Friday, July 6, 2012

Mike and Crew Down To The Wire On Jamie Bell Playground Rebuild

Mike and crew are working like busy little bees trying to get the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, which burnt down in March of this year, rebuilt and ready for reopening this Saturday, July 7, 2012. Fighting record summer heat and tough time constraints, they're racing towards the finish line, full speed ahead. The question stands, will they meet their deadline? I guess we'll all find out for sure on Saturday! But experience tells me that even if it comes down to the wire, Mike and crew will pull through. They always do, and with the support of the community behind them, there's no way they can fail. The build is being filmed for Mike's new show, HGTV's Holmes Makes it Right, set to air this fall.

From Mike's Facebook page yesterday (he seems quite optimistic):
On site rebuilding the Jamie Bell Playground in High Park. The structure is up - but we have lots to do. Its huge! The kids are going to love it. The clock is ticking...

Photo: On site rebuilding the Jamie Bell Playground in High Park. The structure is up - but we have lots to do. Its huge! The kids are going to love it. The clock is ticking...



You can read more about Mike's latest work on the Jamie Bell Adventure playground in this article from

High Park’s Jamie Bell Playground rebuild goes down to the wire

Published on Thursday July 05, 2012
Stephanie Law/Toronto Star                   
The Jamie Bell Playground in High Park is being rebuilt for a scheduled reopening on Saturday. Mike Holmes from HGTV is orchestrating the reconstruction while his film crew shoots the process.
Stephanie Law
Staff Reporter
Celebrity home renovator Mike Holmes is used to working under extreme pressure and time crunches. But reconstruction of the burnt-down playground in High Park is proving to be a challenge, even for this maestro of construction.
“I’m trying to do it by Saturday, even though tomorrow’s supposed to hit a record-breaking degree,” the host of HGTV’s Holmes Makes it Right said Thursday.
“Will we make it work? Well, it won’t have anything to do with not trying.”
The reopening of the Jamie Bell Playground is scheduled for Saturday, when hundreds of children and their parents will help with the finishing touches. The community rebuild will see dragons and fairies painted all over the playground’s castles, among other activities.
The popular playground, built in 1999, was torched by vandals in March. The community wanted it back for the summer.
Holmes and his crew — which includes people filming the rebuild — started work last week, beginning at 6:30 a.m. daily. Very late nights are expected to meet the deadline.
On Thursday, the “supercastle” was starting to come together. It was still hard to tell what to expect, but at least two of the towers were already complete. The design includes a drawbridge and climbing wall, features that children told Holmes and landscape architect Janet Rosenberg they wanted.
“You climb to a certain height, and you can crawl through a window and then you’re into another castle, and then you can walk across the planks to another place,” said Rosenberg, referring to the climbing wall.
Throughout the design process, the team has heard from parents, kids and the community — sometimes, parents and kids had different ideas. In the end, Rosenberg said, “that the sense of adventure was very much informed by the kids.”
So far, those involved in the project have kept mum about what the supercastle will look like.
“Wait till you see it,” said Holmes. “You won’t believe it.”


The Ward 13 official website also contains a message from City Councillor Sarah Doucette and some information about the build, geared for volunteers wanting to help:

Friends and Constituents,
I would like to thank you for visiting my website. On December 1, I celebrated the one year mark as your City Councillor for Ward 13. Please share your thoughts with me through my Contact Page so I can hear your ideas on how we can work together to continue to improve our ward and our city.
Best regards,


Rebuild this Saturday, July 7!

Update: My office has recived hundreds of phone calls and emails with offers to volunteer at the Jamie Bell Playground Community Build Day. As you know, a fire at the playground on March 17 destroyed a large portion of the structure. Since then, Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff have worked with the community, my office, and donors such as Canadian Tire, Lowe's, TD Canada Trust, Mike Holmes' Make it Right and Janet Rosenberg Landscape Architects to develop and design a new castle playground structure to replace the portion that was destroyed. I am also very pleased to be working with our Community Volunteer Co-ordinator, Robin Sorys, in organizing your participation at the event.

The Community Build Day is Saturday, July 7 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (registration begins at 8:30 a.m.). We have divided the day into shifts:

Shift A 9 am - 11 am

Shift B 11 am - 1 pm - at 12:00 we will be unveiling the castle

Shift C 1 pm - 3 pm

Shift D 3 pm to 5 pm or when finished - the ribbon cutting ceremony and speeches will take place at 5 pm (Then back to work if construction is not finished!)

If you are able to join us at any of these times:
· Please RSVP by Wednesday, June 27 to by cutting and pasting this section into your email with your answers beside each question.
· Please tell us how many will be coming to volunteer: how many children (under 16) and how many adults
· Tell us which shift you would like to volunteer for A, B, C or D.
· Please also indicate if you have any skills that may help us place you at work areas.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy the day:
· If you wish to volunteer on the playground site you must wear closed toed shoes as no open-toed shoes will be allowed.
· There will be limited parking so we encourage everyone to walk, bike or take TTC. If you do drive please enter off Parkside Drive. Volunteers who have registered will be given priority for parking near the site. Other parking can be found throughout the park and along Lake Shore Blvd W.
· The City's H2O TO GO will be on site so bring your reusable water bottles, they'll be easy to refill.
· There will also be children's activities and a barbecue throughout the day.
· The City as well as the producers of Mike Holmes' Make it Right have requested that clothing with logos not be worn that day. We will be providing t-shirts – hopefully for everyone and that's why we need to know who is attending. They also suggest not wearing white that day.
Finally, please carefully review the attached documents which are the Personal Release for the TV production and the Volunteer Placement Agreement Release and Waiver. Print off and sign both for each person volunteering and bring the forms with you to be handed in at the registration table when you arrive. Please remember that registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
For the volunteer agreement, please click here.
For the Make It Right release form, please click here.

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