Toronto siblings fight for better neighbourhood playground
Published Saturday, July 9, 2016 10:00PM EDT
A young brother and sister duo has started a petition and called on dozens of public officials – including the prime minister – to improve the unsafe playground in their often-neglected Toronto neighbourhood.
Abigail Dunbar, 10, and her brother Joshua Dunbar, 9, have been making the most of their crumbling playground in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood since they were little. But now that they’re older, they recognize the dangers that come with rotting wood and protruding nails.
The playground at their local community centre is “slanted” and could collapse, they said.
And the only fun thing about the structure’s ladder “is that it shakes,” Joshua said.
The siblings and their mother, Carlis Dunbar, say they’ve been taking the bus and the subway to a neighbourhood on the other side of the city, “so we can have playtime.”
Frustrated, Abigail and Joshua started a petition and wrote letters to school board officials, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and even the Prime Minister’s Office.
The kids’ MP and Wynne wrote them back and promised support, but nothing else. The siblings also presented their proposal at a Toronto Community Housing meeting, where they got a round of applause, but no financial commitments.
But this weekend, the kids finally got some encouraging news. They met with Toronto Mayor John Tory, who promised that a full review of their neighbourhood’s playgrounds will be done by January 2017.
Abigail says she wants better outdoor spaces for every child in her community.
“I would like to have on it a wheelchair ramp, an accessible swing, big slides,” she told CTV News.
Abigail and Joshua say they won’t stop fighting for a new playground until it is built.
“Joshua said they aren’t going to stop,” their mother said. “He said he wants the Queen to listen, everyone to listen.”
With a report from CTV’s Peter Akman