Just in time to celebrate Canada’s win at the 2015 World Junior Championships earlier this week, the puck has dropped on the refurbished rink at the Regent Park Athletic Grounds.Residents of the Toronto neighbourhood, currently undergoing a massive revitalization, can thank the MLSE Foundation, in collaboration with the Hockey Canada Foundation.At an event to mark the launch last week, Toronto Maple Leafs hockey development coaches led a Learn To Skate clinic for 40 pre-registered youth from the community, highlighting the impact the improved rink will have on growing the sport in Regent Park. Residents of the community were invited to hear remarks from members of the organizations involved in Toronto Community Housing’s revitalization of Regent Park and to watch the first official puck drop at centre ice. Following the ceremony, residents and families of Regent Park participated in a community skate with Toronto Maple Leafs alumni and members of Canada’s 1993 and 1994 National Junior Teams.
“The opening of the hockey rink in partnership with Hockey Canada Foundation is an exciting, tangible display of the work we’re proud to be doing in Regent Park,” says Michael Bartlett, executive director, MLSE Foundation. “With Toronto Community Housing, The Daniels Corporation and the City of Toronto, we’ve been able to work closely with the community to develop a space that will engage youth and give them the opportunity to play. I’m thrilled to be able to open the refurbished rink in time for residents of Regent Park to enjoy the space with their families over the holidays.”
With a $300,000 investment, the Hockey Canada Foundation became the leading funding partner of the MLSE Foundation’s revitalization of the rink and fieldhouse. The donation was made as a legacy to the Regent Park community from the Hockey Canada Foundation’s annual Celebrity Classic gala, and helped to transform the rink into safe space for youth to play hockey.“The Hockey Canada Foundation is proud to partner and support the MLSE Foundation on this wonderful community initiative,” says Chris Bright, executive director, Hockey Canada Foundation. “Creating opportunities for our youth to enjoy skating, hockey and a healthy active lifestyle is an important mandate of our foundation and Hockey Canada.”
The rink is the first of three sport spaces at the Regent Park Athletic Grounds to open to the public since construction began in May 2014. The Regent Park Athletic Grounds are a capital project of MLSE Foundation, developed in partnership with Toronto Community Housing, The Daniels Corporation and the City of Toronto, and are a key highlight of Toronto Community Housing’s revitalization of the area. When complete later this year, this state-of-the-art sports facility will provide the youth of Regent Park with a refurbished hockey rink, and a new basketball court and artificial turf soccer/cricket pitch.
“(The) rink opening is just one more example of how our partnership with MLSE Foundation, the City of Toronto and The Daniels Corporation is helping create community spaces in Regent Park that the entire city can enjoy,” says Bud Purves, chair of the board of directors for Toronto Community Housing. “Toronto Community Housing is home to brilliant young minds and budding athletes. By providing opportunities for these youth, we are building a better city for everyone.”
In addition to the athletic grounds, this phase of the Regent Park Revitalization includes 600 Toronto Community Housing rental units, as well as more than 2,000 market condominium units created by residential partner, The Daniels Corporation. The revitalization of the community also continues to connect residents with economic opportunities, with more than 700 jobs created to date in Regent Park.“Each milestone in the Regent Park revitalization renews our excitement in seeing our vision for this special neighbourhood come to life,” says Remo Agostino, vice-president, development for The Daniels Corporation. “The ice rink in the Regent Park Athletic Grounds is part of Phase 3 of the area’s transformation into a thriving, healthy and sustainable community. Together with local residents, Toronto Community Housing, and MLSE Foundation, we celebrate this new winter attraction where Torontonians can enjoy the outdoors in a variety of ways, from early morning hockey games to late night skates under the stars.”
The City of Toronto has played a large part of the revitalization of Regent Park and the development of the athletic grounds. By acting as one of the leading construction funders, the City has helped ensure the grounds are a safe space for the youth of Regent Park to play. Following the opening of the rink and the launch of the other sport spaces in fall of 2015, the City of Toronto will maintain and operate the Regent Park Athletic Grounds to ensure the dynamic space is sustainable for years to come.”Skating is one of Canada’s great pastimes. This revitalized rink will provide the Regent Park community with an opportunity to gather and learn to skate or even improve their skating skills,” says Mayor John Tory. “This is another great example of how we as a city can collaborate with outside partners to improve facilities and services for residents of Toronto. Thank you to the MLSE Foundation, Hockey Canada, Toronto Community Housing, and The Daniels Corporation for making this rink revitalization a reality.”
Related reading:Toronto Community Housing Regent Park Revitalization Project