Category Archives: Jamie Bell Adventure Playground

Jamie Bell Adventure Playground Photo Shoot

Earlier this week, the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in Toronto’s High Park was partially destroyed by arson. The community is outraged and vows to rebuild. I’m sure the playground will rise again and reclaim its former magical hold on kids and adults alike.

Below are four slideshows I posted on flickr today. The shots were taken about a year ago on a cold frosty March morning. Click the text links or the photos themselves to activate the slideshows.

The Towers

The Equipment

The Etchings

The Paintings

All the best on the rebuilding.

How do we stop the Jamie Bell Playground madness?

For about a year now, I’ve been compiling media stories on vandalism and arson in playgrounds with the intent of writing about this contagion. I signed myself up for a discussion group on the topic on LinkedIn but haven’t really created the time to participate though many others have as they seek solutions to the problem.

The stories I’ve read frequently report on destructive activities in small towns. Cities are not immune but proportionately, I’ve read fewer stories about vandalized playgrounds in urban centres. This may be because these kind of stories are not covered as much by big city media. Invariably, the playgrounds involved are of the composite plastic and metal variety. For these structures, a raging fire’s superheat results in twisting metal and plastic melting into a dripping caustic goo.

On St. Patrick’s Day the senseless madness struck Toronto’s Jamie Bell Playground in the city’s beloved High Park, the downtown green space sans pareil. Here’s what it looks from a Toronto Star photo.

Source: Toronto Star. Click image to enlarge.

This one really hit home for me. On a business trip to Toronto last March, I made an early morning pre-work visit to Jamie Bell Playground just to check out one of the funkier downtownish play spaces. Though I traipsed through mud on a frosty frost morning I wasn’t disappointed. This is a Robert Leathers special on a grand scale. They can be found in communities throughout North America – customized, wooden playgrounds built with community engagement and sweat of the brow labour.

I took a lot of photos that cold March morning thinking of the day I’d get to take my kids there. It was a soft, sweet and dreamy start to a long business day.

Source: PlayGroundology. Click image to enlarge.

The now burned towers once looked like this. I’m on the road again today and only have access to these thumbnails. I’ll post a set of Jamie Bell photos to my flickr account later in the week.

It’s such a despicable act of cowardice as it confronts children with senseless destruction. More than 2,000 people have facebooked the Toronto Star story. Jamie Bell will rise again through the same community spirit that created it in the first place.

Another photo of the destruction from Torontoist.

Source: Torontoist. Click image to enlarge.

More photos from Torontoist here

Here’s PlayGroundology’s original Jamie Bell post

Let’s hope the perpetrators are caught. This kind of senseless destruction is happening in communities across the US, Canada and the UK. Charred remains are a terrible way to start a day.

Play Is

Play is love is play is love
Love is play is love is play

I’ve been reading, thinking, doing more about play over the last couple of years. With three 5 and unders in the house, we have abundant opportunity to immerse ourselves in this imaginative and boisterous world.

I have no formal education in the fields of health, psychology, or physical education, disciplines which touch on correlations between well-being and play. Like many parents, my connections with play are visceral – intuitive understanding at the gut level, physical engagement and abandon.

Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that our capacity to play is built on our experiences of moments of spontaneous playfulness. Cumulatively, these moments create a fertile ground where play can take root and flourish.

Of course, I have no scientific evidence to base this on other than smiles, laughter and happy faces. It’s more of a feeling. What I can offer into the evidentiary record is one short poem on spontaneous play.

pinkies plus eight

i kiss exquisite toes
lingering wriggles on my lips
ten perfectly sugared
piggies
dancing on their tips

i taste delicious toes
watering morsels in my mouth
ten fragrant smiling
petals
blossoming down south

i dream laughing toes
tickling twinkles in my eyes
ten warm happy babies
for our nellie-rose surprise

Happy play moments.

Photos – Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, High Park, Toronto, Canada

In Toronto, A Kids’ Eye View

Triumphal arches of play bridge the toddlers’ and big kids’ play areas at the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in Toronto’s High Park. Vertical columns and cross beams are alive with kid’s eye view watercolours.

Click for slideshow of playground watercolours and imagine yourself nestled in the small dell encircled by woods. This is the best open air permanent exhibit I’ve seen in sometime. Enjoy.

Stay tuned for more on the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in upcoming PlayGroundology posts.