The Playground Movement – Edmonton’s Gyro Playgrounds

1920 Street

gyro-parkThe turn of the century brought a call for municipal governments to provide parks and open spaces for recreation. These calls went unanswered until the start of WWI. The recruitment process highlighted the fact that many Canadians were not physically fit. It was felt that playgrounds were part of the answer to this problem.

Service organizations were formed, including Kinsman, Kiwanis and the Gyro Clubs. The efforts of organizations like these helped the playground movement gain strength in Canada.
The Edmonton and Calgary Gyro Clubs were formed in 1921. The Edmonton club wanted to be involved in the City’s rapid growth and focused on providing amenities for children. The development of playgrounds became a natural fit.
The first Gyro Playground in Edmonton opened in 1922 at Patricia Square (95 st and 108 ave). The location has since been renamed Giovanni Caboto Park. The City of Edmonton provided the land for the playground and the Gyro members were responsible for landscaping, equipment, painting and maintenance.
During the 1920’s, the Gyro Club started an annual carnival to help collect funds for playground equipment.
New playgrounds opened throughout the city in the 1930’s and 1940’s and eventually the City of Edmonton assumed responsibility for their operation.
In 1985, the three Gyro Clubs of Edmonton combined their efforts to construct the playground that you see at Fort Edmonton Park.