Dwayne De Rosario and Jamaal Magloire celebrate opening of East Scarborough Storefront multisport court

MLSE FOUNDATION, CANADIAN TIRE JUMPSTART AND EAST SCARBOROUGH STOREFRONT CELEBRATE THE LAUNCH OF MULTISPORT COURT

TORONTO, Aug. 21, 2014 /CNW/ - To celebrate the launch of the first multisport court developed by MLSE Foundation and Canadian Tire Jumpstart, the East Scarborough Storefront and Toronto Community Foundation joined Toronto FC player and Scarborough-natives Dwayne De Rosario of Toronto FC and Toronto Raptors alumnus Jamaal Magloire for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday. The court, located where East Scarborough Storefront's parking lot once stood, will give over 300 local youth the opportunity to play soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, badminton and hockey in a safe space.

"The MLSE Foundation is excited to make a difference for the hundreds of kids who will use this multisport court," said Michael Bartlett, Executive Director, MLSE Foundation.  "We know that there are many benefits to participating in sports at a young age and we want to ensure that communities like this have the proper facilities to provide that opportunity.  It's tremendous to show how uniting with our teams, partners and fans can deliver tangible community outcomes for the kids of Toronto."

A shortage of playing space in the East Scarborough area was a concern highlighted by both the area's residents and youth. While The Storefront has made significant investments in the neighbourhood, the area lacked a safe space for youth to come together and play.  Through implementation of a youth design program and funding support from partners, ERA Architects Inc and Sustainable TO were able to convert The Storefront's parking lot into a multisport playing area. The new court features re-surfaced pavement, painted lines, retaining walls and sports nets funded by the MLSE Foundation and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities.

"We are thrilled to partner with the MLSE Foundation to launch the East Scarborough Storefront multisport court as it will give our community partners a safe space to organize physical activity programs for hundreds of children in the Scarborough region," said Landon French, Vice President, Community Relations; Executive Director, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. "We believe every kid deserves the chance to develop the confidence, teamwork and leadership skills gained through participation in organized sports and physical activities, and thanks to this new facility even more kids will experience these benefits.

"Sport is a universal language, it brings people together," said Anne Gloger, Director, East Scarborough Storefront.  "The court will be a catalyst for teamwork, for confidence building, for inclusion and for community building. We are so grateful to the MLSE Foundation, Canadian Tire Jumpstart, Toronto Community Foundation and all the partners who collaboratively made it happen."

Another highlight of the re-developed parking lot is the Sky-o-Swale. The first of its kind, the Sky-o-Swale is an innovative multi-dimensional approach to re-purposing every day materials, which cleans and harvests rain water for irrigation. It will provide shade and create a distinctive landmark and community gathering space in Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park. This youth-led, grassroots project is supported by the Toronto Community Foundation with grants provided by the J. Douglas Crashley Fund and the James Rutley Grand Memorial Fund. Complementing the Sky-O-Swale is a green roof and edible garden, both funded by Live Green.

"We are pleased to be participating in this grassroots community project with all of the partners, including the East Scarborough Storefront, MLSE Foundation, and Live Green Toronto," said Rahul K. Bhardwaj, President and CEO, Toronto Community Foundation.  "The multisport court and Sky-o-Swale projects have resulted in the kind of cross-sector partnerships that we need to make community development successful."

To ensure the community is able to support increased interest in programing at the new multisport court, the MLSE Foundation trained over 40 local residents through its "Train the Trainer" program, which provided participants with National Coaching Certification and FUNdamental Training Certification from the Ontario Basketball Association and Ontario Soccer Association.  Participants (community coaches) received additional training from Toronto FC and Toronto Raptors Basketball development clinicians.

Thanks to the Train the Trainer program, newly certified community coaches will increase the community's ability to engage local youth in grassroots programming at the new court.  Community coaches will also receive financial support from Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities to continue sports programing on the court. 

About MLSE Foundation:

The MLSE Foundation believes all kids should have access to sport and the opportunity to develop lasting dreams on the playing field. With the support of all four MLSE teams – the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC and the Toronto Marlies – the Foundation funds the refurbishment of local athletic facilities and programs that support kids through sport and recreation. Since launching in December 2009, the MLSE Foundation has invested more than $12 million into our community.

About Canadian Tire Jumpstart:

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities is a national charity dedicated to providing kids from financially disadvantaged families with the opportunity to experience the benefits of organized sports and physical activities. With an extensive, national network of more than 330 local chapters, Jumpstart helps kids in communities across Canada by assisting with the costs associated with registration, equipment and/or transportation.

Supported by the Canadian Tire Family of Companies, which includes Canadian Tire, PartSource, Gas+, Sport Chek, Atmosphere, National Sports, Sports Experts, Mark's and Canadian Tire Financial Services, Jumpstart has given more than 775,000 Canadian kids the chance to get in the game since 2005.

About East Scarborough Storefront:

The East Scarborough Storefront began its work in 2001 in response to the isolation, poverty and tension arising when hundreds of people, with nowhere else to go were housed in the Kingston Road Motel strip. More than 40 organizations joined forces to figure out how they could improve the lives, not only of those living in the motels, but of an entire under-resourced and underserved neighborhood. From this, the Storefront has continued to develop a new model of community improvement in high needs areas.

The East Scarborough Storefront's mission is to work together with community members to create a thriving community by acting as a bridge between people, services and communities, working together in a safe, welcoming and accessible environment, nurturing diversity and harmony and exploring possibilities. The Storefront strives to provide accessible sites for community members and cultures to work towards a common goal of living healthy lives and to find meaningful work.

About Toronto Community Foundation:

With more than 500 active Funds, including Endowments and assets under administration of more than $290 million, the Toronto Community Foundation is one of Canada's largest public charitable foundations. Our mission is to connect philanthropy to community needs and opportunities, all with a vision to make Toronto the best place to live, work, learn and grow, through the power of giving. For information, please visit www.tcf.ca.

SOURCE Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd.

For further information: visit mlsefoundation.org or follow @MLSEFoundation