Here's another recent article from MyTownCrier.ca pertaining to the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park and Mike Holmes' involvement in rebuilding it. In March of this year, a part of the park was purposely set ablaze, and apparently a suspect has been arrested. On May 18, 2012, a groundbreaking ceremony was held with several public officials and Mike Holmes in attendance.
published in our Bloor West print
NEW BLUEPRINT: Contracting guru Mike Holmes, left, looks over several kid’s
drawings of Jamie Bell Adventure Playground with architect Janet Rosenberg. The
new play structure is expected to be completed by July 7.
Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park is receiving a helping hand from
one of Canada’s most famous handymen.
Mike Holmes, the host of Holmes
Makes it Right on Home and Garden Television Canada will be leading the
The wooden playground, originally built in 1998,
damaged in March in an act of arson. Toronto Police have arrested
19-year-old Christian Kupiecki and he has been charged with one count each of
arson and attempting to obstruct justice.
But the mood was jubilant and
celebratory at the May 18 groundbreaking, said local resident Robin Sorys, who
initially helped build the park as a member of the High Park Citizens Advisory
Committee the first time around.
“I’m just happy that this is all going
to work out,” she said. “It’s very exciting.”
Although the community will
not be physically constructing the playground as they did with the original
park, they will still be involved in the design.
“I know some of the
people are a little upset that it’s not going to be community built back like it
was in 1998, but here’s a great opportunity and it’ll be done by July 7,” said
Sorys. “So I’m very happy with the fact we’ve been able to do this.”
While the new
playground will stay true to the original concept, complete with a wooden castle
and big slide, there could be some improvements. There has been talk of adding
seating, as well as moving the slide to the south side to eliminate a perceived
There is also currently a problem with water drainage that
Holmes is looking into. Sorys said they are looking into treating that water so
it could be used to create a recreational area, which was part of the original
“Part of our phase three, if Jamie had still been with
us, was some kind of splash pad for the kids,” she said. “There’s no water at
all at that end of the park.”
Discussion on adding lighting is in the
preliminary stages, but that may be limited by funds.
Monies for the
reconstruction effort are coming entirely from donations, from organizations
such as Canadian Tire, Lowe’s and TD Bank Group.
All together more than
$80,000 was donated. The Sprott Foundation is also matching donations made to
the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation until June 30 up to a maximum of $30,000.
For Ward 13 councillor Sarah Doucette, who was a friend of High Park
Adventure Committee coordinator Jamie Bell, the most important aspect is staying
true to Bell’s original vision.
“For me personally, it’s amazing to be
able to help lead the charge to rebuild the playground because I knew Jamie and
I know his family,” said Doucette. “It’s not just a name on a plaque in a
Doucette said the arson sparked to the same community spirit
as when the playground was first built.
“The playground was planned and
built by volunteers, it wasn’t just choose a playground out of the catalogue and
throw it in,” Doucette said. “There was a lot of passion and
“Now we can rebuild this playground in a way that Jamie would
be proud,” she added. “And that means a lot to