The City of Toronto is launching two summer programs, offering children and youth free activities in parks across the city.
On Friday, Mayor John Tory and Ward 7 Councillor Anthony Perruzza, and Executive Director of MLSE Tanya Mruck with City staff launched two new outdoor recreation initiative for Toronto children and youth.
ParksPlayTO and Summer in the 6IX will engage Toronto youth, children and their families and help animate up to 100 local Toronto parks and outdoor spaces this summer — as playgrounds are still closed.
“Over the past few weeks we have been working hard to find new programs to get kids and youth outside to enjoy the summer months. ParksPlayTO and Summer in the 6ix will provide much needed social interaction and physical activity for kids and youth across the city,” Tory said.
“The development of these programs is a great example of how quickly we can adapt to this new normal and create new services that will meet the needs of Torontonians.”
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Starting July 20, ParksPlayTO will offer free drop-in and activity-based, recreation programming from Monday to Friday each week at multiple locations with morning sessions beginning at 9:15 am and afternoon sessions at 1:30 pm.
The program will offer activities such as nature exploring, gardening, active games, arts and crafts, family fitness, story-telling and music circles for children and their caregivers.
And, any child age 12 and under accompanied by a caregiver age 18 or older can participate.
Caregivers can bring up to four children and must remain at the park to participate in the program.
Summer in the 6IX, which will also begin on Monday, is a free program designed for Toronto youth, aged 13 to 24, offering opportunities to drop in, meet up with friends and participate in “fun, themed activities.”
It will offer a range of programming including dance, fitness, ecology and sports as well as leadership, employment, arts and media, offering three sessions a day at multiple locations across the city seven days a week.
The MLSE LaunchPad coaches, alongside City recreation staff, will offer a variety of sport skills workshops in basketball, soccer, football and ball hockey to provide a range of instructional and recreational activities that encourage skill development.
According to the City, these two new programs were developed alongside Toronto Public Health with a “strong focus on health and safety.”
Programming is designed for participants to maintain physical distance from other individuals and groups, and the equipment will be sanitized between uses, or individual supplies will be provided.
Staff will also conduct a verbal health screening with each participant prior to the program start and collect caregiver or participant contact information. This information will be collected for Toronto Public Health, if COVID-19 contact tracing is required.