Residents of Moss Park in Toronto
will have a place to be active and connect with nature thanks to a unique collaboration among Coca-Cola, ParticipACTION, Parks Canada, Toronto Community Housing, and Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds. The project, which includes a soccer field, a large vegetable garden and increased seating facilities, leverages the organic landscape and will completely rejuvenate the outdoor space. The transformation, inspired by Georgian Bay Islands Park, will create an urban playground and a hub for community interaction when it is completed in the spring of 2012.
"Through the Coca-Cola Foundation, we are proud to be investing $125,000 in this important project which will encourage more active living through the building of a sustainable natural playground," said Nicola Kettlitz, President of Coca-Cola Canada."This project fits with our Live Positively Commitment to make a positive contribution in the communities where we operate.
Over the years, Moss Park's community's outdoor space has fallen into disrepair. The finished product will aim to re-introduce the outdoor space to the community, and engage residents in activities that were not previously possible. As the national voice of physical activity and sport participation in Canada, ParticipACTION recognizes the importance for communities to have accessible and engaging outdoor spaces.
"We are proud to be a part of this multi-sectoral collaboration to create a space where all residents can be active and connect with nature," says Kelly Murumets, President and CEO of ParticipACTION. "Research shows that children and youth who spend time outdoors are more physically active, which leads to improved health and well-being."
One of the fundamental components of this initiative was to ensure that the residents were included in the process from design conception to completion. With approximately 1,400 residents in the three-block radius defining the Moss Park community, members were invited to attend a series of meetings to discuss the plans for the redesign. During several consultations held over the course of three months, residents shared their input with Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds as to what elements they would like to see in the final design.
"The Moss Park Rejuvenation project is an amazing opportunity to provide opportunities for youth to connect with nature in an urban setting," says Alan Latourelle, Chief Executive Officer, Parks Canada. "As part of this collaboration, we will be offering a hands-on immersive experience for youth to spend a couple of days at Georgian Bay Islands National Park to build a deeper and long-term connection with our natural and historic heritage."
"This is an exciting opportunity for Toronto Community Housing and our Moss Park residents. Aside from hours of active fun for children of all ages, this partnership will also help build a safe and healthy community by reclaiming the outdoor space around the buildings," said Deborah Simon, Chief Operating Officer of Toronto Community Housing.
The Moss Park Rejuvenation project is a great example of how different partners with different objectives can work together to achieve one common goal. This has been a collective project since its inception and the partners are thrilled to make a difference in the lives of the residents of Moss Park. The hope is that others organizations including private, corporate, public, government and NGOs can see the benefit and the positive outcome of these types of partnerships.