The young builders behind the new Mooney's Bay Playground got a chance to test out their handy work Friday at a soft launch.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and dozens of kids and parents were on hand Friday to unofficially open Canada's largest playground.

“This is probably going to be one of the great destination spots for families and kids alike,” Watson said.

More than 700 volunteers, many of them children, spent the Summer building the Canada-themed playground from the ground up. 11-year-old Evan Lane helped with the slide in the Ontario section of the park.

"It's really fun to build it and to know that other kids can play on it, too," he said. 

8-year-old Daven Bramberger also helped with the slide and said it's an experience she will never forget. 

"It's fun that you get to create stuff and in 20 years all these little kids and stuff will be playing on this and I built it," she said. 

The construction of the playground was shrouded in controversy, with many residents angered by a lack of public consultation and the city's respect for the planning process. Karin Howard, a former city councillor, was part of the 'Save Mooney's Bay' group that campaigned against the playground.

"We don't have faith that the City actually respects feedback from planning processes, and honours agreements with residents.," she said. "It has been getting worse over the years, and sunk to a new low at Mooney's Bay, in the past six months."

Asked if he would do anything differently, Watson said hindsight is 20/20. 

"There were two sorts of groups that were opposed to it. There were those who were opposed because there wasn’t as much consultation as there should have been, and there were some opposed (because) they just didn’t want one inch of greenspace taken up by play structures,” Watson said.

“I don’t have a lot of sympathy for that latter group, to be honest.”

The playground will officially open on July 1st, 2017. The city contributed $1 million, with another $1 million coming from Sinking Ship Entertainment, the production company behind the TVO Show the Giver.