Donnan Park: Edmonton’s First Natural Playground

Donnan Park: Edmonton’s First Natural Playground

The Donnan Park Naturalization Committee has been working for many years to make Donnan Park Edmonton’s first natural playground. Instead of the plastic, concrete and steel models that have been standard over the past several decades, think of a play space that incorporates natural elements that you might encounter when hiking through a forest, or exploring a creek like fallen trees, local horticulture, insects, birds and animals.

The reimagined playground will compliment and blend in with the beauty of Mill Creek Ravine, and is aimed at helping kids, in an increasingly disconnected world, connect to nature. With ample plant life, and structures built from wood, rocks and ropes, their senses and imaginations are opened up to new possibilities.

Natural playgrounds are a growing trend in Canada. At a fraction of the cost of steel or plastic structures and a reduced ecological footprint, they are springing up in cities like Vancouver, British Columbia and Collingwood, Ontario, where a municipal law has been passed banning all steel and plastic playground structures in favour of natural play spaces.

In 2014, the first phase of the park revitalization was a fundraising initiative towards the creation of a community garden and community art project. Through fundraising and volunteerism, and led by local artists, community members planned to install mosaic pathways, and boulder spirals to decorate the edge of the community garden.

The second phase of revitalization will bring to life the natural playground featuring a slide built into a hill, a sideways growing tree, a boulder spiral, a hand pump to pour water into a small stream and plenty of plants, tress, and greenery. It will give city residents easy access to a garden escape where they can play, engage, learn, and interact with the beauty of nature.

Donnan Park is currently home to Donnan Arena. The public arena has one ice rink with seating for 108, plus 242 standing, and four dressing rooms. It is has public skating times, and a shinny hockey schedule. Vending machines and a skate sharpening machine are available for use. The space can also be rented for private use.

Donnan Park

9105 80 Ave NW

Edmonton, AB

T6C 0N9