Survey: Parks and Recreation Create a Sense of Belonging and Connection

In January, we asked the Saskatchewan public how they felt about two statements we hoped would give us insight on the sense of belonging, welcome and community-building that parks and recreation spaces create.

Inclusive Gathering

The first statement was “Recreation and parks create opportunities and spaces for inclusive gathering.”

88% of all respondents agreed with this statement, and 50% of all respondents strongly agreed.

People with children have a stronger sense that recreation and parks are important places for inclusive gatherings.

89% of those with children agree, and 56% of those with children strongly agreed. Those with children are significantly more likely to strongly agree than those without children, of which only 47% strongly agree.

Here are some comments we received from our survey participants:

  • “As a handicapped member of society it’s one of the few places I can go and picnic with my husband or see friends. It’s also where my husband can see his friends and play music and get into playing music together. Different things like that.”
  • “I work with ladies who have mental and physical disabilities. We use many of the parks around the City on a daily basis for picnics, walks etc. The parks are clean and well maintained, and the equipment [is] well maintained and safe for our use. I also had a family member who was disabled and in a wheelchair, we were able to use the handicapped swings and she loved them. She has passed away, but we have many good memories of her enjoying life.”
  • “Children of young families get a chance to play with children of other young  families who may not have the same skin colour or dress the same way or even speak the same language. As a result of this interaction, the parents of these children may also have a positive experience being with people with different ethnic backgrounds.”

A Sense of Belonging

The second statement we tested with the public was “Recreation opportunities and spaces create a sense of belonging and connection in our communities.” 89% of all respondents agreed, and 50% of respondents strongly agreed.

There weren’t any significant differences between those with children and the rest nor were there any significant differences based on age, region, etc. What we did learn is that Saskatchewan people see their recreation opportunities and spaces as important aspects of their sense of belonging and connection to their communities.

And here are some more comments we received from participants:

  • “An event held in a park is attended by community members of all ages, race, and social standing.  A great place to mingle and get to talk with someone you don't know.  Often you learn that people share the same concerns and values.”
  • “As you get older it is more difficult to be outside as much as you should be or you are unable to have social interactions with others easily.  Recreation Centers and Parks would be an important outlet for the Elderly to meet and socialize as long as they were designed for use by the older folks in the communities.”
  • “Being at our local parks, I’ve met some of my neighbours and my kids have made fantastic friends. These are important to keep the connections going while in the middle of a pandemic.”

Survey Method

802 adults age 18+ were polled in January 2022 through Insightrix Research Inc.’s online public poll service with respondents roughly equally separated into 4 regions: Saskatoon, Regina, South Saskatchewan, North Saskatchewan based on postal code. 

The specific questions we asked were “Please rate your agreement with each of the following statements”  

  1. Recreation and Parks create opportunities and spaces for inclusive gathering 
  1. Recreation opportunities and spaces create a sense of belonging and connection in our communities. 

Respondents chose an answer from: strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree, not sure

Participants in the survey were asked if they would contribute a text comment or video comment stating in their own words why they agree or disagree that parks and recreation offer places for inclusive gathering and create a sense of belonging to the community.