Media Release - Beat the February blahs, connect to your neighbours with a little fun

First Published In: 
Canada Newswire
First Published On: 
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beat the February blahs, connect to your neighbours with a little fun

Grants available to host Playing for Keeps Neighbourhood Games

TORONTO, February 13, 2013 – Playing for Keeps, a collective of organizations, is challenging Torontonians to get out in their neighbourhoods and organize fun activities -- sports, arts, music or food – that bring families and neighbours together this Family Day weekend. Residents can apply for a micro-grant of up to $50 for expenses related to staging a Playing for Keeps Neighbourhood Game in their community. The grant application and guidelines are available online at or can be picked up from a Community Hub listed below. A limited number of grants are available. 

Playing for Keeps is a social innovation developed by a group of more than 35 organizations including the Toronto Community Foundation, Heart & Stroke Foundation, University of Toronto, George Brown College, and YMCA of Greater Toronto.  Launched during the 2012 Ontario Summer Games (OSG), the concept of Playing for Keeps Neighbourhood Games was created to address the impact of trends showing a steady decline in sense of belonging and activity levels across the city.

“Toronto is sound and safe, but we’re also still struggling with challenges vital to our well-being,” said Rahul K. Bhardwaj, President & CEO, Toronto Community Foundation. “There’s a reason our parents told us ‘get outside and play’ as kids. It’s the way we created our first social networks, built trust and leadership, and stayed healthy. We hope Torontonians, across generations and cultures, will use the power of play as a way to build healthier, more active and better connected communities. It’s one way we can strengthen Toronto’s vital signs together.”

Residents are asked to share videos of their Neighbourhood Games at An interactive “Games Map” currently features games that have been taking place since August. Residents can also learn from the experiences of trained Games Ambassadors through the Playing for Keeps Facebook and Twitter pages.

“I have a vision of Cedarvale ravine being transformed by snowmen lining the walkway, and mushrooming into the fields. I see it as a great way to bring together people living on both sides of the ravine to interact and engage in a fun and healthy event,” said Debra Kirkegaard organizer of “Let It Snow, Man!” Kirkegaard’s Playing for Keeps Neighbourhood Game will take place on February 17, weather permitting.

In addition to being named a key legacy of the OSG, Playing for Keeps is participating in IGNITE, a TO2015 program designed to promote sports, physical activity, healthy living, recreation and/or art and culture leading up to the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

Community Hubs offering micro-grant support

  • CultureLink Settlement Services (2340 Dundas St. W., Suite 301, Toronto, ON M6P 4A9. View map.)
  • The 519 Church Street Community Services (519 Church St., Toronto, ON
    M4Y 2C9. View map.)
  • North York Community House (1541 Jane St., Toronto, ON M9N 2R3. View map.)
  • East Scarborough Storefront (4040 Lawrence Ave. East, Toronto, ON M1E 2R2. View map.). (For residents of Kingston/Galloway Orton Park neighbourhood.)

About Playing for Keeps

Playing for Keeps is about people and neighbourhoods developing healthier, more active, and better connected communities through play! Over 35 organizations and 600 people from Ajax, Toronto, and Hamilton helped to develop this social legacy initiative. For more information, please visit

About Playing for Keeps Neighbourhood Games

Playing for Keeps Neighbourhood Games are locally organized, playful and joyful activities that bring people – neighbours, co-workers, friends and/or family - and even strangers - together to share a positive experience, have fun and play. Neighbourhood Games cover a full range of activities such as sports, arts, music and food.