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Playground Rules

Playground Rules

posted July 29, 2004

Rules of Conduct in the Park

Note: since city management centralized control of this park, this description is no longer accurate -- but it worked well until 2012)

Some new little signs have gone up in the playground, saying "adults must be accompanied by a child under twelve." There's a park by-law that prevents teenagers, for example, from taking over a playground as the St.Mary's students sometimes do. (Some teenagers think they're still kids but they are too big and rowdy to play alongside little kids.) So - if you're there with kids, you don't have to grin and bear it if there are some 15-year olds taking up all the swings (or drinking in the rain shelter). Point out the signs to them, and if they have trouble grasping the meaning, speak to the park staff.

Dogs off leash: This is not legal but it's common practice at our park. Most of the dog owners are fine and sensible people, and their irregular, often late-night presence makes the park safer. However, sometimes dogs can be scary and owners can be oblivious. If you find a dog intimidating, and the owner is not interested in your friendly request for them to control their dog, talk to the staff. The staff will be glad to talk to the owner or the owner's friends, and straighten it out. This includes the owners of pit bulls. Some of them are friendlier than they look but everyone can use a hint if they unwittingly make people in the park uncomfortable. If you can't find the staff, leave a message about a dog concern on the park on the park phone: 416 392-0913. Please leave your name and number: anonymous messages are annoying and usually don't get action.

Of course there are no dogs allowed in playground, ever, nor EVER in the wading pool (public health rules require the staff to drain the pool if a dog gets in there).

Wading pool and sand pit: The wading pool is chlorinated regularly and children must wear bathing suits or waterproof diapers. The same goes for the sand pit - no nudity allowed. This shocks Europeans who are used to the easy tolerance of kids' nudity on European beaches, but at our park there are so many different cultural perceptions that every little bum has to be covered.

Note also that the sand pit has real shovels in it because it was intended as a play area for older children: little kids can play there too, but if their caregivers are anxious about their safety, please remove the little ones to the small sand box. At the same time, any children who use shovels carelessly should be asked (by any nearby adult) to be more careful, and if there is still a concern, they should have their shovel removed. Staff will help, but if no staff are there, any adult nearby should get involved. (Happily, the sand pit has just passed its tenth year, with a very impressive safety record, because most kids are unbelievably smart, and they want to play, not to hurt each other. Also lots of adults know how to prevent trouble, and then there are about fourteen invisible guardian angels on the lookout as well - how else to explain that the sandpit works so well?)

posted posted May 1, 2004

Sandpit Rules

The playground is divided into three sections: the little-kid area with swings etc., the wading pool, and the adventure playground area with the sandpit, tipi poles, cooking fire section, water, shovels, play boat, play kitchen, etc. All sections are open to everyone all the time. However, the sand pit is an area set up for older children - if your child is quite small but wants to play there, stay nearby and take them out of harm's way if necessary.

The shovels in the sand pit are paid for with money made at the pizza oven - we can't afford to have them stolen so please stop anyone you see wandering off with a shovel. We leave them out until evening on purpose because that's when more parents have time to come to the playground with their kids. Same with the hose and the portable water tap that feeds the sand pit "rivers."

posted April 9, 2005

What can be done about high school students in the playground at lunchtime?

A friend of the playground sent in a question: what can be done about high school students in the playground at lunchtime? (Associated problems: bad language, too big on equipment, fights, marijuana, sex, just too many and too big, etc.)

The fact is, there is a by-law: playgrounds are reserved for children 12 and under and their caregivers.

Every year in spring we ask the principal at St.Mary's to make an announcement reminding the students of this (they can go anywhere else in this beautiful 14-acre park). One of the St.Mary's teachers told me yesterday the playground rule had been announced on the p.a..

Now for the follow up. Please pass it on to other parents -- the playground is off limits for high school students on their lunch hour. If any students still come to the playground, caregivers can ask them kindly to leave (remember, some of the teenagers haven't figured out yet that they're not little any more -- it's a shock).

If they don't leave, or they're rude, the phone number to call (if the parents/ caregivers have a have cell phone) is 416 393-5528, press "0" and explain the problem. The school has been very good about sending a teacher out to follow up, whenever anyone asks for assistance.

Our staffing budget is very limited at this time of year but the staff will come in at 11.30 weekdays for a couple of weeks and go down to the playground and reinforce the rules. Please e-mail the park at if there's still a problem (or call and leave a message -- 416 392-0913.)

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