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Exploring & Discovering at Grizzly Bear Lodge Playground

July 2nd, 2014

An interview with the architect. 

We love this playground and we were lucky enough to bend the ear of Mr. Jim Black - the mind behind the awesomeness!

Tell us a little about your inspiration for the playground.

In a different era before the regimentation and structure of today's childhood,  many of us grew up in the country or small towns - our playthings were the woods, the fields, the creek and people's unfenced backyards. We percolated through our surroundings discovering and exploring and using our imaginations. Grizzly Bear Lodge is not apparently structured upon entry and provides a setting to be explored and discovered ...with the next interesting thing just in sight around the corner.

How much of what you implement into your designs is based on your inner child?

I suppose it is completely my inner child as I designed selfishly thinking of how I grew up and that it was better .....and thinking that today's typical play areas are a little sterile.

What is your absolute favourite feature?

My favourite feature is the long native grass that is just now becoming apparent. Although most running around is intended to be on the hard surfacing just for practical durability reasons ....the long grass areas provide a more natural aesthetic. If the kids wear informal paths through the grass areas - all the better, more to discover!

How did it feel to see children play on the Grizzly Bear Lodge playground for the first time?

The opening ceremony with some 600 children crawling and climbing all over everything is the reason I love landscape architecture. Our payoff is watching the things we have worked on for years take fruition and be used and enjoyed! I've been telling everybody about the 600 kids who showed up and hopefully continue to show up and build memories. I've talked to so many parents who tell me about playing on previous incarnations of the Kinsmen playground and the memories they have. (The red rocket play apparatus was saved from the previous playground for that reason ...and I noticed it was as popular as anything else!)

What does the future hold for you, an obviously talented and insightful designer?

Not sure if tapping into your childhood warrants the talented designer label! I operate my own company out of Edmonton - North Environments Landscape Architects and will hopefully get the opportunity to keep designing things for people to enjoy!

Big thank you to Mr. Black for his time and his talent!

If your excited to check this park out, July 27th is the perfect day! We are hosting a free, family picnic in the park and all the details can be found on our Facebook event here -->

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