Much Anticipated Castle Park About to Open in Mississauga
Even though summer is drawing to a close, there's never a bad time to enjoy a park and playground—especially since fall can be both mild and visually stunning.
Fortunately for people who enjoy outdoor spaces all year-round, a highly-anticipated High Park-style castle park is about to be officially unveiled in Mississauga.
And not only will the castle be unveiled, the much-talked about CF-100 that looked like it was about to be taken down or relocated, will be rededicated following a very successful refurbishment process.
Last year, it was announced that the Malton Arena and Wildwood Park in the northeast part of Mississauga would be renamed after former 14 time NHL all-star Paul Coffey. At the time, Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish also announced that she was looking to get a new playground structure built in the newly renamed Paul Coffey Park.
A few months ago, Parrish tweeted out this brief video showing the preliminary concept designs commissioned by a company called Earthscape, in collaboration with the city of Mississauga. As Earthscape's own website states, their purpose is to "design and build incredible custom playgrounds that open children’s imaginations, stimulate their creativity and challenge their motor development."
Now, the castle is almost ready to go.
"The castle's playground should be finished Sept. 15," Parrish told inSauga.com. "On Sept. 24, we're going to rededicate the plane and host the grand opening for the playground."
The grand opening event will run from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m and will feature a plethora of activities for attendees.
"We've rented an electric train, there will be hot dogs and pizza. Everything is free for kids," says Parrish.
After months of waiting, residents will finally get to enjoy the unique Castles Playground. The playground, made possible by funding from Mitsubishi, Longo's, the City of Mississauga and other donors, is made out of treated wood (meaning it can't be vandalized) and features a 40-foot dragon (perfect for whimsical kids and their Game of Thrones-loving parents and older siblings).
Parrish says the structure will feature four towers and slides coming down from the castle. While the dragon will likely be the most attention-grabbing animal, he (or she?) will not be alone. Parrish says there will also be sheep, lamb, giant tortoise, wizard and princess statues.
"The kids can sit on the animals," she says. "What I didn't get was a water feature, unfortunately. But this is the most fun, it's the best thing that ever happened to me. Ward 5 is a fabulous ward, I love it."
Parrish also said there will be large patio-like area around the playground with tables and chairs, so parents can sit while their children play.
"It'll be a nice gathering spot."
A look at the playground while under construction, courtesy of Carolyn Parrish’s official Twitter page
While the whimsical playground is a huge draw in and of itself, some might come to the area to see the nearby CF-100—a historic plane displayed on a concrete pedestal in the Legion Memorial Garden at Paul Coffey Park.
The monument, which has always functioned as a landmark, became decidedly controversial back in March when people learned that the iconic structure was in danger of being removed. At the time, a source reached out to inSauga.com to say that discussions with leaders and members of the community revealed that the structure’s continued placement in the neighbourhood was up in the air due to structural integrity and natural deterioration issues.
After residents raised concerns about the emotional impact the loss of the plane would have on Malton, Parrish found an organization who was able to restore it.
"It's been totally restored," says Parrish, who called on the Haliburton-based Jim Hurlburt & Sons Heritage Metal Restoration to help save the plane. "It took them three weeks with the weather. They used fine glass particles and blasted everything off it. They repainted and put details back on as they were originally."
Parrish also added that a new cockpit cover was installed with a solar panel that allows the cockpit to glow blue at night. The wing tips also light up, which is a new feature.
While it's one thing to fret over the loss of a monument, it's another to step up and help preserve it. Fortunately for history buffs, the Mississauga-based Magellan Aerospace came forward with a generous donation. After that, a whopping $48,000 rolled in from donors in the Malton area. The city also came through, covering the costs of safety fencing and hydro connections.
"The light standard that shines down on the plane was replaced," says Parrish. "There are new benches, flowers and so forth."
Fortunately for plane aficionados, the plane was salvageable because it wasn't in terrible condition to begin with.
"It was refurbished in '94 and '95 and staff said those were the last repairs because the plane was deteriorating. The plane was structurally sound, but not pretty anymore and it would deteriorate more if it wasn't refurbished," says Parrish.
After residents expressed displeasure at the notion of the plane coming down, a suggestion to move it to a museum was met with equal derision.
Fortunately, there was no need to relocate the aircraft.
"I was inspired to do it because our staff said we should move it to a Hamilton museum and people flew around the room when I mentioned it. A few plane buffs caught the story and they put me in touch with people who could save it. I was put in touch with Jim Hurlbert and Sons and they said it was a nice plane to work on. The whole thing went extremely well."
Parrish added that the site could receive heritage designation in the future.
"We want to designate it as a heritage site," she said, adding that they'll bring the notion to the attention of the appropriate governing bodies. "This plane means a lot. I've had many accolades for doing this and they almost match the yells I got from the idea of moving it to Hamilton."
The new park and revitalized plane seem to be part of a push to elevate the oft-ignored community of Malton. The truck-heavy and highly industrial area that surrounds Pearson Airport is busy and bustling and ready for a park that will attract people from all over the city (and beyond),
"We're putting a footbridge over the creek," says Parrish, who added that a full size NBA basketball court, funded by Toronto Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia, is coming to area.
Parrish also said she's working closely with Malton BIA on a project that will see a Malton sign (somewhat similar to the beloved Toronto sign) come to the area.
"I said let's do six foot tall brushed stainless steel letters with lights at the bottom. It'll say Malton," she says. "Malton got left behind, so we're kickstarting it, we're moving it forward. On Canada Day, I had 45 or 50 people grab me and say 'what a difference you're making.' But it's not just me, the BIA is coming into its own. I couldn't do a quarter of what I'm doing without them. Being close to airport is hard on the village, there's heavy traffic all the time and lots of pollution. It's good to give them something pretty."
For more information on the upcoming grand opening on Sept. 24, click here.
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