City parks are a place where children from all cultures naturally play together. John is looking to take this one step further by creating a simple way for residents of different communities to share their childhood games and celebrating the diverse culture of the North York Centre.
The first attempt to do so will be at Olive Square, located near the southeast corner of Yonge & Finch, a location with a very large number of residents of Korean, Persian, Chinese and other heritage. Many of these local residents are children living in high rise condominiums without their own backyard. Creating an opportunity for outdoor activity nearby will be a healthy addition to their neighbourhood.
When Olive Square was being planned, prior to its opening in 2012, the residents asked that we close down the laneway to the east of the park and turn it into green space. It seemed like a simple enough request, but became much more complicated to implement than one might imagine.
Finally, through some continued conversations, the elusive solution became obvious: Leave the area paved, but shut it down to traffic, and paint children’s street games on the surface. As our ward has residents representing many different cultures, we wondered if there was an equivalent of Hopscotch played by children in other countries. The answer, it appears, is “yes,” and we are preparing some designs to bring out to the community. We look forward to sharing these ideas with residents in the coming months.