Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)

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Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis





Dufferin Grove Speakers’ Series #4: Friday August 22, 7.00 pm:

click on the image to enlarge it

HOW TO BUILD PLAYGROUNDS WHERE KIDS LOVE TO PLAY. Location: near the pizza oven. Rain location: in the rink house.

In the summer of 2000, the Toronto school boards tore out 172 playgrounds.

Around the same time, provincially-funded daycares removed many of their best structures. And the City government began a $6 million “playground safety project” that resulted in the replacement of 49 park playgrounds and the removal of swings, climbers, and other play pieces in hundreds of other park playgrounds. Many parents objected, saying that the new plastic playgrounds and replacement pieces were dull and dumbed down.

All these changes were laid at the door of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), a manufacturers’ group that puts out voluntary “standards” for playground structures every few years. But the CSA denied that their standards had ever been meant to apply to existing structures – only to new equipment. (That restraint was ignored – see the CELOS website for more of the story.)

In the past few years, not much more has been removed. But now the next phase has begun. Dufferin Grove and some other city playgrounds have recently lost half their swings. And in the spring of 2009 the City plans to remove the whole wooden playground structure at Dufferin Grove, and replace it with a different structure.

Before the Parks planners bring the latest manufacturers’ catalogues out to the park, this fourth summer speakers’ series session will consider, in a broader way, what makes a playground exciting for kids. Invitations to contribute have gone out to:

  1. playground users who have photos and stories to share, of wonderful playgrounds they’ve encountered while travelling.
  2. A parent from the Kew Park playground, which was built by fundraising almost $300,000 (according to City staff Mike Schreiner, Parks and Recreation contributed $36,125, then-Councillor Tom Jacobek contributed $30,000, and Kaboom/Home Depot Play Structures, Central Fairbank Lumber, and Barrymore Furniture contributed $190,000 cash donations and $38,500 of in-kind services,).
  3. Parents who helped set up the Dufferin Grove sand play area, which cost $4000.
  4. A staff person from the Spiral Garden, an artist-run playground used by children who are Bloorview MacMillan Children’s Hospital patients, and also used by day camp kids from all over Toronto.

If you want to bring along photos/stories of good playgrounds that your kids love (including the present Dufferin Grove playground) please call the park at 416 392-0913 and leave your number, or e-mail mail@celos.ca. Kids too! Jutta will call you back.

Content last modified on November 09, 2008, at 01:58 AM EST