SEPTEMBER 27, 2023 – Ottawa, Canada – The sold-out Breath of Fresh Air Summit (BoFA – is a three-day Outdoor Play Summit where thought leaders, practitioners, researchers and policy makers connect – outdoors – and share best practices for promoting and supporting outdoor play for all people in Canada, regardless of age, gender, ability, ethnicity or familiarity with the outdoors.

More than 200 delegates from across Canada will convene in outdoor venues at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa on Sept. 27-29, 2023. Delegates will participate in land acknowledgements, a smudging ceremony and healing circle, keynote addresses, speed-greeting activities, a film premiere, panel discussions, research presentations, hands-on workshops, story-telling sessions, interactive exhibits, an awards ceremony, as well as hikes, scavenger hunts, campfire chats and sing-alongs, and outdoor meals. A highlight will be the unveiling of the new Forest Explorers Building – home of the Canadian Centre for Outdoor Play, housed at Wesley Clover Parks.

The theme for the 2023 Summit is ‘Research, policy, and practice – their intersections for the promotion of outdoor play’. Delegates will convene to discuss how research, policy, and practice can promote and shape the future of outdoor play in Canada and abroad. Outdoor Play Canada, a not-for-profit organization housed in Ottawa at the soon to open Canadian Centre for Outdoor Play, is host of the Summit, in partnership with the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at the CHEO Research Institute, and Andrew Fleck Children’s Services. The Summit will connect outdoor play advocates across the fields of practice, research, and policy to advance collective efforts to promote, protect, and preserve access to play in nature and the outdoors for all people living in Canada.

“The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us of the fundamental importance of spending time outdoors to get healthy, stay healthy, get active, prevent disease transmission, reconnect with nature and promote a healthy relationship with the land,” said Professor Mark Tremblay, President of Outdoor Play Canada and Senior Scientist at the CHEO Research Institute in Ottawa. “Outdoor Play Canada aims to promote routine, responsible and respectful relationships with the outdoors in response to the new normal provoked by a socially accepted screen-centric indoor living society and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, global conflicts, and severe weather associated with climate change”.

“This event represents the ethos of Outdoor Play Canada – bringing outdoor play researchers, educators, policy makers, stakeholders – and the knowledge they carry – together to promote, protect, and preserve access to play outdoors and in nature” said Dr. Louise de Lannoy, Executive Director of Outdoor Play Canada. “We are thrilled by the enthusiasm expressed by our attendees ahead of this event and look forward to the deep discussions and visioning on the future of outdoor play in Canada and abroad that will happen during these three short days.”

“When You See Someone Putting On His Big Boots, You Can Be Pretty Sure That An Adventure Is Going To Happen.” From The Hundred Acre Woods.

“And that is what we will be doing, putting on our big boots, excited to share the joy, laughter and learning through play that happens when children spend their days outside. We know every participant will leave this summit with a renewed commitment to outdoor play for all Canadians” said Kim Hiscott, Executive Director of Andrew Fleck Children’s Services.


About Outdoor Play Canada
Outdoor Play Canada is a national organization that brings together advocates, practitioners, researchers and partner organizations to promote, protect, and preserve access to play in nature and the outdoors for all people living in Canada. Outdoor Play Canada provides leadership to galvanize the outdoor play movement across Canada to promote the health and wellness of Canadians and the environments in which we live. Further information is available at

For more information, to arrange a visit, or to set up an interview, please contact:

Ottawa Forest and Nature School

Dr. Mark Tremblay, President, Outdoor Play Canada

Dr. Louise de Lannoy, Executive Director, Outdoor Play Canada

Kim Hiscott, Executive Director, Andrew Fleck Children’s Services