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September 17, 2009
Volunteers build Toronto’s first Natural Playground in McCleary Playground
  
Today, a City of Toronto playground is being transformed in only a single day into the City’s first “Natural Playground“. This was made possible thanks to $300,000 in funding and over 500 employee volunteers from ING DIRECT Canada, in partnership with the City of Toronto and Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds.

“This is a great example of the public and private sectors partnering to create a beautiful and functional green space,” said Toronto Mayor David Miller. “Thanks to these efforts, local residents will be able to enjoy an innovative playground that is beautiful, clean, safe and accessible to all.”

McCleary Playground, located in the Leslieville neighbourhood, will be home to an innovative playground where children can play and learn in a natural environment. The playground has been designed to remove all barriers to play and all elements meet or exceed safety standards. The revitalized park will feature a hill slide, climbing boulders, mature trees, a misting feature, musical instruments, sand play and even an upside-down tree. One of the few remaining large white elms to succumb to Dutch Elm Disease will be incorporated into the park in keeping with Bienenstock’s philosophy of including existing local natural elements into its designs.

"This playground is a natural fit for this very green community,” said Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth)."There is also great play value in the natural elements."

“We are very excited to have brought this idea to the City of Toronto and to help bring it to life with the energy and support of our employees, who volunteered to help build this new playground,” said Peter Aceto, President and CEO of ING DIRECT Canada. “We feel deeply rooted in the neighbourhoods where we live and work and created the Orange in the Community program as a hands-on way for us all to give back to the community.” ING DIRECT Canada has been giving back to Canadian communities for over 12 years through a variety of philanthropic and sponsorship activities.

Adam Bienenstock, President and Designer of Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, explained the benefits of the “Natural Playground” concept: “When we foster a child’s connection with nature, the child flourishes: rates of child obesity decrease, bullying rates and child injury rates decrease, while academic achievement rises, physical activity rates increase, barriers melt away and environmental stewards of the future emerge. We’re fortunate to find partners in ING DIRECT Canada and the City of Toronto who share our commitment and vision to reconnect our children with nature.”


About ING DIRECT Canada
ING DIRECT is Canada's leading direct bank with over 1.6 million Clients and more than $27 billion in total assets. ING DIRECT gives the power of saving to all Canadians by.offering high-value, simple products such as high interest savings accounts with no fees or service charges and low rates on mortgages. Low cost, index-based mutual funds are sold through ING DIRECT Funds Limited. ING DIRECT Canada has been operating since 1997, and has paid more than $3.9 billion in interest to Clients. ING DIRECT is open for banking 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at www.ingdirect.ca or by calling 1-800 ING DIRECT (1.800.464.3473).

About Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds
Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds are built by Gardens for Living Inc., a full service design and build playground company. The playgrounds create opportunities for all our children to play and learn -and engage the child in-full by using natural features and elements like rolling green landscapes, mature trees, slides embedded in hills, amphitheatres, garden beds, fallen logs, tree stumps for seating and tables, vertical logs for forts, musical instruments, art walls and other components for a wide range of open ended play options for children. Current clients include the YMCA, Jasper National Park, Toronto Community Housing Corporation with upcoming projects in Canada, USA and the UK. www.naturalplaygrounds.ca

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Media Line, 416-560-8726, pfrmediahotline@toronto.ca
Joanne Ingrassia, ING DIRECT Canada, 416-903-0101, jingrassia@ingdirect.ca
Bruce Sudds, Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, 416-931-3643, bruce@naturalplaygrounds.ca







 

 

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