Charity, advisors aid Mississauga school

By Philip Porado | August 1, 2010 | Last updated on August 1, 2010
2 min read

Until recently, 40-year-old Thorn Lodge Public School in Mississauga, Ontario had no playground. But that all changed this summer, when volunteers built an entire playground from scratch in a single day. The new playground, designed by children for children, will serve nearly 6,000 area families.

The not-for-profit playground-building organization KaBOOM!, along with more than 200 community volunteers, organizers, and agents and members of ForestersTM – a Toronto-based life insurance provider – gathered together to complete the playground last month.

New playground, stronger community

To visualize their new playground, Mississauga-area children were invited to a special design day where they were asked to put crayon to paper and draw their ideal playground, including accessible equipment for children with special needs. These drawings were used to create the final playground design.

Then, after weeks of preparation, the volunteers were assembled to build the playground from the ground up. Their back-breaking labour included mixing more than 16,000 pounds of concrete by hand and shovelling 43,740 square feet of playground-surfacing material using nearly 100 rakes, cement hoes, wheelbarrows, shovels, step ladders, push brooms and other assorted tools.

In a matter of hours, the children’s design was transformed into a 2,500-square-foot play space that matched their dreams. Volunteers set up a brightly coloured assortment of playground equipment for the children to enjoy, including a Slither Slide, a Glide Slide and a Rockblocks Climbing Wall.

Playgrounds across North America

The Mississauga project is part of Foresters Playground Builds, a $1.5-million undertaking created in 2009 to champion the well-being of families. In all, 20 playgrounds will be built in 2010 throughout North America, including ones in Montreal (August 7), Toronto (August 8), Calgary (August 21) and Vancouver (September 11). The builds are also among more than 150 that KaBOOM! will lead in 2010 as part of an effort to provide a great place to play within walking distance for every child in North America.

“The playground builds are an excellent example of our purpose coming to life,” says Tony Poole, President and CEO, Unity Life and President, Foresters Canada Division. “[We’re] committed to creating opportunities for families where they can play and spend healthy family time together.”

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Philip Porado