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Rebuilding A Special Community Castle

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Mike Holmes and crew; Image, Greg Robinson
Image: Greg RobinsonLast March a fire all but destroyed a very special playground in Toronto.

Last March a fire all but destroyed a very special playground in Toronto.

The city’s High Park children’s castle had been lovingly built by volunteers. Its destruction resulted in an overwhelming community response–including a day-long community celebration.

Celebrity contractor Mike Holmes stepped in with his crew to offer to lead the rebuild–an elaborate new playground structure.

Holmes filmed the rebuild for his television show, Holmes Makes It Right. It’s scheduled to air later this month.

The description for that episode reads:

When a beloved castle playground in Toronto’s High Park is damaged by fire, “Mike Holmes is fuming.

“He leads a legion of crewmembers, engineers, architects and firefighters into battle against extreme heat and construction challenges, all while the clock is ticking.

“With help from the community, Mike and his team overcome major setbacks to rebuild a brand new castle that’s fit for any King or Queen, teaching kids that they can rise above any obstacle and build their own kingdoms.”

After the fire in early March, community businesses and residents pledged to rebuild it. Led by Mike Holmes and City Councillor, Sarah Doucette, Holmes and

Castle crew; Image Greg Robinson
Image: Greg Robinson

his crew completed the construction through some of this summer’s hottest weather.

They hurried to complete the work that needed to be done before hundreds of community volunteers arrived on Sat., July 7. The volunteers put the finishing touches on the elaborate structure.

The day turned into a true community festival, with teams of volunteers assisting in painting and landscaping the new structure, while local businesses hosted a barbecue and craft area nearby for members of the community to enjoy.

“The response has truly been incredible,” said Councillor Doucette. “Mike Holmes and his crew withstood oppressive heat to complete the construction on time, working well into the nights when it was cooler, and the support from everyone in the community has been unbelievable.”

Related links
High Park “Castle” To Be Rebuilt (TKN)
Mike Holmes To Help Rebuild High Park Children’s Castle (TKN)
A brief (3:49) news segment on Global TV talking to Mike Holmes during the rebuild (Note: this video is preceded by a McDonald’s commercial.)

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
One of the lessons that Mike Holmes and his team identified is that kids “can rise above any obstacle and build their own kingdoms.”

What other lessons can people learn from this story?

Reading Prompt: Demonstrate Understanding
TKN first reported this story when the fire happened, and then did a second follow-up story about the castle re-build. These stories can be found through the links above.

Read through all three of TKN’s stories about the castle. Summarize the situation at the park into three parts: beginning, middle and end. Make sure to identify the most important ideas.

Primary
Demonstrate understanding of a variety of texts by identifying important ideas and some supporting details (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Junior
Demonstrate understanding of a variety of texts by summarizing important ideas and citing supporting details (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Intermediate
Demonstrate understanding of increas- ingly complex texts by summarizing important ideas and citing a variety of details that support the main idea (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Grammar Feature: Expressive Writing
The overview of Mike Holmes’ upcoming show is full of expressive adjectives and verbs. Read the overview and highlight all of the words that make this piece of writing exciting and interesting.

When a beloved castle playground in Toronto’s High Park is damaged by fire, “Mike Holmes is fuming.

“He leads a legion of crewmembers, engineers, architects and firefighters into battle against extreme heat and construction challenges, all while the clock is ticking.

“With help from the community, Mike and his team overcome major setbacks to rebuild a brand new castle that’s fit for any King or Queen, teaching kids that they can rise above any obstacle and build their own kingdoms.”