By Brian O’Neill
Runners taking part in the Canadian Tire Run for Playgrounds are also raising money and awareness for Toronto’s parks.
The run takes place on Oct. 12 at High Park. It consists of three separate events: an 8 km run, 5 km run/walk and a 1 km kid’s fun run.
“We wanted it to be this whole family experience,” Stacie Smith, the race director, told Humber News. “If dad wants to do the 5 km, mom wants to do the 8 km and all the kids get to do the 1 km, they get to experience the entire park as opposed to just a running experience.”
“It was important to make this an event that was accessible to everyone no matter what fitness level or age group,” said Andrew Sorbara, chairman for the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation. “ Really it is about getting people out into our parks, enjoying parks and celebrating parks.”
The money raised through entrance fees and runner pledges will go towards rejuvenating Toronto’s parks.
“The idea was to celebrate the parks and playgrounds,” Smith said. “In that celebration, (we want to) raise some funds so that we can support the revitalization of other playgrounds in the city of Toronto so that more kids can have access to safe, clean, fun playgrounds.”
Money will also help children pay for organized sports. One of the charities involved is Canadian Tire Jump Start. Jump Start is an independent charity within the Canadian Tire organization and its goal is to remove financial barriers for children to play organized sports.
Freida Rubletz, the regional manager for Jump Start, said the money raised helps programs now and in the future.
“Any money that is raised will end up going to help out children in programs either independently, children that want to participate in sports and recreation, or in programs that we will endeavor to support and create as we go forward,” Rubletz said.
The run begins and ends at a familiar High Park landmark, the Jamie Bell adventure playground. The castle playground was burned down in March 2012 and was rebuilt by the community and charities. Both Jump Start and the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation were involved in the rebuild.
“This entire event on Saturday very much has a community feel,” Rubletz said. “Having us be able to celebrate around that park and the liveliness of what happens there on a daily basis is wonderful.”
“We wanted to showcase that as an example of what the community and these charities working together can result in,” said Smith. “I don’t think there is a better example in the city than the Jamie Bell adventure playground.”