Orange Submarine is Halifax’s newest playground destination

By Helen Pike

Meet the orange submarine, the Halifax waterfront’s newest play destination. The submarine has been open for business since early December, replacing the beloved Halcyon, a structure which sat seaside for more than 20 years.

The new submarine play structure on the Halifax waterfront. The playscape has an underwater theme, complete with an octopus wall. (Helen Pike photo)

“It was a hard act to follow,” says playground enthusiast Alex Smith. The playground was so loved that it had a ‘final voyage’ celebration before it was torn down and replaced.

Smith runs a blog where he reviews local play structures. He believes that the new playground will serve as an exciting, new landmark for the next generation of children.

“What is lacking here in Halifax are truly imaginative playscapes,” says Smith. He thinks that the submarine is a great example of an exciting playground concept. Children are fascinated with transportationthemed structures, he says, and he has never seen a submarine replicated in quite the same way.

The Halcyon and the new unnamed submarine were both commissioned by Waterfront Development. The project cost about $250,000 dollars and included a brainstorming session with a group of children. The kids got together and drew pictures of what they wanted their new playground structure to look like.

Playground Chronicles
Submarine photo library

Then, using the kids’ ideas, the structure was designed locally by McGowan Marine Design and built by Tern Boatworks. The process was photographed and can be viewed on Smith’s blog. The builders carved the frame out of wood and used traditional shipbuilding techniques to construct the beached vessel.

The submarine is big enough for an adult to stand up in and has two levels. The main level is wheelchair accessible, a feature that Waterfront Development is proud of. On top of the structure there is grip material, making the surface safe to play on.

Related audio:
Jack Williams, a young adult who grew up with the old wooden structure, talks about the Halcyon versus the new submarine.

While Waterfront Development says that the slide may be a little steep for some parents comfort, it is within the regulations and guidelines set by the Canadian government.

Kelly Rose, the communications advisor for Waterfront Development, says that the company has had positive feedback about the play structure on its Twitter and Facebook pages. She also says that they plan on having an official launch for the submarine this summer.

Some parents who bring their kids to the new structure would have grown up with the old boat, says Rose. The updated submarine should last for about 30 years and will hopefully become the next generation’s Halcyon.

“To have a destination playground for Halifax kids and for visitors is a great thing,” says Smith.


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