St. James Park is one of Toronto’s oldest and most beloved downtown public spaces, situated immediately adjacent to the historic Cathedral Church of St. James, just north of the St. Lawrence Market. Working with PMA Landscape Architects, we took inspiration from the site’s rich history of the adjacent Market Lane and district to design a themed playground.
The play sculptures and structures integrate nature and natural materials to represent the physical space of a historic market as well as playful food elements available for sale. Food market stalls and over-sized stacked wooden fruit and vegetable crates are the landmark playground features. Surrounding them, children will find a spilled ice cream cone with three rubber mounds of chocolate, pistachio and vanilla ice cream. The mounds are spongey so adults and children can bounce and jump from one to the other! Not wanting to forget the vegetables, children can climb up the asparagus sprouts or balance across the carrot balance beams.
Designed to inspire children’s creativity and offer challenging and interesting play opportunities, the playground adds character and fun while attracting local children.
Read Playgroundology’s entertaining blog post about a visit to St. James park while it was under construction here: St. James Park Where Kids Play with their Food. If you are going for a visit, be sure to check out Sackville Park playground, located just down the road!
In 2021, St. James Park’s revitalization was awarded a Toronto Urban Design Award of Merit for Small Open Spaces. The jury commented:
“A diversity of experience creates the sense of different outdoor rooms in the park, so that despite the small size there are many options for people to interact and use the spaces. Multiple generations are invited to enjoy the amenities in different ways.”