Mayor slams barriers as 'ridiculous' fix for hot metal slides in Corktown Common

A year after a girl was seriously burned on one of the slides, the city is looking into obtaining "shade sails" to keep slides cool until the playground's trees mature.

City obtaining 'shade sails' to keep slides cool until trees mature in east-end playground

Melanie Gillians, seen here with her 20-month-old son Wesley, doesn't understand why metal slides were built instead of plastic ones in Corktown Common. (Lauren Pelley/CBC News)

A year after a child suffered serious burns on ones of the metal slides in Corktown Common, the city has boarded them up — something the mayor is calling a "ridiculous" fix to a dangerous problem.

Last summer, a two-year-old girl got a second-degree burn on her knee from sliding down one of the playground's two exposed slides, CBC Toronto reported. The incident sparked questions over why the city allows metal slides, which can heat up in the summer sun.

Parents this week were asking similar questions, including Parkdale mom Melanie Gillians, who ventures over regularly to the picturesque Corktown playground with her 20-month-old son Wesley.

While the metal slides may be "pretty" and work with the park's design, Gillians doesn't understand why plastic slides weren't built instead.

"Maybe someone who didn't have children potentially had this idea," she said.

Carla Munoz says her youngest daughter, Ana, suffered a second-degree burn on her knee from sliding down a hot metal slide at Corktown Common's playground. (Supplied by Carla Munoz)

Barriers a 'temporary measure,' city says

When asked about the ongoing slide issues, the city explained the protective barriers were put up as a "temporary measure" on May 24.

Mayor John Tory slammed that decision on Wednesday, calling it a "ridiculous" solution, and an example of "how a government could work much better."

A canopy to provide shade would be a better option, Tory continued.

However, Jane Arbour, a spokesperson for the city, said city staff are already looking into the canopy idea. 

Trees planted in the playground simply aren't providing enough shade right now, and staff in the parks department are working to obtain "shade sails" to help block the sun while the trees mature, with the hope of opening the slides back up to the public this summer, Arbour said.

When asked about the ongoing slide issues, the city explained the protective barriers were put up as a 'temporary measure' on May 24. (Lauren Pelley/CBC News)

But it's a development that comes fives years after the park was first opened in the Front Street East and Bayview Avenue area.

Having a shady covering for metal slides is also a recommendation from Canadian standards organization CSA Group, whose guidelines the city followed prior to opening Corktown Common in 2013. 

That's a frustration for Gillians, who said the exposed metal design itself is the problem.

"Put in slides, that's great — but make kid-friendly slides," she said.


Lauren Pelley

Senior Health & Medical Reporter

Lauren Pelley covers health and medical science for CBC News, including the global spread of infectious diseases, Canadian health policy, and pandemic preparedness. Her 2020 investigation into COVID-19 infections among health-care workers won best in-depth series at the RNAO Media Awards. Contact her at: