Edmonton is a city with many secrets. Even after living here for more than 20 years, I will turn a corner and discover something new. Cloverdale Playground is one such place.
Anyone who has been to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival is no doubt scoffing at this, as the park is set just beyond the gates to Gallagher Park, home to that popular event. It’s also within walking distance of the Muttart Conservatory, which I’ve visited a number of times. It wasn’t until a road closure forced me to take a detour to get to the Muttart parking lot that I discovered this hidden gem of a playground.
The Cloverdale Playground has 3 distinct areas – big kid zone, toddler playground and splash park – as well as a basketball net, swings, and the entire field of Gallagher Park that makes for a pretty terrific game of tag! The big kid setup is great, albeit typical – bridge, tunnel, balance beam, plenty of things to climb and a couple of slides (curly AND bumpy, as my kids pointed out to me!). My 3.5 year old twins are currently desperate to copy everything they see the “big kids” do, so our most recent visit to the park was concentrated on climbing on top of the tunnel, up the slide and zipping down the fireman pole!
Special note should be taken of the toddler park – it’s easily one of the best we’ve encountered in the Edmonton area. On the long ramp up you’ll pass a theatre stage, piano bars, alphabet game and map of Canada complete with provinces, territories and their capitals listed on the back side.
The main structure is a multi-level hexagon, with various ways to climb up or down jutting off each side. You can drop down to the sand from the inside of the shape too – play the drums, visit the market, or sneak out via the tunnel. My kids like to pretend it’s a dungeon. Fellow visitors hear a lot of “Help, help, I’m trapped!” when we’re at the playground.
The splash park is colourful and cute, with giant green shamrocks painted onto the squishy rubber flooring. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm. Water sprays up from patterned discs on the ground, down from the giant green and red figures, and out from yellow loops and two little pirate characters.
The park has been quiet on the days we’ve visited, but it’s undoubtedly a gathering place for the people in the area. During one of our visits neighbours were working hard on installing a new roof on the community hall. Cloverdale calls itself the Village in the Park and prides itself on being one of the “friendliest neighbourhoods in the city”.
There’s been a porta potty set up on the east end of the park during our visits. I don’t know if it remains there year round, but I do know that Cloverdale Playground would make an excellent four season park. If you visit in the winter, be sure to bring a sled for some epic toboggan fun on Gallagher hill!
Where: 9411 – 97 Avenue, Edmonton