The Building of the Play Experience: Creating an Adventure Area

As I walked along the path last week in Terra Nova Park, my eyes gazing into the far distance, I spotted something new. Something large, something that had not been there before. It was in the area where the new Play Experience is being built. I quickened my pace, eager to see what was there.Logs–many of them, piled up, one on top of another in a seemingly haphazard way– a climber!

The play area has been several years in the making, as most good projects generally are. The Terra Nova Play Experience is a City of Richmond initiative which has been developed through copious design meetings with some highly creative City folk and consultants, community focus groups, and staff brainstorming sessions. Ian Lai, the Director of the Richmond Schoolyard Society and I were fortunate enough to be part of some of these brainstorming sessions which challenged us to think about our own childhoods and what outdoor experiences created life long memories. Conceptually, it fits perfectly with this unique outdoor landscape– using predominantly natural elements to erect physically challenging and exciting play spaces.

The preparatory work began long ago–land levelled, fences in place, areas cleared; a slide was installed to kick-start the project . Then, the work halted for several reasons and there was stillness in the area, until very recently. Now, machines are revving their engines. construction workers are planning and building and some of the materials for the equipment are laid out. Work has re-started!

Here are a few snapshots of the area:









I thought it would be interesting to chronicle the building of this amazing outdoor play area, alongside the documentation of the restoration of the Edwardian Cottage, as they are not only in extremely close proximity to one another in Terra Nova Rural Park, but they will be serving many of the same people, children!

It might be too early for some to hear the voices of children calling out to each other, laughing, crying and squealing out in delight in this play area, but not for me. I can hear their voices, see their movements and feel their energy. Can you?


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