Behind the CFTO studios there was a very large field. You could only access it through a catwalk on one of the side streets in my neighbourhood. At the entrance to the field was a climber made of old tires. There was also a big wooden climber on the top of a hill.
Now, what I remember about this park (we called it Channel 9 park...since CFTO was channel 9) and in particular the climber was the slide. It was a huge plastic tube and it was the longest slide I had ever seen. I'm sure it's all relative. I was, after all, only 10 and if I saw it now it may not seem as long but back then...there was nothing like it.
It was black, dark and when when you came out of the bottom of it your hair would stand on end from the static. The bravest kids would climb up the outside of the tube to the top and then slide down on the inside. We would get inside and yell at the top of our lungs to hear the echo.
There was also a tire swing on chains. We would stand on the swing and getting it spinning so hard that we thought for sure we'd never be able to hold on tight enough and we'd go flying off. And if you got sick...well then no one in the neighbourhood would let you live it down.
There was a chain ladder too and a rope swing, both of which I was never really good at. I hated the way they moved around when I climbed. There was also a beam that ran from the main frame of the climber across to the end that held the tire swing. Again, only the bravest kids would walk across that beam (now, as a parent, I shudder to think of the danger we were in pulling stunts like that!)
The park was secluded. There were never a huge amount of kids there which made it even better. We felt like it was a secret park and, in fact, there was many occasions that I'd want to ride my bike there but couldn't remember which street had the catwalk to get to it and would have to ask one of my brothers to show me the way.
I remember once, very early in the morning I'd had a friend sleep over and we decided to go to Channel 9 park when we woke up. We got there and climbed up the chain ladder to discover a teen aged boy sleeping on the platform. I remember he looked up at us, asked what time it was and then laid back down. (we took off, scared out of our minds)
One afternoon when I was about 11 or so I headed over to the park and I'll never forget the disappointment. Someone had set the climber on fire. The wooden structure was completely gone. The tube slide melted. Of course there were rumors about who did it didn't matter. The point was, channel 9 park was gone.
It's silly but it's one of the few places I always felt happy and free. It's one of the few places that has great memories and though we live no where near it now and though it probably wouldn't have met current safety standards, I would have loved to have brought my kids there to play.
I hope they will find a place that brings them the same kind of memories.