Ottawa’s Hidden Treasures: Andrew Haydon Park

by DaniGirl on August 6, 2010 · 16 comments

in Ottawa Family Fun, Ottawa's hidden treasures

I‘ve spent so much time this summer blogging about other places that I’ve completely forgotten one of my favourite bloggy activities: telling you about the fantastic family hangouts we’ve discovered here in Ottawa for summertime fun.

If you are looking for a fabulous free activity on a hot summer day in Ottawa, you should definitely check out Andrew Haydon Park off Carling Avenue just west of Pinecrest (about a kilometer west and on the other side of the street from the Colosseum Theatre.)

Andrew Haydon park sprawls down the edge of the Ottawa river with beautiful walking trails, duck (well, mostly geese) ponds, a waterfall, a bandshell, and several play structures. It’s anchored on one end by the Nepean Sailing Club and one of our favourite splash parks on the other end.


Bring a blanket (but there are benches and picnic tables on site), a snack, a handful of buckets and a change of clothes (there are also washrooms on site) and expect your kids to get wet. And sandy. Very, very sandy!


This isn’t the typical suburban splash pad with shooting fountains and dumping buckets; instead, the kids have to pump the water up (or at least throw a switch to get a burst of water) and it trails down through a series of canals and water wheels.


There’s a mechano-lego-builder inspired vibe to the play structures and getting the water flowing that appeals to all three of the boys, and I’m always grateful to find an activity that engages all three of them equally. (It’s not always easy to bridge the gap between two-and-a-half and eight years old!)


And best of all, it’s completely free. Bring a snack or a lunch and enjoy a wander through the rest of this gorgeous but often overlooked park and it’s marshy waddle into the Ottawa river.


If you go: Andrew Haydon Park is located off Carling Avenue at Holly Acres Road. The splash park is near the eastern-most parking lot (and a long walk from the western-most one — be warned!) Parking and admission are free!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sara August 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Thanks Dani! I have yet another retreat to take my son to that is free and won’t break the bank like Calypso. Lil’ Man loves water of any kind. For me, free is better.

The whole time I have lived in Ottawa (10 years on the 21st) I have never been to Andrew Haydon Park.

2 Mr G. August 6, 2010 at 2:00 pm

We absolutely love the Andrew Haydon Park!

It’s 10 minutes from home, it’s huge, it’s nice, the kids can run and play, you can spend the whole day there.

We have a very special attachment with this place also as it was the one where we had our first BBQ in Canada the day after we arrived.

And yes DaniGirl,. I’ve started using my new personality 🙂

Have a great weekend!

3 Zhu August 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Never heard of it! And I live in the West end, close to Carling. I shall explore then… grab a book, a Coke and sit down there for a little while maybe.

4 Krista August 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm

You know, I grew up in crystal beach, right across the street for Andrew Hayden park, played there all the time – yet I forget to bring my littles there!! Great post, thx for the reminder.

5 freemommiestuff August 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm Ottawa’s Hidden Treasures: Andrew Haydon Park: I‘ve spent so much time th…

6 Best of Ottawa Blogs August 6, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Ottawa’s Hidden Treasures: Andrew Haydon Park

7 Mom To A Preschooler August 6, 2010 at 10:34 pm

My daughter will surely enjoy that place. We frequent the local park in our city because she also would love to play on the slides and swings. Taking her there, it reminds me so much of my childhood. How I wish I could be a kid again even for a day. lol!

8 marianne August 7, 2010 at 11:45 am

We haven;t tried the splash park yet, but Maya loves to go to Andrew Hydon to watch (and chase!) the geese and ducks around the park.

9 Katie August 8, 2010 at 1:45 pm

We went to Andy Haydon park today. It was great for munchkins of all ages. I just miss the Dairy Queen that used to be so close.

10 Iva October 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I was searching the internet on the Andrew Haydon Park playground wooden structures and stumbled upon your blog. I don’t want to spoil the fun Andrew Haydon Park playground is offering to our kids. But I posted a question today to the City of Ottawa and it concerns the wood preservative called Chromated Copper Arsenate used to treat the wood against fungi and insects. According to Health Canada website info the preservative has been banned from use in residential areas from December 31, 2003. Many park playgrounds might be older than that and are not affected by 2003 ban. Arsenic is the metal and know human carcinogen. Over the years of use the arsenic is leaching from the treated wood posing a poisoning risk for the children (and adults). Just how many times smaller kids put hands in their mount while playing? Plus, the sand and soil below the playground can contain arsenic. Please read:…/pdf/…/cca-acc-eng.pdf and think about it!

11 Rosemary August 9, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Iva, did you get an answer to your question? Is it used at Andrew Haydon water park? Enquiring minds want to know!

I assume that it is all okay as it has been 2 yrs since that post! I loove the water park at Andrew Haydon. Thanks for your delightful blog post about it!!!

12 Mary @ Parenthood September 5, 2018 at 8:21 pm

So.. what do you think of what they’ve done to the park? Finally got a chance to visit the new version this summer and was underwhelmed.

13 DaniGirl September 6, 2018 at 7:27 am

Oh no! What have they done to the park???

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