The new playground at Grimston Park is now open, and it is AWESOME. The park’s designers have done an incredible job creating a welcoming and imaginative space to play for kids of all ages. While the temporary fence is still partially up, and there’s still some work to do (laying sod, painting the wading pool), the playground and pool are now open for play.
As the organizer of a new summer festival in the park (Summerfest, on Saturday, July 17), I am relieved to say that the new playground is far better than the old!
The wading pool feels more integrated with the overall playground. Instead of two separate play areas, elements of water play continue through the park. When the wading pool drains at 4pm, the water goes sluicing through an artificial “river” channel. The channel is dammed in two places with gates for the kids to open and close.
The new playground is safer, but it does not sacrifice fun. For kids who want to push the limits of their bodies, there are two climbing walls, and lots of ways to climb up high and jump back down. It’s simply much harder for smaller kids to get really hurt during ordinary play. As a mom of a three-year-old and eight-month-old, I am very thankful for this.
I always felt that the old park wasn’t very good for small kids, because the adventure playground was so high off the ground. The new adventure playground is a series of stepped platforms – far safer than the old one megaladder. Inside the playground are hidden a number of sweet little features to trigger imaginative play: quiet nooks, windows, a steering wheel, little seats, and more. The new structure also reveals a better view than I remember from the old park. The equipment is placed in such a way to draw your eye in a kind of view corridor, whereas the old playground kind of blocked the ground-level view.
Having two to care for, I’m also pleased that there are several good spots to play closely with the younger one while being able to keep an eye on the eldest. For instance, the toddler area is also a giant sandbox where kids of any age can play. Located next to the wading pool, and bordered with a “boardwalk” it feels very beach-y. There are two diggers, a couple of bouncers and a set of baby swings in the sand, and lots of room for free play to dig, roll, scoop and dump.
I love living in New Westminster’s West End. It’s such a neighbourly place. That said, this part of New West lacks amenities. In a city of only six square miles, it doesn’t take long to access other neighbourhoods’ parks, pools, community centres and so on, but it’s important to provide spaces where neighbours naturally meet and grow closer. In the West End Grimston Park is that place. It’s nice to have it back.