Last time I was there was probably 15 years ago! Gone is the huge wading pool of my kids' childhood (but don't cry, you can still enjoy the one in Bronte Creek Provincial Park).
It's been replaced by three very big wading pools (which I'm sure feel like three big lakes to explore from a toddler's point of view) and a shallow pool with one beach-like access. Next to these four pools, they've added a huge splash pad, not unlike any good splash pad you'd find in a municipal park but bigger (which must look like a "rain forest" to the young kids).
With older kids, I suggest you explore the cliff trail before heading to the pool. As you walk towards the lake from the parking lot, you'll meet the paved bike trail. To your left, you'll notice a dirt trail getting closer to the edge. Follow it to access a gorgeous trail under the shadow of trees with great panorama overlooking... the Pickering Nuclear Generating Centre. It reaches the paved trail again further east.
If you walk 30-minutes (2 kms) eastbound, you'll reach the secluded and great beach of Frenchman's Bay Park.
We were there on a gorgeous Saturday and there was plenty of FREE parking spaces in a parking lot off Beachpoint Promenade just before the beach as well as along the dirt road between the bay and the lake. Next time, we will park there, do the cliff trail, grab an ice cream cone at the truck in front of the pool area in Petticoat Creek, and return for a dip into the lake. (A sign specifies the waters are not to be trusted within two days following a rainfall.)
• You have UNTIL SEPTEMBER 3 to enjoy the water attraction. The park itself is open until October 8, 2012.
• The park admission is $6.50/adults, $5.50/seniors and it's free for kids 15 years and under. Pool access is $4.75 per person ($2.75 if you're a TRCA Parks member) and it's free for kids 2 years and under.
• To get to Frenchman's Bay Park, follow Petticoat Creek's cliff trail eastbound. You'll come across a steal bridge which runs over the stream of Petticoat Creek. Then walk through the private trail at the foot of Marksbury Road (everybody does) and take the first street on your right out of the private trail (called Beachpoint Promenade). You'll see many entrances to the beach. Parking spaces are at the end of this road.