Toronto’s lucky enough that almost every little neighbourhood has its own park. Trinity Bellwoods Park is a bit of a bigger one, nestled into the downtown core. And here’s how Trinity Bellwoods life works. You wake up in the morning, head off, and you’re in this expansive park in the middle of downtown. There’s a valley with dogs running around, people are playing tennis, baseball, there’s a ton of squirrels, and you can barely even see the grass for all the hipsters lounging on it. It’s the heart of the gentrification of Queen St. W., a neighbourhood that’s seen a ton of change over the past decade. But what do all of these people taking in the sun in the park create? Stuff. Waste. That’s part of park life. And game designer Chris de Castro is creating a video game about Trinity Bellwoods Park that focuses on the often unrecognized community of people keeping the park the welcoming place it is. He explains:
But if you’re making a game about life in Trinity Bellwoods Park, why focus on the people collecting cans? To Chris, the wizards are the life blood and protectors of the park. They also represent an important element of Toronto culture: the immigrant experience. They’re often older Chinese immigrants, many of them women. As a first-generation Filipino Canadian, Chris is inspired by both their struggle to make ends meet and their contribution to the park that means so much to him:
In the end, we’re incredibly privileged to have these public spaces. A note: Chris’s version of Trinity Bellwoods Park isn’t just full of hipsters; there’ll also be families, dog walkers, even events like the Portuguese festival. And you can be part of it too – once his Kickstarter launches this summer, you can donate and be rewarded by an avatar that looks like you, so eventually his park will be populated by all the diverse cultures of Toronto and people that actually exist.
In the meantime, you can pass the time while the temperature is still low this week by playing a demo of the game at thewizardsoftrinitybellwoods.com. It’s only a tiny version of what the final game will be, but this thing is moving fast. You can also tune in at the website to read Chris’s blog, follow along as he develops the game, and see when the Kickstarter goes up so you can get involved yourself.