Summertime has become a bit more playful — or, at the very least, cleaner — for hundreds of children in northwest Winnipeg.
On Wed., June 26, Elwick Village and Resource Centre unveiled two new playgrounds at its Fife Street location for kids in The Maples.
"When they played out here, they made mud castles," said Kirstie Lindsay, co-director for Elwick Village.
"They didn’t have much."
The opening of the playgrounds ends a year of work with Manitoba Housing to bring recreation into the community, Lindsay said.
Elwick Village, which runs a range of kids and family programming, serves about 700 homes between Sheppard Street, McPhillips Street, Jefferson Avenue and Inkster Boulevard. For the 1,000 kids in its footprint, play structures are few and far between, and children have to cross busy intersections like Inkster to get to one, Lindsay said.
Bringing the structures — one for children aged two to five and another for those aged six to 12 — is important to building the community, which includes about 200 homes of Manitoba Housing, she said.
"I believe the way for people to get stronger and healthier is for their community to get stronger and healthier," said Lindsay, who moved to Winnipeg from Vancouver in 2001 and lives in the West End.
For parent Tiffany Cameron, the structures will be used often by her three young children.
The nearest play structures to her home are becoming dangerous from years of use, Cameron said.
Since the playgrounds were installed, Cameron added she has noticed more parents in the area engaging with each other.
"There’s more of us out here coming to sit around and watch the kids," Cameron said.
"I’ve made a lot of friends around here just sitting at the park."
Elwick Village will continue refurbishing its grounds and community this summer, Lindsay said.
That includes working with award-winning muralist Ursula Neufeld, who will be working with the community on a new series of mosaic murals and public art. Neufeld will be consulting and working with community members on the project.
Neufeld was one of three artists honoured on June 27 for her work on a mural that hangs on the side of Red Road Lodge on Main Street. Murals of Winnipeg selected the piece, titled Restoration, as the 2012 Mural of the Year in Winnipeg.
Elwick Village is located at 1417 Fife St.
For more, visit www.elwickvillage.org or call 204-632-5992.