After extensive community consultation and with the approval of the city to modify the park, in 2019 the WCA convened a playground committee. Working with the Parks Department, Earthscape Play (a Canadian natural playground manufacturer) and our Project Manager, the committee came up with the playground design shown below.
The design keeps all of the established trees and features a new decorative fence, a meandering pathway that ushers people into the park, a low berm to act as seating for the playfield/event area, bike and stroller parking, two new landscaped borders, and two picnic patios -- one of which is set right in the middle of the action!
In the play zone, the plan replaces the non-accessible sand surfacing with barrier free engineered wood fibre and triples the size of the play area. The play area is then divided into three free-form play lobes: a sand lot for tots with buried bones, a swing zone, and an area for the one-of-a-kind, main play feature -- an elk head with log antlers -- that will anchor the space and inspire creativity, imagination, and play for all ages.
The playground plan fills the tall order placed by stakeholders. It provides a natural playground with plenty of preschool amenities, and combined with the gazebo, gardens and open playfield, creates a 'heart' for Waskasoo: a place for formal and informal interaction and gathering. It will also kindle a sense of place through its prairie to parkland theme inspired by the presettlement condition of the land and the surrounding environment that is on the cusp between the rolling, grassy plains to the south -- represented by the field and berm -- and the rich and varied ecology of the northern wooded parklands -- represented by the mature trees, landscaped borders, and elk.