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posted April 15, 2002

Sand play in history

Our Sandpit

The Big Back Yard

The first Metro Parks Commissioner, after World War Two, was Tommy Thompson, much beloved for his love of parks and his good sense. (He put up signs in the parks: please walk on the grass.) We're doing some research at the Toronto Archives for this year's annual report, and we came across a speech he gave at a Parks Conference, in which he told his colleagues: "I passed a playground the other day in which I saw a sandbox that I suspect was twelve feet square. To me, this is an insult to the sand area concept. The time has come when we've got to get bigger in our thinking and realize that, when a group of kids want to carry out something that stimulates their imagination - and this is one of the things we should be responsible for promoting - we should be putting in a sand area half as big as this auditorium. We should be putting in the kind of sand that kids can use to build, and we should not only keep it clean every day, but make sure that it's moist enough to do something with."

Sounds good to us, Tommy Thompson. (You were a smart man.) As soon as the weather gets warm, we'll sweep the sand pit daily and keep it moist, so the kids can build. We'll try to get new tipi poles from Forestry, and we'll use the money left from the winter snack bar to buy new shovels. Any donations very welcome: tipi poles, short shovels, metal pots and pans. Leave them by the rink house door or call the park clubhouse at 416/391-0913 for pick-up.

We've got a head start this spring on play-pot donations: Ann Bjorseth picked up two big stacks of excellent pots at the end of a garage sale, for very little money, and gave them to the park. We hope other people will imitate Ann, because pots are a lot of fun in the sand "kitchen."

The "Big Backyard" -- how Dufferin Grove's sandpit developed: Read more >>

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