Wading pools are out. Splash pads are in. According to Montreal playground blogger Christine Latreille, who shares news about parks and has more than 800 playground reviews on her website, municipalities are increasingly ripping out old-fashioned wading pools and adding colourful new splash pads.
While those of us with fond memories of floating leaf-boats and starting splash-wars in bygone summers may feel a pang of sadness at the loss of the old concrete wading pools, Latreille said parks and recreation departments find splash pads more practical.
“Splash pads can open earlier and stay open later. They use less water, and they don’t need lifeguards,” Latreille said. “Replacing wading pools with splash pads allows for a longer season, and there’s no risk of drowning. The splash pads are also wheelchair accessible.”
Splash pads have not been distributed evenly in Montreal parks. Until recently, few West Island parks have included splash pads. Kirkland and D.D.O. only have one splash pad each, for example, whereas in Vaudreuil alone there are 10, by Latreille’s count.
The balance is shifting, however. This year, four new splash pads have been announced for the West Island: two in D.D.O., one in Pierrefonds, and one in Kirkland.
In D.D.O., city council approved the construction of two new ones in February, at Westminster Park and Lake Rd. Park. In Pierrefonds, construction began last fall at Cyrill-W.-McDonald Park, and work is also underway at Meades Park in Kirkland, part of a larger overhaul of the old playground to make it more inclusive.
Some notable splash pad upgrades and additions are also planned in Rosemont-La Petite Patrie. The borough announced in May that Père-Marquette and de la Cité-Jardin parks would be renovated with equipment designed to encourage imaginative, free play. Père-Marquette Park, which already has a modern splash pad, is getting new play equipment and a new area for sand play, including a water pump. As for de la Cité-Jardin Park, a splash pad is planned with a unique curtain of water that will be designed to be illuminated at night with colours or projected images — the first of its kind in Montreal.
Other parks that have announced splash pad plans include Raymond-Préfontaine and Saint-Donat in Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, and Coubertin park in St. Leonard — and it’s likely there will be more to come.
For more information about playgrounds, go to strollerparking.ca.