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Fall is a time when families naturally get together, and the best way to spend time together is to venture outdoors. With a warm drink in hand, we stroll through farmers markets, corn mazes, and soak up the vibrant changing colours while enjoying the last of the year's good weather.
Here are some festive ideas to get your family and friends excited to congregate in your neighbourhood parks and green spaces.
1. Choose a Sunday when the whole family gets involved in preparing a traditional Sunday dinner. Many parks host weekly farmer's markets where you can learn about local agriculture and get your kids excited to see the rainbow of bright and diverse ingredients on display. Encourage your family to choose fresh seasonal produce and to get creative with recipe ideas.
2. Canadians are a healthy bunch when it comes to competitive sports. Grab a soccer ball and head to your local community park for a game. Invite others to join in the fun and watch your team and spectators grow in numbers.
3. Every Canadian city offers an urban getaway that is a nod to our community values. Places like Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto, Eau Claire Park in Calgary, and Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver are some of the best places to unwind on the weekend or after school. The recently released TD GreenSights Report, found that 95 percent of Canadians agree that access to community green space is important to their quality of life. The top three reasons why Canadians choose to spend time in green spaces are linked to escapism: to spend quality time relaxing alone or with family and friends, and to connect with nature. Ultimately, green spaces serve as an integral way to connect with the self as well as the people you love.
4. This Halloween, imagine hosting a children's costume party in the park. Forget technology and introduce your children to classic games like duck-duck-goose and monkey in the middle. Set up a game of lawn bowling with miniature pumpkins. Craft bowling pins from painted tin cans or glue googly eyes on rolls of toilet paper and stack them in a pyramid. Children have a natural ability to adopt a mentality of "the more, the merrier" when it comes to playing games. What better venue than an outdoor park to play dress up and get creative?
5. Check out your local neighbourhood and city guide for weekend events that the whole family can enjoy! Search for folk music festivals, community sporting events, and food truck festivals. In the TD GreenSights Report, Canadians expressed a desire for future parks to serve as a space for events like community picnics and festivals. Take a step towards this future and encourage your family to get involved with Canada's diverse outdoor offerings.
6. Shakespeare in High Park (Toronto) and Bard on the Beach (Vancouver) may have already packed up their summer stages, but parks still serve as epic backdrops for theatrical productions. Search local event listings for where to attend outdoor performances from talented artists.
7. Next time you're heading to the park, bring your favourite instrument and start a music session. Music serves as a unifying force for generating community, and your kids will love to experiment with shakers, recorders, and any other instruments you bring along.
As we gear up for the busy holiday season, cherish moments with your family this autumn by heading to community parks where we can come together. Meet, talk, and play in a place where all of us share common ground.