Canadian values at playPublished on June 19, 2017

Photo by: Ted Simpson

Like most kids her age, eleven-year-old Amelia Singh knows a thing or two about playgrounds. So, when Amelia learned that she could volunteer to help build the largest playground in Canada as part of a Canada 150 project, she jumped at the opportunity.

“I thought it would be really cool to build a playground for lots of people in my community,” explains Amelia. “I can say ‘I built that’ and people can use it for a long time to come.”

The project was spearheaded by TVOntario children’s show Giver, which sees real kids learning about hard work and community engagement by helping to build playgrounds in their own Ontario neighbourhoods. It went national in scope with kids coming from across the country to build a playground in the shape of Canada, filled with structures like a lighthouse, a log cabin and an Inukshuk to represent the country’s different regions. 

The pan-Canadian nature of the experience was clearly a highlight for Amelia. She worked on the Nunavut part of the playground with several other children: three from Ottawa, one from Toronto and two from Nunavut, which offered a cultural learning experience, too. “They go hunting in Nunavut, and they have no trees,” informs Amelia. 

Along with meeting new friends and learning about Canada, Amelia found the hands-on volunteer work tough to beat. “I got to use a spinning saw and I got to do stuff that professional people get to do,” she notes enthusiastically.

Amelia’s mom, Viola Hoo, was impressed by the community experience afforded the children who took part. “It was amazing to see all of the kids having fun together, and they all came for the joy of helping build a playground that everyone can play on, no matter their age or capability.”

But what really stood out for Amelia was the chance to create something that would give long-term enjoyment to numerous other people, and she can’t wait for the official opening on July 1st. 

“Knowing I had a part in building the playground makes me feel happy,” she says. “I like the idea that I get to help other kids and I’m going to feel so proud and excited at the ribbon cutting.”

It will be a Canada Day to remember for Amelia, born of a project which showed the power of kindness, respect and working together – real Canadian playground values at their best.

Catherine Clark

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