I admit it – I’m a sucker for nature parks. Don’t get me wrong, I love the bright colours and exciting creativity that’s been implemented into today’s playground structures – but I also love the playgrounds made of rocks, stumps, raw wood and rope – and that’s exactly what you’ll find at the newly refurbished Dermott District Park.
Dermott District Park was formerly known as Bonnie Doon Campus Park. It’s a stone’s throw from Bonnie Doon Centre, and also supports facilities including Vimy Ridge Academy, Idylwylde School, Bonnie Doon Leisure Centre and the Bonnie Doon Tennis Courts.
I’ve driven by the site probably dozens of times in the past few weeks and the beautiful simplicity of the playground didn’t even catch my eye. Truth be told, the current state of the surrounding roads mean a driver’s focus must be exclusively on the task at hand – the Bonnie Doon area is a jumble of restructured roadways, LRT construction and more. It wasn’t until I was a passenger and had the chance for my eyes to wander that I noticed this new gem in our city.
The gorgeous raw wood swing set was the first part of the playground to capture our attention – but it wasn’t long before we moved on to climbing ropes stretched between a number of rock structures built for climbing on and hiding under. While those rocks are clearly man-made, the playground design does mix in a number of real rocks.
We also love the raw wood balance beams, hopping posts and climbing structures. To fit the theme, the majority of the “man-made” park accessories like boulders, stepping stones, and ropes are kept to muted colours.
The playground “equipment” is spread out well throughout this 7.6 hectare park. It feels like a bit of an adventure to visit each new area. My kids loved checking out the adult exercise park (despite the signs that declare the equipment specifically for adult use.)
Our favourite area was a patch of land set up with a couple dozen tree stumps of varying heights. My daughters played here the most and it took advance level negotiation skills to convince them to move on.
In bright contrast to the natural colours of the equipment is the newly installed piece of public art. “Spring is Sprung, the Grass is Riz, (I Wonder Where the Birdie is?)” is a stunning sculpture of concrete brought to life with ceramic, porcelain and glass tile in every colour of the rainbow. Just beyond it sits a huge felled tree that’s sure to be as appealing to kids as the tree stump garden.
Dermott District Park:
Where: 90 Avenue & 83 Street, Edmonton