Toronto

A 'cooler space than your normal playground' is sliding into CityPlace in 2019, councillor says

In a city starved for indoor play areas for children during Toronto's harsh winters, a new recreation space planned for the downtown area boasts a "cooler space than your normal playground," a city councillor says.

Toronto's 2nd indoor playground will be designed by the Ontario Science Centre

An indoor playground in the new Canoe Landing Community Recreation Centre will be designed by the Ontario Science Centre. (ZAS Architects)

In a city starved for indoor play areas for children during Toronto's harsh winters, a new recreation space planned for the downtown area boasts a "cooler space than your normal playground," a city councillor says. 

The indoor playground will be built as part of a new community centre in CityPlace, with completion scheduled for fall 2019. 

Coun. Joe Cressy, whose ward includes CityPlace, announced Tuesday the Ontario Science Centre has signed on to help design the indoor playground in the Canoe Landing Community Recreation Centre.

"It's all about encouraging learning as part of play," Cressy said of the playground's potential use of light, colours, bugs and even a possible rainforest. 

CityPlace is home to some 20,000 residents in 24 high-rise towers. Many have been forced to wait years for these promised amenities.

Plans for a community centre, two schools (one public, one Catholic), two child-care facilities with 52 spots, two large parks and a library were finalized in the 1990s. 

"One of the things we hear a lot in downtown Toronto, if you're living in a condo, the community centre becomes your playground, just like the park becomes your backyard," Coun. Joe Cressy told CBC Radio's Here and Now.

"We currently don't have adequate park space or community facilities to service that growing population."

This 160,000-square-foot structure in CityPlace will contain the new Canoe Landing Community Recreation Centre, a public and Catholic elementary school, and a child-care centre. (ZAS Architects + Interiors)

Work on an empty lot that remained vacant for decades has begun.

The indoor playground will be 15,000 square-feet and designed for children aged 12 and under.

Cressy said the space will be "more creative and more self-directed" because of the science centre's input. 

He is hopeful the indoor playground will make the city's downtown area more "livable" for young families who have been priced out of Toronto's steep real estate market. 

"It's about designing play spaces that are more than just places for kids to have fun, but also spaces for kids to explore their creativity, to learn while they're playing," said Cressy. 

With files from CBC Radio's Here and Now

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