Cabbagetown playground fire causes online furor

A fire that demolished playground equipment has raised the ire of Cabbagetown South residents.

“Setting fire to a children’s playground is beneath low,” said Toronto Centre councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam in a Twitter post, one of many social media comments decrying the apparent arson.

“It takes a special kind of evil to destroy what gives our children joy,” said a police tweet from 51 Division. “We are actively investigating.”

Toronto Fire Services said crews were called out to 227 Ontario St. after receiving reports of billowing black smoke in the area at about 7 a.m. on May 10.

Firefighters found a playground engulfed by flame, producing large amounts of smoke.

The fire was knocked down quickly and the area cleared in less than an hour. No injuries were reported.

Playground closed
CLOSED: Playground has been doubly shut down, first by the coronavirus and now by fire.

Police were on the scene to investigate possible arson, a fire services media representative said.

The playground is set in the Ontario Street Parkette that stretches between houses from Ontario to Milan Street, a block and a half south of Dundas Street East. Before the fire the playground equipment was already cordoned off from use by children as part of the city’s public health measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

The same playground was reported to have been hit by fire less extensively in July 2016. Damages then were estimated at $10,000.

Wong-Tam said in her social media comments the city’s parks, forestry and recreation staff were equally upset by the fire and “will do everything possible to replace the damaged equipment as soon as possible.”

Ontario Street Parkette where playground located
PARK BLOCKED: Ontario Street Parkette where fire demolished a children’s playground.,