The EarlyON Child and Family Centre in Hagersville is led by the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, providing quality programs and services that offer support to local parents and caregivers. The MCFN EarlyON combines all aspects of the EarlyON program alongside culturally relevant programs and services for both Indigenous and non-indigenous families in the community.
The playground’s design is the result of a close collaboration with the MCFN EarlyON; it strives to foster Indigenous identity and serve as an expression of Anishinaabe culture.
A series of canoe sculptures recall traditional modes of transportation while providing an engaging, imaginative and physical play experience as they bob up and down through poured-in-place rubber river rapids, large diameter climbing logs, and granite boulders. The Three Fires as they are shown on the Nation’s flag are engraved into three bog stilt climbers and are a part of the river rapid play experience.
A teepee and sacred fire pit pay homage to traditional dwellings and provide a fun enclosure for children as well as a social, creative and constructive learning space. An oak bench in the playground features carvings for the Moccasin Identifier Project which aims to promote public awareness of significant cultural historic sites and the ancestral presence of First Nations, Metis and Indigenous Communities.
A community garden and plaza provide additional open space amenities. The medicine wheel garden is constructed of vertical logs with sawn top log benches and is a place to grow and learn about traditional plantings. An Oak bosque has been integrated into the garden design to provide a dappled canopy over the space as it matures. The paved plaza and turf lawn are spaces for gatherings, picnicking or active recreation. The circle is a sacred symbol which has been an overlapping design motif to tie the plaza, gardens and play spaces together into one interconnected space for the whole community to enjoy.