Like many events, the official opening of the Jumpstart Inclusive Playground in Winkler was put on hold.
Young families, a number of elementary school children, City of Winkler delegates, local Canadian Tire Dealer, and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities representatives gathered Thursday morning to mark the occasion.
Scott Fraser, President of the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities says when these playgrounds were designed, they were made with the important goal of inclusiveness. "These playgrounds have become destinations for families to get together, but the real beauty is when you see kids of all abilities play together and learn from one another."
"Community collaboration brings the best to the people we serve! The collaboration with local entrepreneurs like Canadian Tire, CT Jump Start Corporate involvement, together with the generosity of the Toews family has provided thousands of hours of enjoyment for kids and adults during our difficult last two years," said Winkler Mayor Martin Harder.
The day was a true example of what can be accomplished when people work together to make things better for everyone.
Randi Unrau's family was part of the vision and the dream to make the project happen. Unrau says the playground has given her family, and many others a brand new experience. Before the inclusive playground was built, her son Brody, who uses a wheelchair would sit on the sidelines and watch, and now - she says their whole family can play together.
"When we come to the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Playground, Brody gets to play, his face lights up as he hears his family and friends playing with him and around him," said Unrau. "He laughs and laughs when he gets to ride the merry-go-round. My favourite part is that it's a great playground for everyone, whether you have a disability or not, everyone loves to be here. I'm also happy we could be a part of these projects in honour of my dad who passed away in 2018. This is the perfect legacy for him, and he would love seeing his grandkids all playing together too."
"I know playground has been here for a year and change, but to officially grand open it today, it's such an honour," added Fraser. "Jumpstart is all about getting kids out and keeping them active."
Fraser said since 2005, Jumpstart has helped kids overcome financial barriers, and this year, the organization will mark supporting 3 million children. "Here in the Pembina Valley, we're at 2,500 kids since our 2005 inception."
"With this 7,000 square foot playground that we're introducing to really promote inclusive play, we just couldn't be more proud to be a part of bringing kids out and playing, and for that, we're very proud and thankful."
Through collaboration with Jumpstart and thanks to the generosity of local Canadian Tire Dealer David Dunseath, local kids of all abilities can play together side-by-side, fostering a stronger, more inclusive, and healthier community.
"Through play, kids have the opportunity to develop valuable life skills such as teamwork, confidence and creativity," said Fraser. "We are proud to partner with the City of Winkler and our Canadian Tire Dealers to bring the power of inclusive play to Winkler Park."