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Canadian Sport and Events Calendar


Workshop Series: Gender Equity in Recreational Sport – Part 3: Understanding How Facility Design Can Attract and Encourage Use by Girls, Women and Gender-Diverse Individuals



Event Date(s) : November 1, 2021
12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Contact Person : Canadian Parks and Recreation Association

Event Location : Virtual - Zoom

The importance of supporting our community members to pursue recreational activities has never been clearer than it is right now! The pandemic has taken its toll on every Canadian. However, it has disproportionately affected vulnerable groups, including women, girls, and gender diverse people.

As we look for ways to enhance the physical, mental and social well-being of these groups, recreation can play an important role. CPRA is presenting four FREE workshops, each on a different aspect of gender equity and recreation facility use and design, as part of the suite of CPRA resources focused on gender equity in recreational sport.

The series strives to build organizational capacity in four areas: organizational culture change and shared commitment, creative community engagement, facility design to attract and encourage use, and evaluating outcomes.

These interactive Zoom sessions are based on research to determine the topics of greatest interest to recreation practitioners and an understanding of the current situation in Canada. The workshops will include:

  • Overall facilitation by a renowned Canadian expert.
  • Content based on research and input from recreation practitioners.
  • Success stories and examples to bring the topic to life.
  • A focus on addressing women and gender diverse individuals in a variety of leadership roles, and measures of success for each topic.
  • Pre-workshop materials to prepare participants for the group session on each specific workshop topic.
  • Discussion among participants and questions for the experts.

Each workshop will host up to 40 people to provide an interactive learning experience. Sign up for one or all of the sessions. A waitlist will be available once all sessions are filled.
Who should attend?

  • Recreation practitioners from organizations such as municipal recreation departments, Boys & Girls Clubs, YM/YWCAs or private recreational sport facilities.
  • Representatives from organizations that make or influence decisions regarding:
    • The allocation of program space.
    • Design features of a recreational sport facility, both inside and outside.
    • Staff and volunteer recruitment.
    • Program development and promotion.
    • Organizational policies.

What else do you need to know?

  • It is recommended that each interested organization complete the “Temperature Check” self- assessment tool in advance of registering for one or more workshops to help determine where their current capacity in gender equity lies.
  • If more than one person from your organization would like to attend, we encourage you to register as an organization and attend the training as a team to ensure for the greatest number of organizations to attend.
  • Workshops will take place in English with slide presentations available in French. Bilingual workshops are planned for the new year.
  • Prior to the workshop, you will receive a package of information including some pre-workshop questions to complete. Your responses will help us customize the session to participants as much as possible.

The CPRA Gender Equity project is supported by Sport Canada to achieve gender equity in sport at every level by 2035 (Government of Canada, Budget 2018). This project is designed to increase the recruitment and retention of women, girls and gender diverse individuals in recreation and sport.

Facilitator: Mary Chow
Awareness around diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and equity is evolving and changing the physical environment that forms the backdrop for sport and recreation. In the development of designs that consider all humans, making the case for girls, women, and gender diverse individuals can positively impact participation in programming offered at facilities and help overcome the barriers that often deter participation.
This workshop will focus on two key components related to gender equity and the design of recreation facilities:

  • Facility infrastructure design that is universal (“gender mainstreaming”) and/or gender-friendly in nature.
  • Methods to “make the case” for facility design changes in support of gender equity to a variety of stakeholders (e.g., funders, current participants, senior volunteers and staff).

 Examples of many types of facilities will be shared as well as the opportunity for questions and discussion.

About Mary Chow

Mary is an Architect and Associate Vice President with HDR who has dedicated the last 15+ years of her career to designing recreation facilities. Firmly believing that community amenities must serve the stakeholders and demographics for which they are created for, she truly engages the users and thoughtfully implements the best solutions into her work. Mary’s track record of Facility of Excellence awards is proof that she places client and community needs first. In addition to local venues, Mary has traveled internationally to give presentations on various issues related to community facility design, universal design and how community engagement is being integrated into the architectural process. In the past few years, she has spoken at the Athletics Business Conference in Florida and New Orleans, the IAKS (International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities) Congress in Germany, and the TAFISA (The Association for International Sport for All) World Congress in The Netherlands.