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Civic Impact

Regent Park Athletic Grounds ice rink comes to life

Regent Park heard the sound of sticks on ice again on January 3 at the official opening of the Regent Park Athletic Grounds ice rink. The old one wasn’t in the best of condition.

“The best thing was the look on the residents’ faces. It was great seeing that this was the first step to something that they asked for and hearing firsthand from them that they were so proud that we had listened,” says Michael Bartlett, executive director of MLSE Foundation, which since 2012 has contributed $2 million to the project, which will eventually include a new outdoor basketball court, running track and a soccer pitch that can also be used for cricket. “Improvements to the rink include new lighting, dasherboards and fencing. The fieldhouse also received a new roof, windows and doors, a renovated warming/change area, two accessible washrooms and a staff and storage area,” states a news release.

“The thing I’ve always enjoyed about the Regent Park project is that the community actually put its hands up as not having a place to play. When the revitalization process was happening, residents were very appreciative of better living conditions and better amenities like the swimming structure and grocery store and better banking, but they identified that places to play and structured sporting environments still weren't available and that’s what differentiates a have community from a have-not community these days,” says Bartlett.

The partnership amongst The Daniels Corporation, Toronto Community Housing, residents and funding partners is one of the most collaborative that MLSE has been involved in.

“It is truly a community-minded project where we let the community shape what the investment looks like. We’re providing what they’ve asked for rather than just showing up in a community with our version of the solution, with a bunch of corporate logos slapped on it. That’s something we’re very proud of,” says Bartlett.

Keeping the facility busy with quality programming is the next issue on the agenda.

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Michael Bartlett
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