A kindergarten playground at a Scarborough public school that parents and community members spent five years raising money to build has been destroyed by a fire.
"Yesterday night at approximately 9 p.m. it was discovered that there was a fire and the school kindergarten equipment was destroyed," said Scarborough school board trustee Shaun Chen.
Mary Shadd Public School is in the community of Malvern, one of Toronto's "priority" neighbourhoods, where the city has focused its efforts to reduce crime and improve youth opportunities.
Principal Annessa Ali said in a news release that the equipment was installed last summer and the cost is not covered by insurance. "Staff have removed the charred remains and cleaned up the area so it is safe for students," she said.
Mr. Chen said he experienced "pure shock" at hearing the news. "It's really unfortunate because the students, parents and community members worked so hard over the past five years to fundraise the $20,000 for this playground equipment," he added.
Mr. Chen said that although the wooden frame is still intact, the playground itself is not usable. The equipment was designed for children aged 4, 5 and 6 to play on.
Mr. Chen and Ms. Ali are making an appeal to Torontonians to contribute whatever they can to help the community rebuild.
"I think every penny will count," Mr. Chen said.
"Parents are quite devastated. I think the reaction is always, why? We don't have the answers now."
A police investigation into the incident is under way.