Riverview park honouring teen known for kindness opens

Anne Schofield leans down, hits a button on a sound box and listens to the voice of her late daughter, Becca.

"By being kind, we're fighting crime, which essentially means that being kind is like being a superhero," the recorded message says.

"So the more you are kind, the easier it will become. And if you still find yourself struggling for a reason to be kind, well Becca told you to."  

It's what the 18-year-old Riverview teen was known for — kindness.

She died after a battle with brain cancer in February 2018 but not before sparking a kindness campaign, which asked people to perform good deeds and post them on social media with the hashtag beccatoldmeto.

Kate Letterick/CBC News

On Tuesday, a playground named in her honour, officially opened at the Frank L. Bowser School in Riverview.

The Rebecca Schofield All World Super Play Park replaces a wooden structure built in 1994.

 Building the new playground, which is accessible and inclusive, took a huge community-based effort. A fundraising campaign was announced in August of 2018.

Brad LeBlanc is part of the group that got the project moving.

Pierre Fournier/CBC News

"To have seen the community come together in the way they have, raising the $650,000, which was an impossible feat, everyone said of course. And the community came together the money was raised. 

"And then 2,000 volunteers came together to actually build the park and it was nothing short of miraculous really, really inspiring incredible."

Becca's mother, Anne, said the park is special.

"I can come over here and have a seat on a bench and just look at the park and remember how much fun she had on this park. Her and her sister loved this park. So it was really a part of her upbringing a part of who she is. So it's wonderful."  

Schofield is thankful for everything done by the community, something that reminds her of when the original All World Super Play Park was built 25 years ago.

And she thinks her daughter would smile looking at the new version. 

"She was afraid that she hadn't lived long enough, that she didn't have a legacy, she didn't have a purpose, that she'd be forgotten," Schofield said. "Was she ever wrong. Look at what's going on. Like she won't be forgotten. This is wonderful."  

Pierre Fournier/CBC News

Schofield said it all goes back to Becca's request to simply perform an act of kindness.

"Her movement was described to me one time by somebody that said it's like it's like a rainstorm on a lake. Each act of kindness is a raindrop and each raindrop has a ripple effect. So her act of kindness has made multiple acts of kindness happen and each of those acts of kindness in themselves has created other acts of kindness. 

"So this is like a rainstorm on a lake, this park, because all the acts of kindness that have been done to make it happen."