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Saanich shopping centre encourages lounging on new lawn

Uptown unveils its latest family-friendly installation on pedestrian boulevard
A youngster crawls through a mini tunnel on a turf-covered play mound at Uptown. (Photo by Sarah Reynolds/Uptown)

Recent visitors will have noticed a distinctly greener shade and more playful feel to the pedestrian area of Uptown Boulevard.

With turf-covered climbing mounds, giant popsicles and a variety of seating and relaxing areas, it’s a clear sign of a shift to summer from the clear domed seating areas that previously dotted the boulevard in the cooler months.

Both, and in fact all of the community-inspired projects that have descended on the outdoor common area of the shopping complex over the past couple of years are the work of Calgary-based creative collective PARK (Promoting Artists/Redefining Kulture).

Jessie Landry, co-founder and vice-president of PARK, said that during the pandemic and since restrictions began loosening, many people have looked for interesting outdoor spaces.

“Our team really started looking at outdoor public spaces, where there is work and play. We wanted to create spaces that people who use the mall could enjoy outside, and spread the activity across the space … and give people with families a chance to interact,” she said.

Summer on the Lawn launched June 25 at Uptown and features a family-friendly activity zone with a hands-on play place for the kids, patio area with picnic seating, photo-worthy popsicle forest, the WKNDRS and turf-covered seating, loungers and beach chairs to relax in.

Uptown converted the former parking and driving area to a breezy pedestrian zone early in the pandemic and has committed to keeping it that way for the foreseeable future. To this point, visitors seem to have enjoyed whatever lands in this space, whether it’s a skating rink, a giant ground mural or the summer gathering place currently on offer.

“Uptown prides itself in creating first-to-market activations to bring the community together in the most unique way,” general manager Kristy Lowes said in a release. “We are creating a place that matters for our guests.”

The installation will be in place through to the end of summer.

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