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Reprinted from The Villager, September, 2004: (Toronto Community News) 11-Oct-2011 Source: Media 
Part of Media: Playgrounds Playgrounds Safety
Play structures throughout the city have been unjustly demolished, this according to a group of mothers, who call themselves The Playground Lobby for Active Youth, otherwise known as PLAY.
Its founder, Maya Litman, an expectant mother of three, said when she was growing up, her parents sent her outside to play until it got dark.
"The whole summer I was out," she said. "Today, you don't do that. Violence is way up. Instead, you take your child to the playground."
The playground, said Litman, 39, is a place where kids can engage in unstructured play, where they can be creative and imaginative while developing their social and motor skills.
"There's so much learning going on at a playground, which is essential for healthy, normal brain and body—emotional and physical development," Litman, a child development expert who specializes in movement and sport, said.
Toronto's playgrounds are excellent and don't need to be torn down, argue PLAY. Children love them and injuries that happen to be sustained are due to normal child's play, not cause for alarm. When these play structures are removed and rebuilt, they do little to entice children back, they say.
"The new standard or interpretation of the standard is so ridiculous," Litman said. "It has zapped playgrounds of their appeal, removing climbers, merry-go-rounds, swings, functional slides and swings, literally all that attracts children outdoors to play for hour upon hour for fun and health."
All playgrounds, according to Toronto Parks and Recreation, were evaluated several years ago to determine which ones met Canadian Safety Association (CSA) standards.
The city is replacing old, unsafe equipment with new CSA approved models: New CSA standards for playgrounds were created in 1999 and in response, the city made a list of areas that needed improvement.
"We didn't want to go in and tear down playgrounds. Our first approach was to make them all safe. Some equipment we had to take out. A whole comprehensive program was put in place in 1999 and we've been implementing this program," said Parks and Recreation General Manager Brenda Librecz.
"We've replaced most of all equipment at playgrounds in bad shape. We're at this point adding equipment. In Etobicoke, it's very barren."
The upgrading, Librecz explained, is done in collaboration with each community.
A number of local parents are concerned their children will be robbed of a favourite neighbourhood hangout with good old-fashioned equipment if Beresford Park is ever torn down.
Lydia Kyskira, a Runnymede and Bloor area resident and mother of a five-year old and one-year old said she wonders what will replace the equipment.
"Why are we totally demolishing good playgrounds with structures that provide little stimulation?" she said. "I've never had any safety concerns at Beresford."
If you would like more information, log onto www.playtoronto.com