Two stories about the toy bin at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park

Cécile Stockemer

A chance encounter with a City park maintenance worker brought about big changes to the playground on Chapel Street which had been bereft of any play boxes provided by the City of Ottawa. Earlier this spring a couple of parents took the opportunity to ask for one of the bright yellow toy bins which brighten up many city parks.

The toy box in Laurier Park has been emptied by someone unknown.
Photo Susan Khazaeli

The play boxes allow both parents and the City to leave toys to be shared amongst children, and most important of all, to be protected from the elements. Heartened by this small victory, some very generous parents readily took it upon themselves to fill the bin with all sorts of toys, small treasures and even kid gear. Despite the immediate success among children (and parents), it soon became obvious that the toys kindly brought to stay at the playground, were slowly but steadily disappearing. All parents know how difficult it can be to explain to a toddler that they have to leave a toy behind, but it has unfortunately become the norm, and if they do not disappear, they end up damaged and sometimes even dangerously so.

Since Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services has committed funding to re-fill the bins every spring, we believe a short but effective accompanying campaign about good practices would be beneficial.