As the controversy continues around building the massive playground at Mooney’s Bay Park – auditions are underway to find the young stars who will be featured in the reality TV show during the playground’s construction.

Earlier this month, the city announced a partnership with the TVO show ‘Giver’ to build a two million dollar playground at Mooney's Bay.

The show will feature kids from all over Canada helping out during the construction of the playground. Auditions for the coveted parts were held Wednesday evening.

Nicolas Girard-Doubleday was nervous as he arrived to Carleton Heights Community Centre. But he says he wants to be part of the show to help his community. “I am part of Scouts Canada, and I have planted trees, and I want to help.”

He arrived with his father and was one of the hundreds of kids who waited for hours in line. In the first hour, 84 kids had had their turn- on top of the over 170 online applications.

Kids registered right away upon arrival. They then waited for their turn to sit at a colouring desk and being to sketch their ideas. Once their name was called, they filed into a hallway, before going into the audition room in front of the show’s producers. This is where kids were asked to explain their design and convince judges why they were best for the part.  

Each youngster came with a different creation. Seven-year-old Poppy Martin wanted a waterslide, “It has one bar in the middle and then one on top , and two big bouncy balls. and a bendy cord.”

But nine-year-old Jake Wilson is thinking more about speed. “Mine is like the Mooney’s Bay 500, it’s basically racetrack of monkey bars.”

Rennata Lopez is producing “Giver” and says she is overwhelmed by the positive response  and turnout. “We are looking for kids who want to be a part of their community and who want to help.  And in years to come can point to the structure and say ‘I built that!’” she says.

Lopez says she hopes people can focus now on the impact youth can have on the structure and see what a positive part of the community this playground will be. She says, “We are glad that this is a room packed for support of the project and the media in Ottawa can see what we have been saying all along that this is a project that is being embraced by the community."

Opposition  the playground has been growing since the announcement. Opponents say they are upset by the process and lack of public consultation. Construction and demolition began Monday, a day before the first public consultation. Last week city council voted against a motion by River Ward councillor Riley Brockington to delay construction. 

But mother Nina Decker came to the show’s audition with her two daughter and hopes everyone can move past the controversy and focus on the kids.  “I think it is too bad they didn’t consult with the community more, but overall I think people  are going to enjoy it and have lots of paly out of it for many many years.”.

The producers will take roughly one month to sift through all the auditions, before making their final decision. The show’s first episode airs early July. The playground is scheduled to be open to the public by September with a grand opening on Canada Day 2017.