Metro Morning

Kid brother-sister duo push for better playground in Jane and Finch neighbourhood

In a neighbourhood hurting for kid-friendly community spaces, a brother and sister at Jane and Finch are taking on the challenge themselves.

Siblings have sent more than 40 letters to upgrade playground at Oakdale Community Centre

In a neighbourhood hurting for kid-friendly community spaces, a brother and sister duo who live in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood are spearheading a push for an improved playground at a local community centre. 0:34

In a neighbourhood hurting for kid-friendly community spaces, a brother and sister duo who live in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood are spearheading a push for an improved playground at a local community centre.

The dynamic duo of Abigail Dunbar, 10, and her brother Joshua, 9, are collecting signatures and writing letters to public officials with the goal of bringing a brand new, accessible playground to their community. They're written more than 40 letters in six months.

They've sent letters to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mayor John Tory. 

A tour of the playground at Oakdale Community Centre, located off Jane Street just south of Finch Avenue West, shows why the kids are so motivated.

Abigail and Joshua went on a wide-ranging drive to get signatures, including a visit to a local fire station. (Submitted )

"We have a slide, stairs, a little ladder type of thing," said Dunbar. "It's really boring."

In a bid to upgrade their very basic sand-pit playground, Dunbar also wanted to make it more useable "to all kids, even kids with limitations."

Abigail's mother Carliss Dunbar says she's been blown away by that part of their plan.

"I'm stunned, and I feel like so proud because they not only think of themselves but they thought of the whole community."

To bring their vision to life, her kids are collecting signatures and writing letters. They've written more than 40 letters over the past six months, targeting everyone from Mayor John Tory to Premier Kathleen Wynne and a local school trustee. They've also managed to get more than 400 signatures for a petition. 

Rickesh Lakhani with Future Possibilities For Kids, is helping the Dunbars with their campaign. He's been impressed with their drive and leadership. 

Abigail Dunbar, 10, and her brother Josh are pushing for an improved playground at the Oakdale Community Centre. (Submitted)

"Josh and Abigail are great examples of what is possible when you say 'Hey, you're a leader, you can do great things in our community, and what is important to you?'"

So far, they've collected more than 500 signatures.

"Next we are hoping to get a response for government officials," said Abigail Thursday. 

Abigail and Joshua took their petition drive to Toronto Police Service's 31 Division. The next step? They're hoping for a response from public officials. (Submitted)