Published September 7, 2023

Inclusive playground for all kids opens at Painswick Park in Barrie

A 21,000-square-foot inclusive playground opened at Painswick Park in Barrie on Thursday.

The state of the art facility named in honour of Canadian Tire Corporation's founding family, the Muriel and A.J. Billes Family Playground, came to be thanks to donations from nearly 500 Canadian Tire store owners across the country, with contributions that topped $2 million.

The new play space enables kids of all ages and abilities to play side-by-side. It's the largest of its kind build as part of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities (Jumpstart) Inclusive Play project, which focuses on removing accessibility barriers to sport and play.

The playground has been designed using universal design principles to accommodate physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities.

Photo - Logan Miller - Barrie 360

"Thanks to the generous contributions of the Canadian Tire Dealers' Association (CTDA), kids of all ages and abilities will have greater access to joys of inclusive play in Barrie," said Nadir Patel, Chairman of the Board, of Jumpstart. "With the opening of the Muriel and A.J. Billes Family Playground, we are proud to monumentalize Martha Billes' extensive impact on youth sport and recreation."

The playground features include:

  • A sensory tunnel providing visual and touch sensory stimulation
  • Education panels that encourage conversation about inclusive communication practices
  • Cozy Dome - a safe regulation space with an outer surface made for entry level climbing
  • ZipKrooz Assisted - a molded bucket seat with lock-in place harness that allows kids of all abilities to experience the thrill of ziplining
  • We-Go-Swing - a transfer-free swing that allows kids of all abilities to swing together

The new playground is part of recent redevelopments at Painswick Park led by the City of Barrie, which include the addition of eight pickelball courts, three baseball diamonds, and new lit pathways.

Martha Billes/Mayor Alex Nuttall

"I want to thank the Canadian Tire Dealers' Association, Jumpstart and Martha Billes for giving our city the gift of this amazing inclusive playground that our community will enjoy for years to come," said Mayor Alex Nuttall. "This substantial investment from Canadian Tire Jumpstart paired with our other park improvements has truly made Painswick Park one of the premier outdoor recreation destinations in Barrie."

Doug Waldie, President of the CTDA, says the opening of the playground is a proud moment for all Dealers, who strive to uphold the Billes family's dedication to serving their communities.

"On behalf of our 500 Associate Dealers, the Canadian Tire Dealers' Association is honoured to present the Muriel and A.J. Billes Family Playground to the City of Barrie as a tribute to the Billes family and Martha Billes, who as the Founder of Jumpstart, has given over 3 million kids access to sport and play since 2005."

Banner image: Martha Billes and Mayor Alex Nuttall - City of Barrie

Banner image - Logan Miller - Barrie 360

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