Killarney Gardens is a housing Cooperative in South Vancouver. Thanks to Kaboom! an organization dedicated to providing children with places to play, Killarney Gardens received a new playground today.
After months of preparation, more than 100 volunteers from Kaboom!, The Home Depot Foundation, Projects In Place and several other businesses and organizations installed not only a playground, but a community garden, a habitat garden and several community murals. We started early this morning, at 6:30am, and worked like trojans for hours in the rain. By 2:30pm, just in time for the weather to clear, the playground was complete. While Kaboom provided the large play equipment, Projects In Place Director Bryce Gauthier designed the surrounding gardens, murals and several of the smaller play structures. As a whole, these elements are just as important as the play structure as they provide a range of different types of play (ie. play in nature; play that encourages artistic expression; play that forces children to move through a succession of spaces) encouraging kids to make their own, and much more imaginative decisions about where and how to play. These types of play elements ensure that kids use a greater proportion of a play area for longer.
The Jumping Boardwalks:
The Jumping Boardwalks are raised wooden structures people can play or sit on. We installed 5 boardwalks through a group of existing old pine trees and planted several habitat-friendly species underneath.
The planting at Killarney Gardens consists mainly of mature pine trees and grass. The planting designed by Projects In Place was made possible by a generous grant from EAGA (http://www.eaga.ca/). The planting design uses native plants that will create habitat opportunities for native insects, birds and small mammals, like squirrels. It also uses little water and does not require mowing.
We started digging holes early – right at 8am, but quickly found that plants were getting trampled by the number of volunteers, so we decided to wait a while. Of course, that meant we barely finished on time…
Kids Murals (kids using art to transform their environment)
One of the most inspiring parts of our community involvement projects is when we get to work with kids. When the fruits of their labour is an art piece that transforms a dark wall into a fun space, we feel pretty good. That is really what Projects In Place is all about. John Lennig from Big Top Sign Arts (http://www.bigtopsignarts.com/) is one of our favorite people to work with and when we conceived of the mural project, he was the only person we wanted to work with. You have seen John’s work throughout the city, you just don’t know it. For years he has been patiently keeping an old art form alive by hand painting business signs, menu boards, movie sets. His work is truly unique, and he has a great rapport with kids. The theme of the mural was “The Playground Of Our Dreams”, and kids were asked to draw their visions on panels.
The murals are drying and will be raised on Sunday. We’ll have some photos of them in place in an upcoming post.