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The Forks National Historic Site of Canada

Variety Heritage Adventure Park wins Winnipeg Accessibility Award

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz presents Parks Canada, Variety and Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram with a Winnipeg Accessibility Award for the Variety Heritage Adventure Park Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz presents Parks Canada, Variety and Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram with a Winnipeg Accessibility Award for the Variety Heritage Adventure Park
© Parks Canada

Since it opened in June 2012, the Variety Heritage Adventure Park has been a world-class attraction, but it can now add “award-winning” to its list of credentials.

On October 16, His Worship Sam Katz, Mayor of Winnipeg, presented Parks Canada and Variety, the Children’s Charity of Manitoba, as well as design-build contractors J & D Penner, Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram Landscape Architecture & Planning, and Crozier Agencies, with the 2012 Winnipeg Accessibility Award for the Variety Heritage Adventure Park at The Forks National Historic Site.

According to the City of Winnipeg, the award honours positive examples of facility projects that enrich the importance of accessibility and celebrates those who have met or exceeded the concepts of universal design in their building projects in Winnipeg. Universal design makes life more equitable, safe, comfortable and affordable for everyone, including people with disabilities. The award is presented to a facility or environment, and its designers.

The Variety Heritage Adventure Park was recognized because, from conception to completion, it was intended to be accessible for children and caregivers of all abilities.

Parks Canada and Variety consulted with the accessibility community from the beginning to make the adventure park a place that kids and caregivers of all abilities could fully enjoy.

Not only is it accessible to children with a variety of abilities, but it is also inclusive, meaning children of all abilities play alongside one another throughout the park. Parents and caregivers of children with various ability challenges have sent many heartfelt and positive comments on how their kids enjoy the adventure park.

This one-of-a-kind adventure park has seven distinct “play zones” based upon the seven key historical themes of The Forks. It includes over 200 custom-designed components that make up more than 25 unique play elements. In addition to the seven historic zones, the adventure park features representations of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, with one portion serving as a splash pad in the summer and a miniature skating trail in the winter.

The adventure park was made possible through the collaboration of Parks Canada and Variety. The project supports Parks Canada’s mandate to protect and present Canada’s natural and historic heritage and Variety’s mission to meet the tangible needs of children of all abilities in Manitoba.

The adventure park has truly been a success story for both Parks Canada and Variety. In just over two months this past summer, approximately 20,000 visitors experienced and enjoyed the adventure park, which is quickly becoming a magnet for families in Winnipeg and Manitoba.

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