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Accessibility on display at this inclusive playground in N.E. Calgary


In celebration of AccessAbility Week, a playground manufacturer is highlighting an inclusive playground in the northeast Calgary community of Tuxedo Park.

Playgrounds have undergone a significant transformation in recent years, with a growing emphasis on inclusivity. However, the movement is far from finished.

On Thursday, playground designers and park staff participated in a special event at the park learning about accessibility features firsthand.

Calgarians of all ages and abilities have already been enjoying the park, located at 202 29 Avenue N.E., which is less than a year old.

Jill Moore, a former Paralympian athlete who now works for playground designer Landscape Structures, shared her insights on inclusive playgrounds.

Born with spina bifida, she often faced challenges playing with other children due to inaccessible playgrounds.

"Whenever I went to a playground that hadn't been designed with accessibility in mind, I felt like I didn't belong," Moore said.

"Now, I'm working to ensure all children have the opportunity to play and make friends."

The Tuxedo Park playground features several innovative designs including the We-Go-Round, a merry-go-round that accommodates wheelchairs; the Cozy Dome where kids with sensory processing disorders can have some quiet time and the We-Go-Swing, an inclusive swing that can accommodate mobility devices.

Creating inclusive playgrounds requires more space due to wider walkways and larger equipment. 

Landscape architect Kyle Mendritzk says this likely means the majority of new inclusive playgrounds will be more prevalent in new developments.

"Newer communities are more likely to integrate accessibility from the outset," said Mendritzki,

"Accessibility is becoming a top priority in new park developments."

Kendall Bapton, a park development technician for the City of Airdrie, echoed this sentiment.

"As Airdrie continues to grow, these inclusive playgrounds are the way of the future," Bapton said. "They ensure all members of our community have access to enjoyable play spaces."

While accessibility is crucial, Moore emphasized the importance of maintaining a fun and challenging environment for all children.

 "I don't want to be segregated," she said. "I want to play alongside everyone else and build friendships."

The City of Calgary currently has 12 inclusive playgrounds, with a long-term goal of having at least one within five kilometres of every resident.

Anyone wanting to learn more about Calgary's inclusive and accessible playgrounds can visit the city's website. Top Stories

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