ontario parks association

Protecting Tomorrow Today®

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Calendar of Events

Click here to see the full list of courses OPA offers.


For your convenience and to help stretch your budget dollars, OPA will bring any of the courses listed here to your municipality or organization. We encourage you to let us know if you are interested even if you can only send one or two staff. We will combine your training with neighbouring organizations. Not only will this provide valuable training, but also foster and facilitate communication and experience sharing among your local and neighboring organizations. Call today to register and we will assist you through the process. 

Please click here to view OPA’s Registration Policies including:

· Cancellation / Substitution and Transfer Policy

· Privacy Statement

· Waiver / Disclaimer

Upcoming events

    • 02 Oct 2018
    • 31 Dec 2019

    Join the Ontario Parks Association Foundation (OPAF) in growing green professionals by sponsoring one of the Foundation's annual student awards.


    Select the award you wish to sponsor and as an OPA Associate Member award sponsor, your business name will be identified with that award.  Due to the historical background of each award, the OPAF has a commitment to maintain the name of each scholarship and bursary so the sponsored awards would appear as follows: LEN STANLEY – KING OF KEW SCHOLARSHIP: This award has been sponsored by J. DOE TURF SUPPLIES for a 3 year period beginning in 2019. 

    Sponsorship will also be recognized through other promotional methods such as on the OPAF website, in the Green Sward, and at annual events like the OPA Parks Education Forum and the OPAF's Dave Gower Memorial Golf Tournament.

    The cost of sponsorship is the amount of the award times three years - i.e. if you sponsor the Dave Gower OPAF Bursary your commitment would be $2,000 x 3 years for a total commitment of $6,000.


    The OPA Foundation currently offers four bursaries worth $2,000 each and three scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each, they are:

    Dave Gower OPAF Bursary 

    Dave was a great supporter of the OPA throughout his career in the municipal parks field. He was also a former president of the association and a great advocate for the OPAF. This award was named in his honour and will be given to an individual who the selection committee feels is the most deserving of this bursary.

    Joyce Anderson Bursary 

    This award was established through the generous donation made by Frank Anderson as a memorial to his loving wife Joyce. Frank was one of the founding members of the OPAF and served the OPA in many capacities throughout his distinguished career in municipal park services. The selection committee will award this bursary to a deserving student based on their academic performance and financial need.

    Protecting Tomorrow Today® Bursary -  This award has been sponsored by EVERPLAY for a 3 year period beginning in 2019. 

    This award will be presented to a student registered in the first year of their post-secondary program who has demonstrated exceptional involvement and commitment towards environmental protection and conservation. 

    The Beulah & Harry Christian, Margaret & Ernie Seager Bursary

    This award was donated by these two couples who were longtime friends and great supporters of the OPAF. Both Harry and Ernie are former presidents of the OPA, and were awarded lifetime memberships for their dedication and many years of service to the advancement of municipal and regional park systems in Ontario. Awarded to a qualified individual based on marks, but most importantly, need and effort.

    Little Tikes Commercial Scholarship -  This award has been sponsored by LITTLE TIKES for a 3 year period beginning in 2019. 

    This  scholarship was named for the above company after their generous donation of a play structure, which was auctioned off to Ontario Parks Departments. The winning bid provided sufficient funds to create this award. The selection committee will award this scholarship to a deserving individual that meets the application criteria.

    City of Mississauga Scholarship -  This award has been sponsored by CITY OF MISSISSAUGA for a 3 year period beginning in 2019. 

    The City of Mississauga made this award possible because of the outstanding fund raising efforts by their Community Services Department staff. As hosts for the annual OPAF Golf Tournament in 2003 they raised more money for OPAF than any other single event in the foundation history to date. This award will be presented to an individual that the selection committee feels is most deserving of this scholarship.

    Len Stanley-King of Kew Scholarship

    Len Stanley was one of the founding members of the OPAF and had a long and distinguished career in the City of Toronto parks system. He became known as the "King of Kew Gardens" by his fellow colleagues after becoming the superintendent of this Toronto park, and for his ongoing leadership capacity in the OPA. Awarded to a deserving student whose home address is in one of the municipalities that make up the new amalgamated City of Toronto and meets the following criteria:

    • Pursuing a career in parks design, development, maintenance or administration
    • Exemplifies the joy of life and concerns for one's fellow citizens
    • Has a positive social outlook
    • Possesses a genuine desire to preserve and protect the natural elements of their community
    • Is a successful first year student in a college or university institution in Canada or the United States.

    As a sponsor, your company or business will help ensure that all seven awards will be available for presentation to eligible students on an annual basis. Sponsorship is renewable after the original 3 year commitment is completed. Implementation of the program is expected to commence in the spring of 2019.

    Thank you for supporting the OPA Foundation as we continue to provide financial support to our future parks professionals. Together we are growing green professionals!

    • 21 Oct 2019
    • 22 Oct 2019
    • Town of Tillsonburg & Town of East Gwillimbury

    The Yardstick User Group Meeting is an opportunity for members of the Yardstick Parks Project (and interested parties) to get together and review the results of the project for the past year and to discuss the implications of these results for municipal operations. In addition, discussion will take place regarding potential enhancements and refinements to questions and data for next year’s benchmarking.

    Facilitator: Chris Rutherford, Yardstick Project Director

    The User Group Meeting usually lasts 2 to 3 hours, followed by lunch and a tour of a location the host organization wishes to showcase, in this case the beautiful Civic Green Courtyard and Accessibility Entrance at the Civic Centre. This creates a good day of networking and sharing of best practices. Yardstick member organizations are encouraged to send several representatives. Non-member organizations are very welcome to attend, as this meeting will provide a great opportunity for potential participants to find out more about the Yardstick Parks Project and the benefits it holds for Ontario municipalities.

    PLEASE NOTE: There is no cost to attend this event, however advance registration is required.

    Why should you attend? How do you know if you are doing a good job, and what is a good job? The Yardstick benchmarking program provides management, financial and planning information for parks, open space and facilities managers. Participating in this project will allow you to measure and compare your performance, levels of service and operational costs with similar sized municipalities across the province, the country and internationally.

    Still unsure if this information session is for you? Try answering the following questions:

    1. How many hectares of park land do you provide per 1000 residents?
    2. What is it costing you per hectare to provide this level of service?
    3. How many street trees do you provide per kilometre of road and what is your annual expenditure per street tree?
    4. How many playgrounds do you provide per 1000 children and what are they costing to maintain?
    5. What is your annual expenditure per m2 of garden bed?
    6. Do you have activity strategies for provision of tracks and trails, playgrounds or washrooms in your parks?
    7. How much is your organization spending each year on parks as a proportion of its total spend?
    8. What do your park visitors value about your parks, and does the level of service you provide meet their expectations?

    Were you able to answer all, or at least most of the questions above? If not, don’t worry, you are not alone. Most members of the Yardstick project had the same problem … until they started benchmarking. Now they are able to confidently respond to those, and many other questions, while providing quantifiable data to support their claims.

    Yardstick provides easy to use, flexible, online reports, along with an individual analysis report for each member organization—measuring each member against industry best practices. Wouldn’t you, or the elected officials in your community, like to know how your municipality/facility will measure up so you can plan, and invest, more wisely?

    Join us at either of the following events:

    SESSION 1:

    WHEN: Monday, October 21st, 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm

    VENUE/HOST: Town of Tillsonburg - Tillsonburg Community Centre, Lion’s Den Meeting Room, 45 Hardy Avenue, Tillsonburg, ON  N4G 3W9

    SESSION 2:

    WHEN: Tuesday, October 22nd, 9:30 am to 1:30 pm

    VENUE/HOST: Town of East Gwillimbury - Town of East Gwillimbury Civic Centre Holland Landing Room, 19000 Leslie Street, Sharon, ON

    TO REGISTER: Please click here and you will be directed to the registration page.

    • 28 Oct 2019
    • 8:00 AM
    • 01 Nov 2019
    • 5:00 PM
    • Town of East Gwillimbury ~ East Gwillimbury Sports Complex - 1914B Mt Albert Rd, Sharon, ON L0G 1V0
    • 0
    Join waitlist


    The Ontario Parks Association (OPA) has developed the Registered Playground Practitioner Program to meet the needs of those involved and responsible for the hands-on inspections and maintenance of public playspaces and playground facilities.


    Safe Play - A High Priority

    The Ontario Parks Association places a high priority and commitment on the provision of safe play structures in our public spaces. We want to help ensure that they are safe and accessible. OPA also emphasizes the strong need to educate caregivers, supervisors and others about the benefits of positive and safe play experiences for our children.


    What You Will Learn

    Attending this course will teach you about significantly lowering the risk of injuries in play areas by providing a safe outdoor learning experience for all. This course uses the CAN/CSA-Z614-14, Children's Playspaces and Equipment, as a base document for the three independent sections of the course.


    Intensive 4 1/2-Day Program

    The Ontario Parks Association instructors include experts from the industry including an architect, liability expert, lawyer, representative of the CSA Standards Association and others to give in-depth training on the following topics and includes an on-site demonstration at a local playground structure:

    Playspace Strategies Playspace Evaluation Playspace Management
    space requirements playvalue and hazard identification liability and insurance
    playability inspection and maintenance due diligence
    access/egress requirements surfacing evaluation contractual obligations
    playspace design record keeping risk management
    age appropriate issues CSA overview owner/operator responsibilities
    playspace materials corrective actions employee/manager responsibilities
    playspace construction   playvalue and practical choices

    Principal Instructor Peter Kells

    Industrial Designer involved with the design of playground and recreation equipment since 1984. Involved with the writing of both the CSA playground standard and other international Standards. Executive member of IPA Canada (International Association for the Child's Right to Play). Playground Inspector since 2000.

    Upon completion of the program and achievement of a passing grade in the written examinations the participant will be registered by the Ontario Parks Association as a Playground Practitioner and thereby qualified to inspect playgrounds. 

    The OPA Registered Playground Practitioner Program is recognized as a playground safety course for inspectors by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

    Attendees are required to purchase a copy of the new CSA Z614-14 Standard. The test at the end of the course is open book so attendees will need their own copy (sharing books is not permitted). Attendees can choose to either use the PDF version and bring it on their tablet or other electronic device (so long as they can turn off the use of internet / text messaging for the test as any use of outside sources is considered cheating and will not receive a passing grade) or the hard copy of the book. Books can be purchased at the CSA Online Shop 

    (https://store.csagroup.org/ccrz__ProductDetails?viewState=DetailView&cartID=&portalUser=&store=&cclcl=en_US&sku=CAN%2FCSA-Z614-14 )



    October 28th - November 1st, 2019 (Please note the Thursday of this training falls on Halloween) 

    Monday - Thursday 8:00am to 5:00pm
    Friday 8:00am - 3:00pm


    East Gwillimbury Sports Complex ~ Ontario Loft
    1914B Mt. Albert Road 
    Sharon, ON L0G 1V0

    Practical location: Sharon Hills Park is a 5 min hike from the Sharon Arena (and directly behind the complex) where the classroom is.

    The course will start promptly at 8:00am each day.


    OPA Members: $1,268.00

    Non-Members: $1,498.00

    PLEASE NOTE: meals are not provided at this training session. Attendees will be required to bring their own lunch, coffee and snacks. 

    • 05 Nov 2019
    • 7:30 AM
    • 06 Nov 2019
    • 3:30 PM
    • City of Woodstock~ Cowan Park - 895 Ridgewood Drive, Woodstock, ON N4T 0A6
    • 6


    The Department of Labour requires that all Parks Professionals who use chainsaws on the job be trained in their safe operation.


    This two (2) day seminar helps satisfy these requirements.


    The course will cover:

    • Safety Regulations and PPE
    • Identify and inspect all chainsaw safety components
    • Inspection and adjustment of a chainsaw
    • Starting and stopping techniques
    • Safe handling of a chainsaw
    • Woodlot assessment and hazards
    • Felling techniques for trees greater then 5" dbh
    • Bucking and Limbing
    • Pole saw and cutting attachments
    • Competence test



    • Class E Type 2 helmet
    • Hearing protection
    • Gloves
    • Eye protection
    • Safety boots
    • Full leg chaps or ballistic pants


    November 5 & 6, 2019


    7:30am to 3:30pm

    In-Class Location:

    Cowan Park
    895 Ridgewood Drive
    Woodstock, ON N4T 0A6

    Outdoor Location (6 minute drive):  Lion’s Trail entrance ~ 51 Bexley Street, Woodstock, ON N4S 5X7

    Lunch is NOT provided at this location – please bring a lunch, snacks and drinks (water etc..) both days. 

    Register online, payment can be made via cheque (made payable to Ontario Parks Association) or by calling the OPA office with a credit card for processing. (905-864-6182, ext. 6710) .

    • 18 Nov 2019
    • 8:00 AM
    • 19 Nov 2019
    • 4:00 PM
    • City of Richmond Hill Operations Shop ~ 1200 Elgin Mills Road East, Richmond Hill, ON L4S 1M4
    • 0
    Join waitlist


    The Department of Labour requires that all Parks Professionals who use chainsaws on the job be trained in their safe operation.


    This two (2) day seminar helps satisfy these requirements.


    The course will cover:

    • Safety Regulations and PPE
    • Identify and inspect all chainsaw safety components
    • Inspection and adjustment of a chainsaw
    • Starting and stopping techniques
    • Safe handling of a chainsaw
    • Woodlot assessment and hazards
    • Felling techniques for trees greater then 5" dbh
    • Bucking and Limbing
    • Pole saw and cutting attachments
    • Competence test



    • Class E Type 2 helmet (within 5 years old)
    • Hearing protection (exceeds 85 decimals)
    • Gloves (comfortable fitting leather or composite)
    • Eye protection
    • Safety Boots (Green Patch Safety approved with a minimum height of 7 eyelets)
    • Full leg chaps or Chainsaw Pants with UL label that is visible (3000 feet per minute (FPM) or greater)


    November 18 & 19, 2019


    8:00am to 4:00pm

    In-Class Location:

    City of Richmond Hill Operations Shop ~ Fire Training Room 1st Floor
    1200 Elgin Mills Road East
    Richmond Hill, ON L4S 1M4

    Outdoor Location: Upper Mill Pond Park ( 13 mins away - See map below) 


    Participants can park their vehicles and access the park from Willett Crescent – there is also parking on Theobald’s Circle just to the north. 


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