*Special Edition* Suburban Splash Pad Review II

Look who is back at it again! After covering a few suburban splash pads in Hamilton’s suburbs, I felt that another special edition was needed. Why? Well, despite covering a good array of locations (Dundas, Waterdown, the west mountain), there are a few key areas that would be terrible of me to miss: Stoney Creek, Westdale, Mount Hope, etc. So with that, here are the next 5 on my suburban splash pad list:

1. Churchill Park

This large park serves the Westdale/McMaster area neighbourhood which is chock full of young families. I was looking forward to this one as I had heard of recent renovations. What can I say? Well I hope there is someone out there who reviews playground structures because WOW- this is one to visit! The splash pad….is not one. Upon getting to the park I could see 50 or so kids crawling all over it! Every swing set had a child. Ask yourselves when is the last time you’ve seen that?! Clearly the kids saw what reigned supreme so Briar and I had the splash pad pretty much to ourselves, while giggles and laughs of kids rang out from the playground.

Yup, that’s it!

If you look next to this wee splashpad, you’ll see this:

Seriously there is no contest. So, for those still interested in splashing around, let’s get to the review. This splash pad is simple but still maintains some fun elements: There are two giant water reeds which spout water from various angles, a giant hoop, as well as two fountains and three larger geyser-type sprays. Nothing moves but it does provide some good, hot-weather relief. Surprisingly this large park lacks good shade as most trees lie on the outskirts. Parking available at the school lot next to it.

Overall: Come for the playground! Seriously! Then cool off at the splash pad on your way home… if you feel like it.

  • Location: 3/5
  • Shade: 3/5
  • Usability: 4/5
  • Fun factor: 2/5
  • Splash factor: 3/5

2. Winona Park

All the way to Winona? Heck yeah, we are dedicated. We journeyed to the far and opposite end of Barton St., just off of Fifty Rd. You may be most familiar with this park through its famous, annual Winona Peach Festival! These same grounds that were once in a rural part of Hamilton, are now surrounded by a large, new elementary school and big developments across the street. Considering how many young families now live in this area, I had high hopes. So how did it do?

Honestly, I expected more. It was nice to see kids playing in the water and on the old, small and weathered playground next to the new splash pad. But like so many other new developments, this splash pad suffers from a lack of trees. While the rest of the park has many providing shade, this is smack dab in between a bare field and baseball diamond with only a couple small trees in sight. On a hot and sunny day, it can be a scorcher. The permanent structure they built (see photo) helps but doesn’t completely cover. As for the splash pad, it is mostly comprised of ground fountains shooting water at various angles and heights. However, it does contain a bucket that fills and dumps quite frequently and a flower-type pinwheel that splashes water outwards.

Briar and other kids had fun and really, it was great to see the splash pad getting used. I guess having been at so many now, it made me want to say, “hey! You should really check out x” since I felt these kids were missing out on some cool features at other spots. Since this is the only splash pad from Winona all the way to Grey Rd. in Stoney Creek, this splash pad should/could be better. I believe more kids would be out if it was more of a draw, along with the playground (which is be a separate topic). Ultimately the most interesting feature was an homage to the peach festival itself by way of the button. Sorry, but that’s all I’ve got.

Overall: A bit of a let down considering how many young kids are in the area. No interactive features but there is a bucket for a good soak. Bring a sun hat.

  • Location: 2/5
  • Shade: 2/5
  • Usability: 5/5
  • Fun factor: 2/5
  • Splash factor: 4/5

3. Mount Hope Park

Ah yes, Mount Hope. The little village that lies tucked away, hidden in an obscure part of Hamilton. If you aren’t familiar with this area, you may better know its main attraction: The Hamilton International Airport! Indeed, Mount Hope is a small, four-way-stop kind of town, with a massive, growing airport hub just down the street. Also worthy to note, it is becoming quite the draw for developers which became apparent when I took a wrong turn and ended up a model home centre.

As for it’s park? This quiet, sleepy nook is home to a beautiful, fun, new playground and large splash pad….if you can find it haha. Makes me wonder if Mount Hope doesn’t want outsiders finding out about this sweet spot as the signage is basically non-existent! Multiple wrong turns later, we finally got to this well-hidden park. ***The secret is*** take the little road next to the Mount Hope public library (an old schoolhouse conversion) and the park and lot lie just behind it.

This park has plenty of parking, trees and a mini trail that winds around, perfect for walking your dog. The splash pad itself is quite sprawling and features various sprays that shoot at all angles. The tall flower sprays up high to drench below. Sprays were even added to the concrete seating to go horizontally. The neatest features were 1. The sprays turn on/off at varying times within the same cycle to add some unpredictability and 2. There are two rubber disks one could jump on to push more water out. Super fun!

Wheeee! Also- pretty neat little Air Cadets hanger in the back!

Being that we are near the airport, there is a mini hanger shed just behind where Air Cadet meetings take place and every once in a while you can see a plane soar overhead. All very nice perks to this park.

Overall: A well-hidden gem! A new splash pad with unpredictable and some interactive features with plenty of green space around.

  • Location: 4/5
  • Shade: 5/5
  • Usability: 5/5
  • Fun factor: 4/5
  • Splash factor: 4/5

4. Trenholme Park

This was a fun, random park to visit, just out of interest. Never heard of it? Neither had we until I saw it on the map tucked away between the Linc and Albion Falls. I figured, why not! Turns out, it was a perfect call. The park itself is at the end of the street just hiding among some homes. It encompasses a newer playground, a soccer field just beyond with bathrooms and the splash pad itself, with an old, weathered, permanent pavilion. At first it is quite unassuming but honestly, it covers the esssentials pretty well!

The simple joys

While simple, all sprays work well and respond, with the larger ones (the tall stem, periscope and ring), alternating between sessions. The majority of sprays come from ground fountains which I have to say, spray impressively high! And although high, they did not intimidate our baby which was great. This site is not particularly meant to engage and lacks some creativity and major splash factor compared to other pads. However, if you’re near the mountain brow or Albion Falls and want a nice, quiet spot to cool down, I recommend!

Overall: A quiet park and a great, quick refresher if you’re in the area.

  • Location: 2/5
  • Shade: 4/5
  • Usability: 5/5
  • Fun factor: 3/5
  • Splash factor: 3/5

5. Heritage Green Sports Park

You know the Hamilton garbage dump at the corner of Mud and Upper Centennial? Did you know they have developed the land around it/across the street into a massive sports field, park and off-leash dog area? Crazy but true! Located off Mud & First Road West, this huge expanse is very new. So new in fact, there is still a long, winding, gravel road to take down into the bowl (read: that’s a hard no to bikes, strollers and walkers). After parking, I was informed by some grounds crew that the splash pad is the new addition this year! In that case, let’s see how this fancy new splash pad holds up:

This splash pad has a fun, nautical theme with a boat and sails that all splash water, along with a small bucket. A bit of a random theme in land-locked suburbia. I wondered how neat this structure would be in a more appropriate setting like Pier 4. Oh well. As for pad features, the masts have holes that shoot streams of water downwards, the periscope on the boat can move and there is a long water tube one can also interact with. Overall, very cute and fun!

I’d be lying if this splash pad wasn’t overshadowed by the amazing playground next door. Although only a few structures, they are really unique and include a high ropes-type course as well as a mini zipline. Super cool. As one can imagine, the playground was more popular than this splash pad but again, the splash pad structures are fun and perfect for an older child who can interact with them.

Overall: Perfect for older kids who want to splash on a boat-themed splash pad and then hit the ropes course or zipline. Accessible by car only.

  • Location: 2/5
  • Shade: 2/5
  • Usability: 5/5
  • Fun factor: 4/5
  • Splash factor: 3/5

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