Category Archives: Parks

Our Favourite Ottawa Parks

At Kids in the Capital we love parks. And since the weather is finally leaning a bit more to the spring and summer variety, what better way to celebrate than to share some great Ottawa parks with you. We asked our readers what parks are the bomb and here are a few of their favourites:

Brewer Park

Located near Carleton University, between Bronson and Sunnyside, on Brewer Way, Brewar Park is a great place for kids of all ages. It has plenty of open spaces and playing fields and is near a bike path for bigger adventures. There is a semi-fenced-in area with two play structures suitable for the littlest members of the family along with a play structure on rubber mats for preschool children, a multi-level splash pad (there is a large ramp and bridge to access the upper level and water slide), a larger play structure for elementary aged children, a sandy area with wheel-chair accessible sand tables, activity walls, and swings.

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There are also several shady spots to set-up blankets for snack time and picnics as well as one large covered picnic area in the middle of the park. The only disadvantage is that the play structure for older children is separated from the rest of the park (by the splash pad), which makes it hard to supervisor children of different ages. The best part is that there are (clean) washrooms located next to the toddler area.

Andrew Haydon Park

Located on Carling Avenue at Holly Acres Road, the best part of Andrew Haydon Park is the view since it’s right on the river. There are lots of pathways, boats on the water, and of course the wildlife…but not to worry, nothing wilder than geese and groundhogs.

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The play structure with water features is a big attraction here as well and particularly welcome on a hot day. Andrew Haydon park has several play structures that have sand brought in straight from the beach and most kids love spending time in the sand boxes and horsing around on the swinging structures designed for child use. A large and intricate play structure is also located on site to keep children a little older busy and active. Don’t forget to bring a towel and change of clothes for the kids, and waterproof foot attire for yourself. There’s also a number of charcoal BBQs here too so spend the day and bring a picnic.

The Splash Pad Water Park in Barrhaven

On Longfields Drive in Barrhaven, this waterpark here is a perfect way to keep cool on those hot summer days. It’s also a great spot for those who want water and those who don’t because there are two sand parks (one for toddlers and one for older kids) right beside the splash pad.

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The water has to be turned on by sensors but that makes it fun to see who is going to turn it on. There is a cantina and washrooms on site but many say that they are not always open. There is some area for shade and lots of space for a picnic. Your kids will love it!

Millenium Park

On Trim road in Orleans, just a few minutes south of Innes Road you will see some wonderful play structures as you drive up. There are soccer fields and swings, but also two amazing play structures that will impress kids (and parents) of all ages. The first one you see is a pirate ship; it is the smaller of two but lots of fun for all ages. Kids will love to slide, climb and imagine they are the captain of the ship.

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The second structure is a replica of the Parliament Buildings and has three levels to play in – an impressive two storey slide from the top brings them down to the front of the structure. The kids (and parents) can climb and slide to their heart’s content. Parents can grab a blanket or a lawn chair to keep an eye on them from below but there is not a lot of shade at the park so keep that in mind if you are there during the hot hazy days of summer.

St. Luke’s on Elgin

Situated on Elgin Street at Frank Street, the layout St. Luke’s is great for both kids and parents. The park has a wading pool in the centre. It’s the perfect depth for littles ones to play in the water and for parents to wade without getting too wet.

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There are two play structures there, a smaller one for kids aged 2 to 5, and a larger one for 5 to 12-year olds. There are also three swing sets, for babies, toddlers, and big kids. A large grassy area with picnic tables offers a place to change babies and have a snack. For the older kids there is a basketball court, field house, and more grassy areas between the field house and the tennis courts to play. There are also bathrooms in the field house which is an added bonus.

Walter Baker Park

Walter Baker Park has two play structures – one for toddlers and one for older children and a great splash pad to play in on hot days. There’s a big grassy hill that attracts children to repeatedly run up and down acting as a great nap inducer is an added bonus.

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There are plenty of benches for caregivers to sit nearby and supervise, lots of grass for the kids to run around on and some mature shade trees creating perfect snack time spots. And if that isn’t enough, there is ample free parking and a nearby bathroom in the Kanata Recreation Complex. Of course the one reason many keep returning to Walter Baker Park is that all the kids love cooling off in the splash pad area.

While these parks are awesome and a great way to spend a lazy afternoon, we also want to know of your hidden gem parks around town. Where do you love to go on a beautiful afternoon with kids?

Flashback: Brewer Park

We love hearing about the great parks around the city. What’s yours?

by Sara

Despite several nearby parks, we regularly make the trek from Orleans to Old Ottawa South to take the boys to Brewer Park.  Its located across the street from Carleton University, tucked away behind the City of Ottawa Brewer Complex.  There is a large parking lot off Bronson Avenue but you can also park on the many shaded side streets off Sunnyside Avenue, which are right beside the park.  If you use the parking lot, you need to walk across two soccer fields to access the park.

Brewer Park is divided into five areas:

1) A  fenced-in (but not impervious to adventurous toddlers) area with two play structures suitable for the littlest members of the family.  The fire truck play structure is a big hit with my two boys.

2) A play structure on rubber mats for preschool children

3) A multi-level splash pad (there is a large ramp and bridge to access the upper level and water slide)

4) A larger play structure for elementary aged children

5) A sandy area with wheel-chair accessible sand tables, activity walls, and swings.

There are also several shady spots to set-up blankets for snack time and picnics as well as one large covered picnic area in the middle of the park.  The only disadvantage is that the play structure for older children is separated from the rest of the park (by the splash pad), which makes it hard to supervisor children of different ages.  One last important detail: there are (clean) washroom’s located next to the toddler area.

What I love most about Brewer Park is the variety.  Both my boys have very different interests and Brewer is one of the few parks where they are easily occupied, entertained, and safe.  Their play structures have fewer death-defying drops and are generally safer for small kids, which is one of the drawbacks of our neighbourhood parks.  My 2-year-old can explore and climb without me hovering right behind him.  While my four-year old love splash pads, my 2-year old hates spraying water; however, at Brewer there is a splash pad and water slide, which means they’re both happy to play in the water.

Unlike a lot of parks in new suburban areas, the play structures at Brewer are protected by shade (depending on the time of day), which makes it a great place to visit on really hot and humid days.  It’s often busy because camps and daycare’s frequent the park so be prepared to keep a close eye on your kids, as its easy to lose them in the melee of swim-suited bodies running around.

Sara is a photographer and mom to a 6-year-old ” firefighter”, 4-year-old “monkey”, and a third boy, “bug”, due in May.  You can also find her at her blog, My Points of View.

Flashback: My Park: St. Luke’s Park

Over the last two years we’ve had some great park reviews.  If you would like to submit a post about your park we’d love to share it with our readers!  Email us at kidsinthecapital(at)gmail(dot)com

by Zach

St. Luke’s Park might not look like much if you’re walking by on Elgin Street, but it certainly is worth checking out.

For kids and parents, the layout of the main area is nearly perfect. The park has a wading pool in the centre, which can be its own play area for hockey / soccer / random ball games for ten months of the year (though a concrete, uneven one, so toddlers might need some watching), and a well-supervised swimming area while the public schools are out. For some reason, swimming season ends near the middle of August, so try to get the most out of July that you can. As of summer 2009 many of the lifeguards there have been working for several seasons, are well-known among the parents, and are excellent with the kids.

There are some trees providing shade, but sight lines are still great within the main area. There are two play structures on the south side, a smaller one for kids aged 2 to 5, and a larger one for 5 to 12-year olds. On a busy day, try to count the two- and three-year olds flinging themselves down the twisty slide on the larger structure.

Both play structures are exceptionally well-designed, with plenty of climbing surfaces and slides. They’re easily my favourite play structures of all the parks we visit.

The surface on the south side of the park is sand, which allows for castles, soft falls, and moats made with swimming pool water, for the really motivated.

The west side has three swing sets, for babies, mediums, and big kids. The small and medium swings are old school, facing in just one direction, and set low to the ground to maximize the swinging arc and parental back pain. The swings have great shade from nearby trees, and the St. Louis Bar and Grill right behind will torture you with smells of fried food. The Second Cup is right next door for quick caffeine hits.


The north side of the park is a large grassy area, with a picnic table. The city quietly and quickly hacked down a beautiful old growth tree in the summer of 2009, so the area isn’t nearly as shaded as it once was. We’ll give the city the benefit of the doubt as to why it had to go, but that tree is sorely missed, and its scrawny replacement is probably something your great-grandkids will enjoy. The grass tends to be under-used, except when the pool is open, when finding a free patch of grass for your beach towel becomes challenging.

The east half of the park is taken up with a basketball court, field house, and then another grassy space between the field house and some tennis courts. Kids who aren’t paying attention, or who want to use the field house bathroom (open when the swimming pool is open), might dart into the middle of a game, so keep an eye out.

The grassy area in the east half of the park is a blessing and a curse. It’s an old bowling green, and it’s nice to have a dog-free, relatively level play area. You can see Frisbee, soccer, football, yoga, and boot camp fitness classes being held there, but bigger kids can also dart behind the field house and out of a parent’s view with remarkable speed.

Overall, St. Luke’s is an excellent park, and the number of parents and kids there on a nice day (and even less nice days) speaks to its well-deserved popularity.

Zach is the dad of a 3.5 year daughter “the girl” and eighteen month old son “the boy”. Zach doesn’t have his own blog but he is blogged about at Capital Mom.

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