VIDEO: New Custom Accessible Playground Billed As Outdoor Therapy

A one-of-a-kind playground is officially open in Windsor.

The new, brightly coloured play space sits between the John McGivney Children's Centre and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.

"It is absolutely amazing. It will be one of the pivotal moments in my career, that's for sure," says Elaine Whitmore, CEO of the John McGivney Children's Centre.

LiUNA Local 625 announced a $300,000 donation towards the project today while the group In Honour Of The One's We Love announced a further $200,000 donation today. The total cost of the project was about $800,000 and was funded completely by community donations.

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A new playground and outdoor wellness centre sitting between the John McGivney Children's Centre and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare in Windsor is officially unveiled on September 5, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

The custom playground is fully-accessible and includes the largest dedicated exercise station for seniors and rehab patients in Canada.

Regional Manager of New World Park Solutions, Mark Jones, who is from Windsor, is behind the construction of the new space.

"That is the largest outdoor fitness equipment playground for seniors and rehab in Canada — everything in here is customized; it's made specific for these two great places," says Jones.

Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare President and CEO Janice Kaffer calls the playground a type of medicine.

"The laughter is a wonderful medicine," says Kaffer. "There's actually laughter therapy that you can do that really just lifts your spirits in lots of ways. We do believe, and we've seen already some folks over there in the adult side watching and listening to the kids on this side — which is pretty cool."

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A new playground and outdoor wellness centre sitting between the John McGivney Children's Centre and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare in Windsor is officially unveiled on September 5, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Whitmore says the playground is about more than just fun and games.

"The whole playground entity itself, while it's recreation, it's also therapy as well too," says Whitmore. "It's therapeutic in that it can augment what's being done in the therapy sessions, be it physio therapy or occupational therapy for children."

The new space is meant for ages 1-100+ and the Hotel-Dieu Grace side has been named the LiUNA! 625 Outdoor Recreation and Wellness Centre.

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A new playground and outdoor wellness centre sitting between the John McGivney Children's Centre and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare in Windsor is officially unveiled on September 5, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Whitmore says the space perfectly fits the kids coming into the children's centre.

"It's so important to have an inclusiveness for kids that come through our doors who struggle with barriers in the community continuously and playgrounds are one of them."

The playground will be the centre of attention again on September 9 from 10am - 2pm for the annual Super Hero Day at the John McGivney Children's Centre.

 

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A new playground and outdoor wellness centre sitting between the John McGivney Children's Centre and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare in Windsor is officially unveiled on September 5, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)AM800-News-John-McGivney-Hotel-Dieu-Playground-Wellness-Centre-1

A new playground and outdoor wellness centre sitting between the John McGivney Children's Centre and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare in Windsor is officially unveiled on September 5, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)AM800-News-John-McGivney-Hotel-Dieu-Playground-Wellness-Centre-10

A $200,000 donation is made to the John McGivney Children's Centre as part of the unveiling of a new playground and outdoor wellness space on September 5, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)