There’s more to the splash pad at Stanstead Park than meets the eye. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like anything special. There are two parts – a wooden post and a weirdly angled metal post.
The wooden post is basically a tap for filling up buckets. Push the button and get some water. Fill up a bucket or soak your feet. Our little dinosaur chose to soak her shoes, but the dried river bed in the nearby sandy play structure makes me think that other kids choose the first option.
The metal post, on the other hand is deceptively cool. It’s the first time we’ve seen the “Vortex” with its three brightly coloured button. Push the metal button and instead of water shooting out of some other nozzle, the water blasts out of the button itself!
You’ll probably end up with a faceful of water the first few times before you figure out how to direct the jet with your hands. It’s a pretty powerful spray which is probably why the play structures are so far away.
There’s a label on the “Vortex” post with a website address and that’s when I realize that “Vortex” isn’t the name of the metal post… it’s the name of the company that makes some very cool water structures.
After surfing around their site, they have a very nice definition for splash pads:
“A Splashpad® is a zero-depth aquatic solution that takes its cue from nature by combining the sensations of different water movements – flowing, misting, jetting – with over 200 standard products for uncompromising design and unequalled play adventure. From a small 500 ft2 neighborhood installation to a spectacular 10,000ft2 amusement park , a Splashpad® provides entertainment for the entire family.” (Vortex, Splashpad Experience)
And, that’s when the second light bulb goes off for me. Splashpad® is a registered trademark. It makes me wonder which came first – the chicken or the egg. Or, in this case, the “splash pad” or “splashpad”. Do we call “splash pads” in Ottawa, “splash pads” because the city buys Splashpads from Vortex, or were there urban water parks that people called “splash pads” and then Vortex came along and branded the term, “Splashpads.” (Is it like Kleenex which is just a brand name of tissue paper?)
Looking at the Vortex site, you’ll probably recognize some bits and pieces of your local splash pad from their product line.
Coming back to the Standstead Park splash pad, that metal Vortex pole is deceptively fun.