City of Toronto celebrates new playground in The Elms Park

TORONTO, July 27, 2014 /CNW/ - Mayor Rob Ford, Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2 Etobicoke North) and City of Toronto staff joined children from the Etobicoke North community on Sunday to celebrate the opening of a T-Rex-themed playground in The Elms Park. The new playground was built over three days and filmed for an episode of the TVO Kids show called Giver.

Also participating in the celebration were Jacqueline Emes, community investment manager at Tangerine (sponsor); Rennata Lopez, producer of Giver TV/Sinking Ship Entertainment (sponsor); and Jean Woods, a volunteer with the Friends of The Elms Park.

"The playground rebuild with the Giver TV team was a great opportunity to engage youth to be a part of something lasting in their community," said Mayor Ford. "The three-day build created a sense of unity and gave community members insight into how the City puts together a new playground."

"What's so special about this playground is that it incorporates the ideas and creativity of local children," said Councillor Ford. "The sense of accomplishment will stay with the community for years to come."

Six children from the community were chosen as the Giver Team. The Giver Team, along with other community members, were consulted on what they wanted to see included in the park. The Giver Team appeared in the show and helped with the build from July 25 to 27, along with a large group of community volunteers. The episode will be broadcast later on TVO.

The Elms Park playground was rebuilt by the community in partnership with Sinking Ship Entertainment for the TVO Kids show Giver, which received funding from Tangerine. Tangerine employees also volunteered for the build.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with the City of Toronto again to build this kid-designed dinosaur-themed playground with kids and volunteers from the Rexdale neighbourhood," said Lopez. "This is a brand new public space that we hope they will enjoy for many years to come."

The new installation includes a T-Rex-themed double slide, stegosaurus climber, dino teeter-totter, dino relay race including balance beam and stepping stones, a swing set, dino-claw-shaped sandbox, a new garden and benches.

The new playground was made possible through the generous donations provided by Sinking Ship Entertainment and Tangerine. The total donated value is approximately $40,000. Councillor Ford contributed $5,000 and The Friends of The Elms Park also contributed through a fundraising campaign, using the online donation tool provided by the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation.

Parks, Forestry and Recreation provided site preparation, support for design and construction, and co-ordination through its Partnership Development Unit, and will provide ongoing maintenance.

"It was a pleasure working alongside the City of Toronto, Giver TV and Friends of The Elms Park to contribute to this imaginative project in the heart of the Rexdale community," said  Emes. "Thanks to an incredible crew of hard-working kids and volunteers, The Elms Park will now have a fun-filled play space that will continue to benefit local families and the community as a whole."

"We believe the new playground will be a wonderful thing for our community," said Woods. "Children love playgrounds and they love dinosaurs. T-Rex Park is the perfect theme for the Elms community in Rexdale. We are grateful to everyone who helped make this happen."

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http:www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

SOURCE City of Toronto

For further information: Media contacts: Parks, Forestry and Recreation media line, 416-560-8726, pfrmedialine@toronto.ca; At event: Doug Bennet, Parks, Forestry and Recreation, 416-873-2113