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Largest inclusive-playground of its kind unveiled in Barrie

The largest playground ever built by Jumpstart was officially unveiled in Barrie Thursday morning.

Painswick Park is now home to the Muriel and A.J. Billes Family Playground. The 21,000-square-foot inclusive playground was built to meet the mission of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, which aims to create equality in sport and recreation.

"Our dream was the inspiration to help in creating a Canada where every child has the opportunity to play, to learn and to grow and oh my, with the help of many, many thousands of like-thinking supporters, JumpStart has come a very long way towards that goal," said Martha Billes, the charity's founder.

The new playground was named in honour of Martha's parents, who originally founded Canadian Tire. The site was chosen because of the family's deep roots in Simcoe County.

Painswick Park in Barrie, Ont., redevelopment includes an inclusive playspace. (Source: City of Barrie)

"This Simcoe County and Kempenfelt Bay are home to me, and they ground me," said Martha. "Being in the area gives me inner peace, and I know that this site so close to the Bay, which my family loved, will contribute to the lives of untold thousands of children and families by providing safe play, learning and inner happiness."

The park will include many unique features, including a sensory tunnel, a moulded bucket seat with a harness for all to experience zip lining and a transfer-free swing.

Painswick Park in Barrie, Ont., will be outfitted with a new accessible, inclusive playground. (Supplied)

The mayor says he grew up playing in that park and is excited about what this new playground will bring to the area.

"The reality is all of the sports that we got to play here growing up, all the friends that we played with, we did not have equality, we did not have the opportunity for all young people to play together," said Mayor Alex Nuttall. "That's what JumpStart and the Canadian Tire team have done for the next generation of children coming through."

The Canadian Tire Dealers' Association funded much of the project, whose over 500 members contributed over $2 million.

"This place will be a testament to the Billes family bringing people together in the spirit of inclusion and belonging and contributing every day to making lives better in Canada," said Doug Waldie, the association's president.

It is just the latest addition to Painswick Park, which has seen eight pickleball courts, three baseball diamonds and new-lit pathways.

Painswick Park in Barrie, Ont., redevelopment includes eight pickleball courts. (Source: City of Barrie)

Since 2005, Jumpstart has provided nearly $4 million in Simcoe County to create better equality in sport and recreation. Top Stories

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