Mike Holmes pitches in to rebuild torched playground
Published Friday, May 18, 2012 7:01PM EDT
Television handyman Mike Holmes joined city councillors Friday at a groundbreaking ceremony to rebuild an elaborate play structure that was destroyed by arson in March.
The wooden castle at the Jamie Bell Playground in High Park went up in flames in the early hours of March 17.
Police charged Christian Kupiecki, 19, with arson and attempt to obstruct justice.
In the days after the fire, Coun. Sarah Doucette, whose ward includes High Park, joined members of the community to plan how to rebuild the play structure, which was originally built by a team of volunteers in 2008.
Holmes announced Friday he would volunteer his time as the contractor.
He said he plans to stay faithful to the original design, while bringing the structure up to current building codes.
He also wants to add LEDs and water features.
"I definitely want to make is look like a castle," Holmes said. "I want to make is a little bigger with more slides."
Companies, including TD Bank, Canadian Tire and Lowe's, offered both cash and materials for the rebuild.
Other building companies have also promised to donate roofing and pour concrete.
Donations should cover the cost of the rebuild and pay to improve portions of the existing park left standing after the fire, said Doucette.
"When I started putting out the word that this has happened, I got instant response from people," Doucette said. "I know this community. I knew they'd respond. I know the passion (that) people have for this playground, and it spreads."
Landscape architect Janet Rosenberg is leading the design, rounding up ideas from children about what they'd like to see in the new park.
The design process for the structure is still underway, with building set to begin under the supervision of Holmes and his crew for five days in the first week of July.
The community is invited to help finish the structure on July 7. There will also be a barbeque and community party on that day.
With files from CTV Toronto's Michelle Dube