It’s a labor of love built for children’s laughter.
Shoshana from Squamish and Adam Kiidumae from Northyards Children’s Garden Association have spent years creating a children’s oasis at the end of their resort.
The Northyards Children’s Garden can be found by turning at 39885 Government Road and following to the end of Abbey Lane.
There are various play structures, a sand pit, a small covered stage and a lush sloping garden – consisting of partial shade, sun, wild garden and berries for children to eat – the all connected by a switchback path and wooden bridge.
“We really like to hear the children play and watch them play. We find it delicious. Sometimes they come and there’s just laughter, laughter. It’s such a happy sound,” Shoshana said.
What makes the slice of fun more incredible is that at one time it was a neglected lot strewn not with flowers but with bric-a-brac.
“There were car engines and transmissions,” Shoshana said, as she and Adam took a break from garden maintenance work.
“He was six feet tall with weeds. We didn’t even know there was a stone wall there for two years. I cleaned this place for two years before I knew.
The original plan was not to build the oasis it is now.
The pandemic helped germinate it, literally.
“We did the back bend to make it easier to get to the top of the levee because it’s a very, very steep and precarious slope and that made it safer. And then I just started planting flowers. And then what happened was a COVID hit,” Shoshana said.
As small business owners, the couple had been receiving funds from the federal government for a while and it didn’t sit well with them not doing something to give back to their community with the extra time and money.
The couple also stress that they are grateful for the support of Woodfibre LNG – which has gone towards closing – Home Depot, Rona and others.
They also noted that at the start of COVID-19, children couldn’t go to school or even to municipal playgrounds, so creating something fun for them seemed like a good plan.
The project took five years to get to the state it is in now.
There is a convoluted history of how this land was once owned by CN and now owned by the District, but the important part is that the Kiidumaes lease it from the District for this park.
Everything is official, with the necessary insurance, and the Kiidumaes invite children and their parents from the community to come and use it (from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.), and to others in the neighborhood to get involved.
“My goal here has always been that we will have more involvement in the neighborhood, that we will have neighbors on the board, that we will have neighbors on the committees, so that there will be help for the maintenance, gardening – taking care of the programming because we have musical programming that happens sometimes. And a few events, picnics, whatever.
The public is invited to a “Play Music on The Porch” event on August 27, from 2-6 p.m.
Learn more on the garden’s Facebook page, “Northyards Kindergarten.”