Ornamentum Lecture - Where do the Children Play?

Where do the children play? This question will be addressed by play expert Alex Smith as he takes us on a curated tour of Canadian play spaces, past and present, with a smattering of contrasting international examples. Photos and video will illustrate different approaches and design elements that get kids coming back for more. Whether it’s public art, minimalist landscapes, child-led temporary creations or vernacular builds, each space offers seemingly endless moments of joy through the simple medium of play.

Participants will have the opportunity to consider the relation of play spaces within the broader urban design and planning context as we ask ourselves: Do our public spaces give children their due?

Last-minute change of plans or not sure you can attend live? Don’t worry! A video recording of this presentation will be made available to all those who reserve/purchase tickets.



Alex Smith is the founder/editor of the award-winning blog, PlayGroundology. For nearly 15 years he has been publishing stories for international audiences featuring play theorists and practitioners, designers, artists, academics and kids from Canada and countries around the world. Alex’s rediscovery of play was inspired by his three youngest children’s very active pursuit of fun and adventure. Together, they gamboled through playgrounds in Halifax, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and points between. The backyard of their Nova Scotia home became an ever-changing neighbourhood play zone.

In the process, Alex became an advocate for children’s right to play, organizing a variety of public events, appearing in regional and national media, and volunteering with the Canadian chapter of the International Play Association (IPA). The father of five and grandfather of two, he is a firm believer in the transformative power of play.

Photo: Stephen Braithwaite, Strathcona’s Folly, Ottawa, 1992. Photo: Alex Smith.

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When Thu, Oct 26, 2023 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM EDT

Where Online