RELEASE - MLSE Foundation and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities launch new multisport court at Valley Park Middle School

TORONTO, June 4, 2015 /CNW/ - To celebrate the launch of Valley Park Middle School's new multisport court, developed in partnership with MLSE Foundation and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, youth from the Flemingdon Park neighbourhood joined Scarborough-natives and MLSE community ambassadors, Dwayne De Rosario and Jamaal Magloire for a special event on Thursday afternoon. The new court will provide more than 1,000 local youth with a safe place to play sports including hockey, soccer and basketball. The event spanned the majority of the day and included a community cricket game, clinics hosted by Toronto Raptors basketball development coaches, a talent show featuring local cultural dancers, a fashion show and formal speeches from Ontario Premier, The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, MLSE Foundation Chair, Aris Kaplanis and Executive Director of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, Landon French.

"We are excited to be a part of such a collaborative project, with so many organizations that have made the commitment to impact the lives of kids through sport, in the Flemingdon Park Community," said MLSE Foundation Chair, Aris Kaplanis. "Investments like these make a huge difference, especially when partners work together to expand the impact. We are proud to invest in this project with our friends at Canadian Tire Jumpstart, and we share a commitment to this community for years to come."

The new multisport court funded by MLSE Foundation and Jumpstart transformed an open space at Valley Park Middle School into a safe play space for the community. Surrounded by high-rise, low-income residences, the court will act as an athletic hub for the Flemingdon Park community.

"Every child deserves the opportunity to learn, play and grow in a safe environment where they can develop important life skills like confidence, leadership and teamwork," said Jumpstart Executive Director, Landon French. "We are delighted to partner with MLSE Foundation once again to give even more children that safe place to play. We believe in the power of sport to change lives and bring communities together and this new court will do that."

MLSE Foundation and Jumpstart funded the redevelopment of Valley Park's space which included: concrete and asphalt surfacing, construction of the multisport stadium, storage shed and development of the stadium's new, safe sport surface. The existing cricket pitch at Valley Park Middle School is one of the only outdoor recreation spaces in the Flemingdon Park neighbourhood and will continue to be a highlight for local youth. The addition of the new multisport court will give local youth more quality space to play.

"This is a very special event for Go Green and Valley Park Middle School. We are extremely excited to open after so much collective effort went into raising $1.75 million dollars, since the dream began in 2010," said VPMS principal and Go Green Co-Chair Nickolas Stefanoff.

To ensure the community is able to support increased interest in programming at the new multisport court, MLSE Foundation trained over 40 local residents through its "Train the Trainer" program, which provided participants with National Coaching Certification in FUNdamental Movement Skills and Soccer FUNdamental Certification from the Ontario Soccer Association. Community participants received additional ball hockey and soccer training from Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto FC sport development coaches. Thanks to the "Train the Trainer" program, newly certified 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 Jumpstart to continue developing organized sports programs at the court.

About MLSE Foundation:
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 $15 million into our community. For information visit mlsefoundation.org or follow @MLSEFoundation.

About Canadian Tire Jumpstart:
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities is a national charity dedicated to providing kids from low-income 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 enabled more than 875,000 Canadian kids and counting to get in the game since 2005.

Follow Jumpstart on Twitter and Facebook to learn about how the charity is giving kids across Canada a sporting chance.

SOURCE Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd.

For further information: Akasha Di Tomasso, MLSE, 416-815-5924, Akasha.DiTomasso@MLSE.com; Candice Bruton, Canadian Tire Corporation, 416-520-3184, candice.bruton@cantire.com

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