Community Green Spaces are our Common Ground My Organized Chaos Disclosure: This post is sponsored by TD and the TD Common Ground Project Memories of when I was a kid mainly consists of outdoor play. Behind the area that I lived in, there was a massive green space that didn’t have a traditional playground yet was full of so much nature, it forced us kids to use our imagination. We’d build forts pretend we built a new town, hunt through nature for ‘food’ to play restaurant, and watch small animals in their habitat. Today, because urban life is just a little more urban than it used to be, kids’ outdoor spaces usually means a traditional playground with a fun structure. Yet studies have shown that kids need more than that. TD hosted the TD Common Ground Think Tank, a roundtable bringing together a select group of green space experts to share their perspectives and discuss what is needed to create heathy, vibrant and inclusive spaces for future generations of Canadians. “Kids create, imagine and collaborate in green spaces” says Marc Cadotte, a University of Toronto professor of Urban Forest Conservation and Biology. “We tend to think of parks as playgrounds with artificial play structures, but we should think more of the creative and enjoyment for children in having more natural elements: climbing trees; picking up logs looking for insects; wading through brush.” Since it’s been discovered that kids are spending less time outside playing than their parents did, there needs to be that focus on a full sensory experience with a biodiverse environment, especially within an urban area. Our green spaces are where we meet, talk and play – and find common ground. Which is why it’s been a fantastic year for Canada’s 150th, since TD invested to help in the revitalization of over 150 parks and green spaces across the country to get them ready to bring people together. It’s called the TD Common Ground Project. Behind the scenes so many communities across Canada saw the re-development of green spaces this year, thanks to this initiative. Calgary Alberta saw the planning, work and completion of a natural playground Ralph Klein Regional Park, which already features a man-made wetland, water edge trails, an urban orchard and an award-winning Environmental Education Centre. This new playground is not just a play structure but built entirely from natural materials which includes log and timber climbing structures, hill slides, water and sand play features and arbor hide-outs. It’s a site that allows kids to fully immerse and learn from their surroundings – that full sensory experience.