In 2017, Canada will mark 150 years since confederation. Canadians across the country will gather to join in a year of celebration.  To celebrate this historical milestone, TD is supporting local municipalities through the TD Common Ground Project, which aims to create a legacy by revitalizing over 150 green spaces across Canada to bring us all together.. This project will build vibrant infrastructure and programming to meet the distinct needs of different communities. In Calgary, the Ralph Klein Regional Park will be receiving a new nature oriented play area within the park.

Ralph Klein Regional Park is one of Calgary’s most unique parks. At 156 hectares (385 acres), the park wetland is the largest constructed storm water treatment wetland in Canada. The wetlands surround the 30-hectare park that is designed as an intelligent landscape combining public art and unique educational programming to facilitate enquiry-based learning. In fact, over 10,000 program participants (think school kids and camps) visit the park every year (and it’s only been around since 2012).

While Ralph Klein Park is already quite popular, The City of Calgary wanted to add a play area as well. The City of Calgary has participated in studies looking at children and play. Participaction recently put out a study giving Canada a D- in children’s health. Much of this can be circled back to play or lack thereof. By studying the barriers to play and how play helps kids developmentally, the City of Calgary has determined that they would like to focus on natural, more open-ended play spaces that focus on fine motor skills, creative play and solitary play.

The park is surrounded by storm water ponds which are beautiful but out of bounds for park visitors. Designers are hoping to bring water elements into the play area so that kids can enjoy water play safely. Throughout the play area, natural elements from the surrounding area will be used. The focus of the area will be more open ended, non-prescriptive play that will keep kids of a wide range of ages engaged visit after visit. Accessibility has also been kept front of mind so that all Calgarians will be able to visit and enjoy the new area.

Since so many visitors to the park are school children, The City of Calgary did engagements with schools who had visited in the past. They asked kids what THEY wanted to see in a great natural playground. While all suggestions won’t make the final cut, they are trying to use the kids’ ideas where they can. Maybe no snake pit, though. And yes, that was one of the suggestions!

A final design is planned to be released on June 28th with construction to follow through the summer. Most elements of the play area will be built offsite and installed once they are complete. The park will reopen in the Fall (September or October) timeframe.

I can’t wait to see what the designers come up with. All we know so far is that there won’t be any plastic dinosaurs. Can you imagine being one of the school children that were part of the engagements when they see the new natural playground? How cool would it be if YOUR idea was one of the ones used? Ralph Klein Regional Park is an amazing amalgamation of science, art and nature that I will be visiting again soon (without Cooper because we didn’t realize you can’t bring dogs. Ooops!)

Plus, this project fits perfectly into the overall TD Common Ground Project. Bringing people together of all ages and abilities together to enjoy our beautiful Canadian Parks as part of the Canada 150 celebrations of 2017.

More info about Ralph Klein Park:

12350 84 St. S.E.

October – April:
Tuesday to Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday: noon – 4 p.m.
Sunday, Monday and statutory holidays: CLOSED
May – September:
Daily, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Closed statutory holidays

No dogs allowed.

This post is sponsored by TD and the TD Common Ground Project

 

To learn more about the Ralph Klein Park project, please visit:

TD Common Ground Project

 

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