City of Toronto and partners officially open revitalized McGregor Park playground

TORONTO, Aug. 9, 2014 /CNW/ - The Mayor of Toronto, the Councillor for Ward 37 Scarborough Centre, and City of Toronto staff joined project partners and community members today for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the one-day rebuild and opening of the revitalized McGregor Park playground.

The playground was revitalized through a partnership among the City of Toronto; Foresters, an international financial services provider; KaBOOM!, a non-profit dedicated to ensuring that children get the play they need to thrive; and Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA).

More than 200 volunteers came together this morning to build the new playground in less than eight hours.

"Parks, Forestry and Recreation is committed to providing healthy, fun and safe play spaces for kids to be kids," said Janie Romoff, Acting General Manager of the City's Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division. "We are thrilled to have the support and enthusiasm of wonderful partners and the local community for this great project in McGregor Park."

The old playground equipment was replaced with new slides, activity panels (one of which is accessible), climbers, a swing set with an accessible seat and a toss-up game. Additional enhancements to the playground area include new benches, an accessibility ramp and murals and plywood silhouettes painted by community youth. The design for the playground was inspired by drawings created by neighbourhood children at a Design Day held by KaBOOM! and Foresters in May.

Since 2006, Foresters has invested over $10 million with KaBOOM! to build almost 120 playgrounds across the United States and Canada by the end of 2015.

"A community's well-being starts with a child's well-being," said Tony Garcia, President and CEO, Foresters. "Playgrounds are important to communities, providing an open space where children can play safely. We believe that an investment in a playground is an investment in family well-being, and we are happy to provide the Scarborough community with a place that families can enjoy for years to come."

Community partner ACSA provided staff support and meeting space, and led the local fundraising efforts and recruitment of 100 volunteers for the build. ACSA also co-ordinated local businesses' in-kind donations of food and art supplies for the build day.

"Working together with residents in communities to make long term impact is what we strive to do at Agincourt Community Services Association," said Lee Soda, Executive Director. "The creation of a playground that has the imprint of the children and families that will spend time there speaks to the essence of true community engagement."

Parks, Forestry and Recreation prepared the site and provided staff support for design and construction, as well as co-ordination through its Partnership Development Unit, and will maintain the playground. 

Foresters
For 140 years, Foresters™, an international financial services provider, has fulfilled its purpose to enhance family well-being for its members and the communities where they live. A fraternal benefit society, Foresters offers quality life insurance and investment products, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities. Foresters shares its financial strength with more than one million members in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit foresters.com, facebook.com/foresters and techtimeout.com.

Foresters™ is the trade name and a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Rd., Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9. Its subsidiaries are licensed to use this mark.

KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to the bold new goal of ensuring that all children, particularly the 16 million American children living in poverty, get the balanced and active play they need to thrive. KaBOOM! has been a powerful champion for play since its founding in 1996, working with partners to build, improve and open more than 15,000 playgrounds, engage more than 1 million volunteers and serve more than 6.6 million children. KaBOOM! creates and catalyzes great places to play, inspires, empowers and leads play advocates, and educates and elevates the societal conversation about the importance of play in children's lives. For more information, visit kaboom.org/act or follow the conversation on why #playmatters at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.

Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA)
Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA) is a non-profit, multi-service agency at the heart of Agincourt addressing needs and empowering children, youth, newcomers, homeless and underserved communities to build a better tomorrow. Operating since 1974, ACSA provides a broad range of programs and services to the local community and greater Scarborough area. ACSA celebrates 40 years in the community with an emphasis on providing people a hand up versus a handout. For more information, visit www.agincourtcommunityservices.com, follow us on twitter @AginComServices or like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AgincourtCommunityServices

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 contact: Doug Bennet, Parks, Forestry and Recreation, 416-338-6608, 416-873-2113 (cell), dbennet3@toronto.ca