Here's how you could win a new play space for your neighbourhood

Apr 5 2019, 6:33 pm

What could you accomplish in your neighbourhood with $100,000?

Maybe you could plant a beautiful community garden, reinvigorate the basketball court that’s stood at the end of your block since you were little, or create a reading room at the nearby community centre.

Maybe it doesn’t have to be a dream anymore.

BCAA wants to help turn these aspirations into a reality for BC communities through its Play Here initiative. The program’s mission is to deliver rejuvenated play spaces to neighbourhoods in need, giving children and their families more opportunities to play, learn, and connect. This year, the company plans to award three upgrades worth up to $100,000 to communities that need them the most.

Nominating your space is easy. Just go to and share your ideas for how your community’s play space could be revitalized. BCAA will be accepting nominations from April 8 till 28, 2019.

BCAA Play Here isn’t just about playgrounds, either. You can nominate all kinds of spaces in need of an update. Think tennis courts, outdoor classrooms and amphitheatres, youth program facilities, and music rooms. The only limit is your imagination!

Since it was created in 2016, Play Here has had a widespread impact on communities around the province, awarding nine play spaces to cities like Quesnel, Kamloops, and Ladysmith.

One of last year’s winners, Cache Creek Elementary School, was given the opportunity to transform their spacious (but empty) school grounds into a place where students could learn about local plants and animals in the natural environment. With a new playground provided by BCAA, plans are currently in the works to enrich the space with gardens, fruit trees, and other features that encourage creative play.

École North Oyster, located on Vancouver Island, also won a play space through BCAA Play Here. After the student population grew from 80 to over 300 in a single year, the playground facilities were no longer able to accommodate all children. There was also no accessible play space for students with mobility issues. Future upgrades will ensure the space is useable by everyone in the community, including those in Cedar, Ladysmith, and the Stz’uminus First Nation community.

Here in Vancouver, an active lifestyle is prized by parents and kids alike. Just this year we were ranked one of the healthiest cities in the world, coming in at #5 on the global stage. The only other Canadian city to make the list was Toronto, which ranked #44. Making sure the next generation has the same opportunity to be active is vital to keeping our city’s dynamic culture alive and well.

If you’re thinking of nominating a play space near you, BCAA has a few tips to help your bid stand out.

First, provide a complete overview of the current space. Include information like what needs to be repaired, installed, or upgraded; how the community is currently using the space or has used it in the past; and whether it’ll be easy to get permission to revitalize the space.

Second, show your passion! If the panel can clearly see how the area is (or can become) an important part of your community, your space will have a better chance of being chosen.

And third, bring your story to life with imagery and video. It’s always easier to imagine what something could become when you see it with your own eyes, so share that experience with the judges to up your odds.

If you know of a place where kids and families can spend their time and develop valuable life skills, BCAA wants to hear about it. Get creative — there’s no better time to embrace your inner child.