Over the years, the Town of Ajax has focused on designing its outdoor spaces to be more accessible, inviting and engaging for children and families. As a result, there are several locations around the Town that offer fun for all through accessible and inclusive features.

Rotary Park is one of the earlier parks to incorporate accessible and inclusive elements with its accessible playground equipment and splash pad. More recently, McLean Community Centre (MCC) and Audley Recreation Centre (ARC) have incorporated access and inclusion in its parks: indicated at MCC, the Town is the first municipality in Ontario, recognized by Autism Ontario Durham, to provide an inclusive and safe place to play for all children, ARC features a sensory play centre, an accessible zipline apparatus, a Mayan wall installation for sensory and tactile experiences, as well as several other features including accessible benches and shaded picnic areas.

This summer, the Town has installed a new way to use the playground at Paradise Park – a SMART Digital Playground! Parents can install the playground’s associated app, Biba Playground Games, and direct children within the park to perform special tasks, challenges and mini games. An instructional sign and several augmented reality markers are placed throughout the park to facilitate Biba play. This new feature encourages children to use their imagination, all while having fun and staying active during their visit.

Upcoming plans include the installation of large communication boards incorporating Picture Exchange Communications Systems (PECS) at Rotary Park, MCC and ARC playgrounds to provide unique alternative/augmentative communication supports for limited or non-speaking persons. This will also spread awareness of the various forms of communication and supports present in the community.

Quotes

“The Town of Ajax is dedicated to promoting consistent accessibility, inclusion and equity for all residents and visitors. The recent additions to several of our parks have helped contribute to the Town’s goal of ensuring there are more accessible public spaces for all ages. I am happy to see that children around Ajax are utilizing the new SMART Digital Playground at Paradise Park, and we look forward to more features like this being installed at our parks and facilities to further encourage children’s physical activity and make our parks more engaging for all.” – Lisa Bower, Ward 3 Councillor & Accessibility Advisory Committee Member

“Play is such an important and essential part of a child’s emotional and physical development. The Town of Ajax will continue to create and promote opportunities for children of all ages and abilities to play together in a safe, accessible and inclusive environment. We are encouraged by the many opportunities ahead for the re-envisioning of older parks and playgrounds and the design and construction of new park infrastructure throughout our community.” - Andrew Jackson, Supervisor, Infrastructure Design and Construction, Town of Ajax

“Accessibility and inclusion in outdoor spaces matters. It ensures residents and visitors of all ages and abilities can feel a collective sense of barrier-free belonging when enjoying the amazing trails, parks, playgrounds and open spaces that Ajax has to offer.” - Sarah Moore, Legislative Specialist, Town of Ajax

Quick Facts

  • Biba is a free digital/physical game solution for playgrounds that promotes a higher level of physical activity for children and is proven to get kids’ heart rates 40% higher than standard playground play.
  • Biba games are played with parents or guardians as the referee. They will hold the phone throughout the entire game experience.
  • All games on the app are easy to learn and designed for both parents and children.
  • Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) are alternative communication systems used by learners of all ages who have various cognitive, physical and communication challenges.

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