Another great post from Alex Smith of PlayGround Chronicles – thanks Alex! The weather is certainly being kind to us at the moment, so get out there and get playing! 🙂
Ocean View Elementary School Playground (map) is perched close to the top of a hill that slopes gently from the Eastern Passage shore. It's a sea lover's view with wild, wooly combers dancing in the harbour entrance. On a bright, clear day visibility extends for miles and miles to the harbour's western headland and beyond. In the foreground to the south and west foaming licks of ocean break around Devils, McNabs and Lawlor Islands.
This playground has two wings (photos). Closest to the road and sheltered from northerly winds but wide open to prevailing westerlies is the sliding, climbing, monkey barring equipment ensemble. Just north of this on a patch of open flat unsheltered from winds are swings, raised balancing beams and yes more of those hard to find – except apparently in Eastern Passage – teeter-totters.
This is the playground where Noah loves to drop from the sky. He releases his grip on the blue triangles and plummets nearly one metre to the ground in the company of his shining smile. This is a do once and repeat multiple times thrill as he hurtles to earth at the speed of gravity. There are also red triangles that are positioned another 15 centimetres higher. They'll wait for another day, perhaps even a new playground season.
For the older school age kids there is plenty of opportunity here for climbing, swinging like a monkey and skinning the cat on a variety of bars. We watched spellbound one evening as a couple of elementary school girls went through an impressive, impromptu gymnastic routine. There was whirling, twirling and upside downing. Fortunately there was no falling.
There is climbing potential for the pre-schoolers too. It requires close supervision as well as a steadying hand here and there. Big smiles and a sense of accomplishment are the result when the wee ones manoeuvre successfully through a new challenge. There are a number of choices, all leading to the slides, that include a curving climbing wall with hand and foot hold, an alternating sideways 'u' ladder and a stationary spring climber.
Once the climbing is done the kids can whoosh down a double slide or choose the corkscrew and slalom around the corner before touching ground. Note one of the final approaches to the slide ensemble may be tough for some pre-schoolers. There's an oval cut out foot hold in a vertical plane to use as a step, push off. It took Nellie-Rose a few tries over two or three outings before she was able to insert her foot, push and pull herself up onto the platform. Now that she has mastered it, there is no stopping her.
There is equipment for the smaller children too. The banana slide is accessed by four wide steps with handrails on both sides. Next to it is a red curving tunnel – a wonderful echo chamber for exuberant hooting and hollering. It is designed with peek-a-boo holes so parents can monitor progress or wiggle fingers to elicit laughs. At one end of the tunnel is a gazebo complete with a counter for playing shop. The pebble infill makes for the perfect pretend money and can also double as merchandise, food, beverages and toys. These pebbles are really quite versatile.
It's swinging and teetering with a view on the north wing. Because there is no shelter it's a little cooler here when the winds blow especially if they're from the north. There are four swings (none for babies) and two teeter-totters. All the equipment here and in the modular area are in good condition.
Ocean View is one of our regulars as it's close to home. There are numerous playgrounds in the area. Tallahassee Sisters II is just over the bank within eyesight and Tallahassee Sisters I is a five minute walk. There are also several playing fields for soccer and baseball. There is also a skate park a couple of minutes walk away on the same street as the playground. Plenty of fun for active bodies. It's a great spot to spend part of a day exploring Eastern Passage. Watch the ships steaming in and let the wind wash your hair.
Lots of parking available on the street and in the school parking lot. Recess and dismissal times are posted here if you're looking for a daytime window.
If you're coming by bus, take the 60 and get off at the intersection of Caldwell and Cow Bay roads. Walk south on Caldwell and turn right just past Number 16 Fire Station. Down the hill on the right is the playground, less than five minutes from the bus stop.
There are a number of attractions here in Eastern Passage and the surrounding area. Just down the hill is the Community Garden with its chess board. This is the venue for the Annual Teddy Bear's Picnic held during the Eastern Passage Cow Bay Summer Carnival. Down the road toward the city, is MacCormack's Beach and Fisherman's Cove. About five kilometres in the opposite direction is Rainbow Haven Beach.