bathroom or porta-pottie nearby because the closest one is at The Pavillion. There were a couple of water fountains nearby and TONS of picnic tables in the shade in the surrounding trees. 

An interesting feature of the park is that there are images and texts from the Conventions on the Rights of the Child scattered throughout the playground. You’ll find them on a bench, in the pathways and on little pedestals.

Tu as le droit au repos, aux loisirs, aux jeux, et aux activités récréatives. Tu as aussi le droit de participer aux activités artistiques et culturelles de ton âge. UNICEF

We walked back to Le Pavillon’s full service restaurant to get a snack (ice cream at 9:30am? Yes please!), then got the stroller and walked up, up, up to the Lookout. We pointed out the sights “That’s where mommy used to work, and you can see daddy’s office!”, listened to someone expertly playing the outdoor public piano, detoured them away from the ice cream cart; and then, tired and happy we headed home. 
Total cost for half a day of fun: 9$ for parking and 5$ for a snack. 

You can click on the button below to see the interactive map from Les amis de la montagne.

And click HERE to see the summer and winter activities. During summer 2017 you can rent rowboats and remote controlled sailboats on Beaver Lake; visit Smith House (la maison Smith), and Mount Royal Park’s Visitor Services; enjoy a concert on Musical Sundays; take a photography workshop; participate in a 30-minute family rally; participate in a guided walk; or join the Club des amis (for kids 3-8).
For all the events and activities on the mountain, visit the website of Les amis de la montagne

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