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High Park Residents Unite To Rebuild “Castle”

Castle playground in High Park, Toronto
High Park castle playground. Image: Greg Robinson

People in the community of High Park in Toronto have come together to rebuild a special playground there.

On March 17, an early-morning blaze destroyed a section of the castle-like wooden playground in the park. Police and fire officials are investigating to find out the cause of the fire.

In the meantime, local residents and business owners are already actively planning and raising funds to rebuild the one-of-a-kind structure.

The Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, where the “castle” was, is in High Park, just north of Lake Ontario in Toronto. It opened in 1999 and is named after a Toronto resident whose idea it was to build the unique playground.

The design, construction and funding for the original project came entirely from the community. Parts of the structure even include artwork submitted by local children.

Children's artwork on the castle
Children's artwork on the castle. Image: Greg Robinson

Now members of the community are pulling together again to rebuild the portions damaged by the fire. And it’s not just local residents who have offered to assist; Canadian Tire has pledged a significant donation towards the project.

“Perhaps the biggest lesson that children can learn from this situation is that while bad things can happen, their neighbours and organizations in the community care and want to make things better,” said Sarah Van Lange, spokesperson for Canadian Tire.

“The team at Canadian Tire heard about the fire last weekend and immediately thought about how we could help. We are pledging $50,000 to support the rebuild of the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground.”

Toronto City Councillor Sarah Doucette said that shortly after the fire her office was contacted by firefighters, unions, people who had originally worked on the playground, and their children and grandchildren—all with offers to help rebuild the playground or donate money.

“When something tragic happens, it brings people together,” said Doucette. “Working together to build something, like the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, makes them all owners of it. When you own something you tend to take special care of that item, and if that thing is damaged by someone, such as this playground was by fire, people come together to say ‘you can’t do that.'”

Doucette added that when plans are finalized to rebuild the playground, students, their parents, and other members of the community will be able to volunteer to help rebuild it.

In the meantime, the parts of the playground undamaged by the fire remain open.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
A common expression that you may have heard before is: “Many hands make light work.”

What does this expression mean? How does this expression relate to the article about the castle playground? Can you connect this expression to an experience in your own life?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
Doucette is quoted as saying that when something bad happens to a community project, people come together to say, “you can’t do that.”
Since no one actually spoke those words out loud, what does she mean?

Use stated and implied information and ideas in texts to make simple inferences and reasonable predictions about them (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Compound words and hyphenated words
Compound words are two words that are combined into one, such as “doghouse” and “basketball”.
A hyphenated word connects two (or more) words together with a hypen (-). An example of a hyphenated word is “merry-go-round”.
Find the compound and hyphenated words in the article and then think of your own.