Kids design and build playgrounds for Symington Place

Kids design and build playgrounds for Symington Place

June 13, 2013

On Friday June 7, 2013, the final day of the Giver playground build was completed at Symington Place.�

Over three days, a group of neighbourhood kids built two playgrounds in their community. Under the supervision of approximately 50 volunteers, and in partnership with Sinking Ship Entertainment and TVO, the TVO Kids television program Giver was filmed in the community.�

A resident volunteer carries woodchips to the playground

Located at 1884 Davenport Road, the 261-unit community consists of one 9-storey apartment building and 69 townhouses. �Symington Place is home to many families, including young children, but lacking in a playground for the residents to enjoy.�

�I�ve been a resident for 15 years and I think the playground is a good idea because our kids didn�t have anything to play with here,� said Vera Dorego, Tenant Rep and resident at Symington Place. �We would sit outside, and kids would play on the street and we would see cars coming the wrong way and everything. This is phenomenal what they are doing here. They are excited and we are so excited and this is an important project for our community. Toronto Community Housing has helped us a lot here.��
Graham Leah and Jonah Schein (left to right) join the Giver kids on a short break away from the building

Each playground was creatively designed with the entire city in mind. Created for younger children, a roadmap of Toronto�s various highways acted as a miniature raceway track for kids to move small toy vehicles along the various roads. Built for children of all ages, the second playground was a small scale version of the some of the city�s highlights, including a climbable CN Tower, a New City Hall play table, a miniature Casa Loma, and a Rogers Centre sandbox.�

Toy vehicles brave Toronto�s many highways in one of the two playgrounds

�The fact that we have a bunch of different community partners getting together to work together towards something that�s building a community is really what Toronto Community Housing is trying to do in terms of being more than just a landlord that provides housing,� said Graham Leah, Vice President, Asset Management.

�This open space is something that brings the community together that is the definition of creating a community. I�m most impressed that we are dealing with an organization that involved the children. This has come about because children became involved to lend their creativity. The children and youth getting together to design and work together is an accomplishment in itself. It�s gravy that it�s going to go on TV and hopefully inspire other kids to want to be part of their communities and perhaps replicate this type of thing. It�s an accomplishment for Symington Place, Toronto Community Housing, as well as all the other partners who hopefully had a positive experience working with us.��

Graham Leah thanks the staff, volunteer and Giver crew for all their hard work

Giver engages children to give back and get active with their communities with the realization that every playground has a story reflecting the community that surrounds it. Giver helps empower kids to believe that they have the power to change the communities they live in, for the better.�

Giver crew and young residents get ready for the grand opening of the playground

�I used to work in Symington Place, so this community is very dear to my heart,� said Jonah Schein, MPP (Davenport). �Many places in the city require extra support that has been lacking in the past. This playground build is a positive step to make sure that the kids have a safe place to grow up with services. It�s especially positive that the community seems to have taken a lead initiative in pulling this together. We really want to see all hands on deck. We want to see all community partners involved in making sure that people have affordable safe housing and safe neighbourhoods.�

A residents laughs as she enjoys her first ride on the new playground

�Building the park is a really good idea for our neighbourhood,� said Elijah, 13, resident and part of Giver cast. �We have never had a park that is our own considering the other park that�s right beside the one we are building we can�t go there because it�s for a private daycare. Every time kids go there, they get kicked out. I helped with the designing of the actual park itself, the painting, some of the building, also the mural for the Toronto skyline.�

Staff and volunteers look on while Symington Place residents and their families enjoy the new playground

Toronto Community Housing staff, ING Direct and other qualified vendors with professional experience building and maintaining playgrounds also offered their volunteer experience to the Giver crew.�

To learn more about Giver, please�click