Ribbon cutting set for Marshall Park inclusive playground Sept. 9

July 26, 2023

The highly anticipated grand reopening of the Chelsea Anderson Memorial Play Station (CHAMPS) is set for 10 a.m. on Sept. 9 at Marshall Community Park (1015 E. McLoughlin Boulevard). The new playground designed by Harper’s Playground marks a new era of inclusive play for the City of Vancouver. 

The ribbon-cutting ceremony promises to be a memorable event, attended by community leaders, local officials and families eager to witness the unveiling of this transformative playground. Everyone is invited to celebrate the power of play, the strength of community and the shared vision of a more inclusive future. ADA parking is available at Marshall Park and the adjoining community center. Signs will direct attendees to overflow parking areas. 

Seeking to increase access to inclusive play spaces within its parks system, the City of Vancouver worked with Harper’s Playground to transform the playground at Marshall Park into a space where people of all ages and abilities will thrive. The site was selected for its existing features of mature fir and cedar trees, community garden, picnic shelter and access to public transit. Marshall Park holds particular significance to the disability community due to its proximity to Marshall Community Center, Luepke Senior Center and Legacy Health’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Center, which provides physical therapy to hundreds of youths with physical disabilities.

“Harper’s Playground is honored to lead the design and construction of a playscape dedicated to the health and happiness of everybody. Harper deserves the opportunity to spend time around other kids. And the good people of Vancouver deserve the chance to meet Harper and others like her. That’s the beauty of creating an inclusive world—we all win,” said Harper’s Playground Founder and Chief Play Officer G Cody QJ Goldberg.

This is the biggest playground to date for Harper’s Playground and features a large centerpiece hill called Harper’s Hill, zero-entry teeter-totter, sand play area, wheel play area, wheelchair swing, sensory garden and more. Integrating nature and inclusive design principles, the playground offers a unique environment that stimulates imagination, creativity and adventure. The design uses long-lasting natural materials such as wood and boulders, purpose-built and existing landscaping, and artwork including bronze sculptures and mosaic murals to delight and inspire wonder. The newly designed park will be physically, socially and emotionally inviting for users of all ages and abilities.

The Chelsea Anderson Memorial Play Station was built in 1999 to honor the daughter of Vancouver Fire Services Capt. Curt Anderson, after she drowned in 1996. The original playground was installed in partnership with the Vancouver Fire Department and made possible by many generous community donors. When that playground equipment needed to be replaced due to age, maintaining the site’s history was a priority. The redesigned playground pays tribute to that legacy with a firefighter theme that includes a playable art piece made from a real fire truck and water pump and upcycled fire hydrants used to hold plaques with descriptions of the various playground features in English and Braille. The original Chelsea Anderson brick memorial has been preserved and placed in a special tribute area with an updated donor wall.

“Partnering with Harper’s Playground on this project allows us to continue our vision to place fully accessible playgrounds at parks across Vancouver,” said Julie Hannon, park development services manager. “The Chelsea Anderson Memorial Play Station is a treasure in our parks system. We’re looking forward to carrying on the legacy of the Anderson family and those who originally helped build this special playground.”

For more information about the ribbon-cutting ceremony and the opening of Marshall Park’s nature-inspired playground, please visit www.harpersplayground.org.

About Harper’s Playground

Harper’s Playground inspires and empowers global communities to build radically inclusive playgrounds. Through storytelling, consulting, and unique design principles, we create playful nature-scapes where people of all ages and abilities find belonging and social connection through play.

Harper’s Playground extends gratitude to the City of Vancouver, generous donors, and the entire community for their unwavering support in bringing this project to life. Their dedication and commitment have made Marshall Park a shining example of what can be achieved when we come together to create spaces that inspire, uplift and unite.


Melody Burton; Senior Communications Specialist, 
Vancouver Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services
melody.burton@cityofvancouver.us, 360-869-8746

Justine Monahan, Harper’s Playground Chief Operating Officer
justine@harpersplayground.org, 503-724-4915

Playground with wheelchair swing

Wheelchair Accessible Friendship Swing at Marshall Park

installation of firetruck art piece

Installation of the Fire Truck Art Piece

Welcome plaza being constructed at marshall park

Welcome Plaza under construction at Marshall Park