SHANNON MEWS PARK PLAYGROUND
It’s not every day one can be at a playground while gazing at an old, fancy pants mansion, let alone a mansion that was commissioned by sugar mogul, BT Rogers of Rogers Sugar. Yes, I’m talking about that bag of Rogers Sugar in your kitchen pantry, a discretely prolific staple amongst many Vancouverites.
The entrance to the park is found on 57th Ave. A small playground is on the right side and has very unique, hill or tunnel-like climbers that I’ve never seen before. They provide an inviting challenge for different age groups, encouraging attempts to climb each hill rung for rung and crawl from one mound to the next, or to leap up and hop from one peak to the other instead. Alternatively, others were seen using the hills as a slide. For children not interested in climbing or find these climbers a bit too steep, the empty space below can still be enjoyed as little tunnels for other types of imaginative play.
Crossing the climbers takes one to a platform with a small metal slide and ladder. Right beside the play structure is a small sandbox with a water spout that can be activated with a push of a button. A curved wall features some heritage pieces salvaged during the Shannon Mews redevelopment.
Extend your visit by exploring the surrounding estate, once private to the rest of the city but now generously open to the public in 2020. Upon entering from 57th Ave, there is a circular lawn and paths that lead up to the Shannon mansion, adorned with sculptural benches and other ornamental pieces. Explore further to find a reflecting pool in the Italian Garden in front of the mansion, as well as a fountain path in the Rose Garden on the northeast side. Or, stay away from that part if your child likes to dive into any type of open water.
An outdoor labyrinth or hedge maze can be found in an area called the French Garden, which is south of the Rose Garden. Behind the east wall along Granville St, are five stark white, metal tree scuptures, adding some modern art to the historic area as well.
Sometimes the grounds are used for filming, which can add to the already interesting experience. Make sure to visit again in the spring to enjoy the many blooms incorporated into this elegant space.
If you’re lucky to have any friends who live in the adjacent residences, note that there are two other rooftop play spaces to explore. We won’t feature them here, as they are for private residents only but if you make it up there, feel free to share a picture of the experience with us!
Oh, and make sure to have a chuckle at the signage titled, “New Park”. It’s nice when the City shows it’s sense of humour.