Coquitlam designers have given Rochester Park new bones, inspired by old bones, in a $4.8-million remake that's inspiring young climbers burning off steam as the new school year begins.
A new wooden climbing structure that evokes a dinosaur skeleton, a water play area and a slide replace an old wading pool and grass.
The evolution is a big hit with young park patrons who helped design the revamp.
Coquitlam's Manager of Park Planning and Design Andre Isakov said the project was unique because children were consulted.
He hopes it inspires some to one day pursue landscaping or architecture.
"We're trying to be inclusive, but also creative and engaging with the children."
The remodelled park also includes a new viewing platform that overlooks the Fraser River and Surrey.
"We wanted to make space for contemplation. We also heard from teachers they wanted space to be able to bring kids outside for classes."
Isakov says natural elements — such as the water play area modelled after a river — are aimed to maintain the feel of outdoor peace in the middle of bustling surroundings.
"We are in a very urban environment, and to be able to just walk through the forest and walk through the trails or be able to take a book and read it on a bench in a park surrounded by trees, that's a unique experience,"
He hopes the park will offer people a place of calm as the city densifies, and sees children playing in the space as the biggest endorsement.
"That's the biggest reward. They are the biggest critics," he said.
With files from Margaret Gallagher