Play Amherstburg

Play Amherstburg

July 19, 2021

The River Bookshop is pleased to support this important test programming.Richmond Street for kids.  Note that we are hosting two story times that day.  Bring you kids down to play and please drop in and show your littles our awesome kids section!


Play Amherstburg

Ok so what’s this all about?

Well we have a bit to unpack here so please stay with us as we walk you through it.



Hopefully you know about T.H.R.I.V.E and how it is championing nine initiatives that will help make Amherstburg even better. THRIVE will be presenting numerous White Papers on those initiatives to Council over the next many months. The recommendations in the White Papers will always be based on evidence backed data, believe in the science; and adapt relevant international best practices. Some of the White Papers will contain research results from tests we conducted in Amherstburg.

Here is a definition of tactical urbanism: “low cost , temporary changes in the built environment intended to inspire local neighbourhood and gathering places”. And the characteristics of it are:

  • a deliberate, phased approach to instigating change
  • offering local solutions to local planning challenges
  • short-term commitment as a first step to longer term change
  • lower risk with potentially higher reward


THRIVE believes that streets are for people and knows that the merits of Open Air is affirmed by our research. We do not believe Open Air’s existence needs to be debated again. Instead we suggest that Council needs to focus on how to make it even better. So it’s important that we all learn from this year’s Open Air and come up with new ideas that do just that. THRIVE also believes that businesses need to do their part by being creative and invest in new ideas to attract participants. Standing still is not an option for any successful business.

Right now Dalhousie is the busiest section of Open Air. Supported by great restaurants it is a very active and a fun space. Richmond with no active restaurants is pretty quiet. And while kids love coming down town with their parents for an ice cream there really is little for them to do. So what if we created an Open Air area for kids?



As we looked for best practices that could be adapted for Amherstburg, we have come across numerous examples of communities turning over their streets to kids. Check out The Global Designing Cities Initiative which is testing safe and enjoyable streets for kids in the US, Brazil and Chile. Or Google “make your street a safe place to play”.

So we have decided to convert a portion of Richmond street on July 25 and August 29 to test what we call “Play Amherstburg”. A test to see whether our idea warrants the town investing in programming for kids in the 2022 Open Air budget? Our observations and research will be part of THRIVE’s White Paper on Open Air that will go to council (FYI: if you wish to be one of the architects of that White Paper join ).



Funded entirely by the River Bookshop and the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team this is our game plan for July 25. August 29 may be modified based on learning from July 25. Of course we will follow all the Covid guidelines in place at the time.

Play Amherstburg will start at 11 am and go to 5. pm. It will take place in the parking spaces approved for Open Air in front of 67, 63 and 61 Richmond. During the entire play period there will also be other games to to play like Corn Hole and Jenga etc.

Scheduled events (contingent on weather naturally) are as follows and are subject to change:

So please bring your kids, your grandkids, your neighbours and come down and “Play Amherstburg” . Prove to Council that programming Richmond for kids is a great investment for 2022’s Open Air.

Let’s make Amherstburg really THRIVE for kids


Dan and Richard

P.S Downtown Espresso Cafe is also doing its part that day to activate Open Air. The have a special guest coming - Mickey Mouse!