Trinity Western University helps Tsawwassen seniors be kids again.

On September 8th a playground, the first of its kind in North America designed specifically for senior citizens, officially opened in Tsawwassen. Called the Lions Wellness Park, the park features 15 exercise stations, community gardens and a walking path. Page who was integral to the overall design of the park from a fitness perspective says, “The goal of the Wellness Park is to help improve people's overall well being which in turn helps in a longer more satisfied life. The purpose is to allow a place for seniors to get outside, socialize and recreate as well as improve their fitness.”

In 2004 Daryl was approached by Tsawwassen Lion and resident Harry Caine who had returned from a trip to China where he saw a park that was designed with the elderly in mind. Wanting to do the same thing here in Canada, Page and Caine began discussing and researching the project. Page then got students from TWU's Recreation Leadership class and the School of Human Kinetics to create surveys which they took around neighborhoods in Tsawwassen, asking seniors what they would like to see in the park. The results highlighted four themes - fitness, social, recreation and nostalgia which were concepts incorporated into the park. Page, who was instrumental in the design, then began working with the Lions, the City of Tsawwassen, Delta Parks, Recreation and Culture, and Landscape Structures who were the engineers on the project to implement the gathered ideas.

”The park has a strong emphasis on flexibility. The studies show that if people can maintain or even improve their flexibility their functional ability in life is much better. The strength component is something very new. Just recently there has been more of a push to improve strength in seniors as well as flexibility, so half of the equipment is focused on flexibility and the other half is focused on building and maintaining strength,” says Page.

The park is positioned in the heart of Winskill Park and it is hoped by its creators to be a park where not just seniors will use it. Strategically located beside a kids playground and sports field the park aims to encourage parents to exercise as well when they watch their children play.

And if the excitement on Saturday and intergenerational use of the playground is any indication than the Wellness Park has made its mark in the Tsawwassen community. More than 100 people gathered to officially open the park including many seniors, local and provincial dignitaries and Gordon Hogg, Minister of State for ActNow BC wearing the slogan, “Every move is a good move.”

For Page, seeing the tremendous positive response has made the project worth it and he's excited about being involved in future parks. He has already been approached by the city of Richmond and North Vancouver to discuss designing additional parks in these cities.

As Page looks on to the activity in the Wellness Park he can't help but smile. He says, “This has been a great project for TWU to get involved in locally. For the School of Human Kinetics, we love the idea of interacting with people in the community and helping in improving their health. To see the seniors using this – that's what it's all about.”

The Lions Wellness Park is located in Winskill Park, 56th Street at 9th Avenue in Tsawwassen.
More information about the School of Human Kinetics can be found by visiting www.twu.ca

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 39 major areas of study ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music to business, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 15 graduate degrees include such areas as counseling psychology, business, theology, administrative leadership and interdisciplinary studies in English, philosophy and history.

Last Updated: 2007-10-11
Author: Erin Mussolum