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Canadian Public Health Association

Policy - Communities

The Calgary Play Charter, City of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta

Calgary’s Play Charter is intended to be a unifying document outlining why the co-signatories believe play is important and how, in working together, they can create a community that supports and encourages comprehensive play opportunities for all Calgary children. The Charter was developed by a group of organizations under the banner of YYC Plays whose mission was to increase understanding, value, importance and participation in, for and about play. The Charter was developed as a legacy component from the 2017 International Play Association (IPA) Triennial World Conference that was hosted by the City of Calgary. At IPA 2017 the Charter was signed by 36 organizations. The signatories committed to undertaking “three big things for play” in the following year and to report on their success in 2018.

In developing the document, YYC Plays used a collective impact approach to identify seven high leverage activities to focus their collective efforts, including:

  • Advocacy and promotion
  • Communication and marketing
  • Partnerships
  • Play spaces
  • Policy and practice
  • Programs
  • Training


In September 2018 the Play Charter was re-signed by the original 36 signatories, and welcomed more organizations to this exciting work. Read the Collective Impact Report for the Charter.


Calgary Play Charter
Play in the City of Calgary

Healthy, Outdoor PlaySpaces for Children, Peterborough Public Health, Peterborough, Ontario

Peterborough Public Health began this initiative when the injury prevention program decided to investigate why that area had playground injury rates nearly twice the provincial average.  A brief literature review revealed that proper maintenance of playground equipment; adequate fall surfacing; age-appropriate play; and supervision were key components in reducing injuries.  This information was reviewed by a committee of municipal parks and recreation representatives and a decision was made to work together to improve playgrounds. A playground safety checklist was developed with partnered groups.  The partner groups offer training on playground safety and all nine municipalities in Peterborough now have trained playground inspectors.

Through these consultations, a distinction was made between safe playgrounds and healthy outdoor play experiences. This process led to the development of an extensive literature review concerning children’s outdoor play, including: types of outdoor play spaces (including natural play spaces); risk and play; injuries and playground safety; risk-benefit analysis; and the built environment.  An early draft of the report was reviewed with a Technical Advisory Committee made up of representatives from the education sector (principal, teacher, and an early learning educator), the municipal sector (recreation, planning, public works, and accessibility) and the community sector (environmental advocates and landscape architect).  Their feedback is leading to the development of a position statement from public health that will be used by various sectors in setting and/or justifying their own policies and practices to improve access to unstructured play.


Evidence Review
PowerPoint presentation

PlayVenture, City of London, London, Ontario

PlayVenture is a collaboration of community agencies in London, Ontario, that are working towards improving access to free public play opportunities for children. The collaboration provides a platform from which to engage in conversation about outdoor, natural, loose-parts, risky, and unstructured play with children, educators, and parents. The goal is to promote imaginative and manageable risky play, and provide a play alternative to screen- and sedentary-related activities.

A pop-up playground structure supports children’s adventure-based learning and increases children’s motivation to be physically active outdoors. A large activity kit containing recycled and new loose parts is available for use by community members. Workshops and training are available for community organizations to support their interest and involvement in the project. The community is supportive of the initiative and many organizations help promote it.


The collaborative partnership was formed in February 2017. Originally it was a committee of community members who sponsored a London, Ontario stop on the summer 2017 Canadian tour of the Pop-Up Adventure Play Group from the United Kingdom. The event was enjoyed by 1,000 children, and a professional learning session was attended by 80 local educational and recreational professionals. PlayVenture was a continuation of this success and has a goal to further promote, support, and provide professional learning for self-directed and adventurous play in the City of London.

Last modified: January 28, 2019