In Port Hope — 2 locations — Memorial Park & Agricultural Park
Trent Hills Now Editor’s Note: It appears that none of the playgrounds in Campbellford, Hastings or Warkworth have been added to the map.
While a new website is proving an invaluable public gateway for families to find accessible playgrounds in Ontario, it also has a profound personal meaning for a Peterborough parent who spearheaded its launch.
Julie Grant is the driving force behind the creation of the new Accessible Playgrounds Ontario website https://accessibleplaygroundsontario.ca/ that launched this fall. The site highlights and maps inclusive playgrounds across the province, and allows users to identify and share information about new locations they may find.
But it’s Julie’s two-year-old son, Jude, who is at the heart of this virtual venture. Jude has cerebral palsy and developmental delays, and currently receives treatment at Five Counties Children’s Centre.
“Many families take going to the playground for granted, but ours isn’t one of them,” says Julie. “For kids like Jude, barriers and obstacles to play – especially on playgrounds – can leave them on the sidelines missing out on fun, fitness, and friendship with others.”
As a mother, Julie is passionate about the right of Jude and other children of all ages and abilities to enjoy the benefits of play, especially on playgrounds. The idea for a virtual directory of accessible play structures came to Julie last spring. It resulted from her extensive web search that revealed big gaps in easy-to-find information on accessible play spaces in Ontario.
Initially Julie launched an Accessible Playgrounds Ontario Facebook group that became the basis for the website. With the help of family, friends and Facebook followers, Julie began identifying and documenting accessible playgrounds across Ontario, especially ones with rubber or turfed surfacing, which make using them easier to access for kids in wheelchairs or mobility devices. She also reached out to dozens of Ontario municipalities to get information about their play structures. Her new website now includes a directory of 200+ accessible playgrounds that lists locations, descriptions and photos.
“My sweet boy loves to crawl, sing, play with water and explore the world around him,” Julie says. “And although he doesn’t yet walk (he’s trying hard), or talk and is delayed, he still deserves the ability to play at a playground in some capacity. Every child deserves that, and this website will hopefully make these spaces easier to find for families.”
Inclusive playgrounds can have a pivotal role in letting children of all abilities engage in the joyful act of play, forging connections and camaraderie from an early age. Beyond nurturing physical, cognitive and social development, accessible champion the values of acceptance and unity.
See also: https://accessibleplaygroundsontario.ca/
About Accessible Playgrounds Ontario
Accessible Playgrounds Ontario is a parent-inspired project that aims to ‘do more’ and ‘do better’ for inclusion and accessibility for all. The website serves as an easy-access point of entry for families to find the locations, features and photos of accessible play spaces in Ontario. The goal is to break down barriers to inclusive play, providing benefits to children of all ages and abilities.
About Five Counties
Five Counties Children’s Centre has been dedicated to supporting children and youth with physical, developmental and communications needs for nearly 50 years. Last year, Five Counties served more than 6,200 children/youth in its region – the highest number of annual clients in its history. In partnership with families and communities, the Centre provides outpatient and community-based services with the aim of enriching the independence and quality of life for those it serves. Five Counties treats clients from infancy to their late teens, offering physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and more. Five Counties provides treatment at its locations in Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg, Campbellford and Minden.
Media Release from Five Counties Children’s Centre