|Location:||1455 Napier St.|
|Partners:||Grandview Housing Co-op|
|Sponsors:||Walid Salman from Krahn Engineering, Habitat Systems Inc., West Coast Wood Slabs, CBR Broda Paints, HD Supply Brafasco, Rempel Bros. Concrete Ltd., and Uprising Breads|
On a sunny day in September 2014, Projects in Place helped the Grandview Housing Co-op rebuild their lower and upper playgrounds, including constructing concrete stepping stones, bench seating, a deck, a living fence and a water play station, as well as plenty of painting and planting.
Rebuilding this playground created an outdoor space for the Co-op children that integrates exploration and fitness into their day. A natural gathering space carved out for the community, parents and fellow Co-op members were close at hand so the kids’ play was both safe and convenient.
The mornings were cool but the volunteers quickly warmed up as the sun peaked over the top of the 3-storey building. The mornings started with inquisitive kids (from the Co-op, and kids of parent volunteers) who would inspect our work before being whisked away for a few hours of play. This was great motivation. On Saturday afternoon, many of us were excited to see a concrete truck drive in with a huge crane overhead! Going up over the trees, a hose was maneuvered into molds for the playground’s stepping stones, deck platform, and slide structure. As the concrete dried, the kids loved being able to write their names and embed colourful marbles as a way to remember the build day.
Sunday saw the playground come together with the vibrant colours of the assembled blue deck, sanded green posts, and the playground’s bobble rider. There were many wheelbarrow trips hauling pea gravel and soil. We also put on our green thumbs planting dozens of grasses, strawberries, and vines into the ground. At the day’s end, face painted kids were finally invited to enjoy the playground that had largely been off limits to them during the summer months. Adults relaxed under the crab-apple tree on the locally sourced wood slab, kids drew on new chalkboards, and Co-op cats - Friend and Hawksley - poked their feline heads in the planted grass.
This project was a result of the amazing build volunteers who lent their time, sweat, and expertise; the consultants who were a wonderful resource regarding playground and structural engineering matters; the fantastic sponsors who helped us realize our vision; and the Co-op’s Playground committee who put in a lot of time and effort into overseeing the design and preparation work before the build days.
"Their passion for greening the inner city has helped develop new opportunities for the residents of the DTES and brought the idea of sustainability to the inner city."