Impromptu Playground sets the stage for the 2014 edition of Musical Underground! Thanks to Awesome Ottawa.


Sunday, July 27 noon to 4pm
O-Train path and Queensway underpass [see map]

Musical Underground Ottawa is joining forces with members of Impromptu Playground to create a pop-up temporary outdoor venue.

Musical Underground is a grassroots project that originated around the idea of “reverse busking”. Passer-by musicians stop by to play a tune and sing a song. This year, in addition to offering a chance to win the guitar at the end of the season, we’re offering a public stage!

In keeping with the tradition of busking, part of the spectacle is the disruption and transformation of everyday space.

Set the Stage will be a whacky contrast to the drab hard concrete; a the playful, colourful and soft place for the audience. It will be near impossible to miss!

Think pink!

Join Facebook event page.

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2013-05-27 10.52.51We must have been busy playing – it seems there is some confusion out there that we were previously unaware of.

We’re thrilled you all had a ball in our Dynamic Maze last year. Unfortunately, Impromptu Playground is unable to participate in the upcoming 2014 Ottawa International Children’s Festival due to time limitations and other commitments. As such, we will not be there this year and will not be installing the dynamic maze.

We sincerely apologize for any confusion or disappointment and hope everyone enjoys their time at the festival. Stay tuned to the blog for upcoming Impromptu Playground projects.


Produced in collaboration with Artengine for We Make the City.

Waller Park (Daly Ave and Waller St, next to Arts Court)
Friday September 13 to Saturday September 14
noon to 9pm – Open for play
noon to 2pm – Play date with members of Impromptu Playground

The Dynamic Maze is a play structure designed to inspire imaginative spatial play. The brightly coloured towering reeds and giant inflatable balls transform Waller Park into a playful landscape—a playscape—for both children and adults. The installation transforms the experience of the space and releases the potential to construct and reconstruct place through play.

Join the Facebook event. We look forward to seeing you there!

See also our first Dynamic Maze created in May for the 2013 Ottawa International Children’s Festival.

Impromptu Playground is going to be “parking” in front of the Science and Technology Museum this weekend for the Ottawa Mini Maker Faire and hope you’ll stop by for a visit. Come chat about public installation art, play, architecture, urbanism, alternative and active transportation, etc.

We’d also love to catch you up on projects we’re working on for ElectricFields and Nuit Blanche.


August 31st & September 1st 2013
Located at the Canada Science and Technology Museum
1867 St Laurent Blvd, Ottawa, ON
10AM – 5PM


Check out the list of the other makers participating.

Play’s the thing in park at Ottawa International Children’s Children’s Festival

By Bruce Deachman, OTTAWA CITIZEN May 27, 2013

Play’s the thing in park at Ottawa International Children’s Children’s Festival

From left to right, Jeffrey Salmon, Sarah Gelbard (bottom), Kelly Gillelan and Katelyn Lucas comprise Impromptu Playground, an offshoot of yowLAB, a loose affiliation of about 50 Carleton University architecture grads and other urban planner and artist types, most in their 20s and 30s.

Photograph by: Bruno Schlumberger , Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa International Children’s Festival

May 28 to June 2

Ticket information: 613-241-0999;

OTTAWA — In a frictionless world, the novel playground set up at the Ottawa International Children’s Festival would resemble some fantastic and perpetual clockwork. Imagine 150 yoga balls of different sizes and colours, each tethered by a two-foot rope to a 10-foot-high “reed” made from flexible plumbing tubing. The balls are positioned so that when you kick one, it rolls in an arc into another, which then bounces into a third, and so on and so forth. The playground is called Dynamic Maze.

“It’s generous and playful,” says festival director Catherine O’Grady. “And it’s unique. You’re not going to find 150 balls that you can just run through and bounce on and kick about anywhere else in the city.

“I love that there are no rules, and it’s so unique that kids will actually be inventing the experience for the very first time.”

O’Grady, who’s been programming the festival since 2001, is confident that children will eagerly jump in and play. She just hopes that their parents and other adults attending can throw off their what-are-you-supposed-to-do? reticence and hop in, too.

The irony here is that the group that designed the playground, a quartet that collectively calls itself Impromptu Playground, was formed in 2011 with the idea of providing urban play areas for adults — guerrilla-style pop-up “parks” that simply appear one day and, depending on the reaction of various officials and authorities, disappear almost as quickly.

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