In 2018, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities announced that it would build a universally accessible playground in Shouldice Park (Calgary, AB) as part of its Jumpstart Inclusive Playground Project initiative. Situated in northwest Calgary, Shouldice Park is a combination of a major athletic park and neighbourhood park, and surrounds the Shouldice Aquatic Centre and Shouldice Arena.
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities was launched in 2005 to address an issue of national concern: the inactivity of kids. National in scope, but local in its focus, Jumpstart helps kids in financial need participate in organized sports and physical activities. And through its Play Finds A Way movement, Jumpstart’s vision is to create large-scale, accessible playgrounds across Canada. Jumpstart will work with selected municipalities to design and build inclusive playgrounds for kids of all abilities, building at least one playground in every province and territory by 2023. Jumpstart has always been committed to supporting local communities and their goal is that these playgrounds will become a destination, and a gathering place, for communities to unite around play.
Leveraging universal design principals, Jumpstart’s mission is to ensure that these playgrounds become the standard for inclusivity by creating imaginative and accessible spaces where children of all abilities can share in the magic of play. Universal Design is a framework for design with the express goal of creating environments that are usable by the widest range of abilities. This framework influences the design of Inclusive Play environments to ultimately increase access, safety, comfort and participation within play environments. Because it benefits everyone regardless of condition, the playground becomes a truly multigenerational gathering space for community enjoyment, socialization, healthy bodies and imaginative fun, without eliminating the absolutely necessary fun and risk of a park playground.
Jumpstart worked with the City of Calgary, Habitat Systems and playground manufacturer Landscape Structures to create the city’s largest universally accessible playground at 15,000 square feet. A few of the playground’s inclusive design features include:
- Double Wide Ramps – those using wheelchairs can roll side-by-side and there’s enough room to change directions while on the ramps.
- Integrated Shade – children’s tolerance levels of sun and heat vary greatly, particularly for those who have sun allergies, or who take medications that increase susceptibility to sun poisoning and overheating. In addition, plenty of shade over the playstructure ensures that children can play comfortably for longer, and protects them from harmful UV rays.
- Rollerslide – children gain tactile and auditory experience as they slide. The rollers eliminate static electric build-up which allows children with cochlear implants to use the slide without fear of static electricity discharging into their hearing device.
- Sway Fun Glider – working together, children of all abilities create movement and vestibular input. The placement of the table in this element is key, creating an opportunity for children using a wheelchair to actively participate.
- Rhapsody Outdoor Musical Instruments – these wheelchair accessible components offer a unique way for kids and adults to be creative and express themselves both physically and emotionally.
- Sensory Play Centre – the Sensory Play Centre encourages children to explore visual variation, textures, learning activities, movement, auditory and tactile elements – a variety of panels engages the seven senses for children of all ages and abilities.
- OmniSpin Spinner – designed so that children using wheeled mobility devices can transfer or be transferred out of their devices and enjoy the rotation that comes from a merry-go-round experience. Riders and pushers cooperate to make this a fun vestibular experience and encouraging social play as well as the development of proprioception.
- We-Saw – varied seating options ensure children can find the “just right” movement experience; and seats are large enough to accommodate teens and adults allowing the experience to become truly universal.
- Molded Bucket Swing Seat with Harness – provides additional supports for children who might require trunk support while they swing.
- Pour-in-Place Rubber Surfacing – a seamless synthetic surface is wheelchair accessible and allows for creative variations in colour and patterns, making it the number 1 choice for truly inclusive unitary surfacing.
This playground is designed to create developmentally appropriate spaces for kids of all ages and abilities, in a sensory-rich environment that promotes physical, social and emotional development.
The Shouldice Park inclusive playground opened June 19th, 2019.
To learn more about this exciting project, contact us today.