Revamped Grimston Park playground & wading pool open for play

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.

New playground at Grimston Park
New playground at Grimston Park

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 tires from the original playground have been integrated into the new design

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.

A play area geared to younger kids includes a giant sandbox, bouncers, swings and diggers.
A play area geared to younger kids includes a giant sandbox, bouncers, swings and diggers.

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.

Briana Tomkinson

Briana Tomkinson is a Montreal-based writer and original founder of Tenth to the Fraser. She really likes to write letters by hand.

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11 comments

  1. I took my 21-month-old there today and it was great! I am very impressed with how toddler-friendly it is. We’ll definitely be back.

  2. The new play area is fantastic, but I am a little annoyed that the wading pool is only open from 1 to 4 pm. Notwithstanding the fact that we are encouraged to keep our kids out of the sun at the hottest part of the day, from 2 to 4 pm, for those of us with kids who nap in the afternoons, the timing is practically useless. The lifeguard says it is because the pool takes about an hour and a half to fill, a full half hour longer than last year. To open at 10, she would have to be there at 8:15. Quite a few of the parents there this morning felt that 1 pm was too late of an opening time.

    Oh, and the pool will probably be closed for the next three days as they have to finish painting it.

  3. "As the organizer" should read – one of the organizers. Its a small town be care full.

  4. Hi Lisa,

    Please don’t read too much into the “the!” I have a wonderful team of folks on the organizing committee for the festival, and I certainly don’t mean to suggest that I am doing it all alone! That said, I am the organizer of the festival. I am the person who initiated the thing, and the one who is responsible for seeing it through! Next year, it may not be me. We’ll see!

  5. Meh, the pool has rotten hours, the stream doesn’t really ‘stream’ water. Hopefully the rocks between the sand and pool will be replaced…I would like to let my toddler toddle from sand to water in her bare feet. Just wondering how they can avoid getting all the sand in the pool. What else…that’s it. Either way, it is still a great step up from last years.

    I’m still a hume park mom myself…it’s so easy to keep an eye on the kids, especially if you have more than one to keep an eye on. We’re headed to Blue Mountain today…kids get sick of the same ol’ same ol’..

    We’ll see you on the 17th…thanks to ALL the organizers. lol. I have a great amount of respect when a mom makes such an effort to bring together the community! All I can think is that you must have a much better sleeper than I do. These kids are exhausting me…I can barely organize my breakfast, let alone a festival! : )

  6. Hi Tammy,

    I am so with you on the not sleeping! I can’t believe that something so basic could be the cause of so much grief!

    I’ve never taken the kids down to Hume Park, but now that Jen Arbo’s moving over that way, I think we’ll be spending more time there soon! Glad to hear it’s a good park for watching multiple kids. It’s no easy trick when they run off in separate directions!

    I’ve heard a few complaints about the pool’s hours. Hopefully Parks & Rec will hear them too – maybe they can reconsider when they open next year.

  7. My kids are big fans of Grimston’s wading pool but we’ve yet to go this year. Looking forward to checking it out.

    Moms of toddlers may want to venture over to Queensborough and try out Megan’s Place playground in Ryall Park. It is very toddler friendly. When my kids were younger, they loved it there. Hume is great too.

  8. Not impressed at all, grimston park will never be the same without the long slide that went half way down to the lacrosse box, the city screwed this one up, now i only have memories or what used to be an amazing park

    1. Hi Gary! I don't know how long ago they took down the slide that went down to the lacrosse box. I've lived in the neighbourhood for almost three years now and that slide was gone well before I moved in. Compared to what remained of the park (a very rickety wooden structure with one slide, a log bridge and a fireman's pole), the new park is infinitely better. I have heard from friends who grew up in the West End, however, that the Grimston Park of their childhood had a very fun playground with many daring activities that were removed one by one before I ever knew the park.

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