Vanessa Farquharson is the Director of Communications and Campaigns at Earth Day Canada, where she promotes bringing outdoor free play back into the lives of children across the country. Previously, she has worked for TerraCycle Canada and has an extensive background as a journalist covering environmental issues. She is the author of Sleeping Naked is Green: How an eco-cynic unplugged her fridge, sold her car and found love in 366 days. Vanessa lives in Toronto.
Why our neighbourhoods should be an extension of our homes
April 12, 2017
Photos courtesy Earth Day Canada
If you say the words “street play” today, most Canadians will conjure up images of kids playing ball hockey or pickup basketball on a quiet suburban road — think of that scene in Wayne’s World. If you ask whether street play is legal, most won’t be able to give you a definite answer (it changes, of course, from municipality to municipality and is often simply a bylaw that prohibits it but is rarely enforced).
Half of my local park in a west-end Toronto neighbourhood is comprised of traditional playground equipment — slides, monkey bars, seesaws, swings. The other half is filled with discarded push-cars and plastic forts, which parents have brought from nearby homes and left here for whoever might want them.
Most of the used toys have missing wheels or broken doors, most of the playhouses are faded, rickety and lying on their sides. But my three-year-old son almost always prefers this so-called junk to the actual play equipment — and he’s not the only one.
EcoParent is a quarterly magazine for families that want to make healthier, greener lifestyle choices. Fun and inspirational in tone – and never judgmental – we appeal to the already eco-savvy, but remain accessible to the newly eco-curious. Food, fashion, books, travel, health & beauty, home & garden, and so much more!