Students at Nelson Mandela Park Public School and Lord Dufferin Public School got a special treat today for their last day of the school year, being the first to experience the new 2.8-acre (1.1-hectare) Regent Park Athletic Grounds. The new $4 million athletic facility was officially opened this morning with a community celebration featuring food, drinks, and programmed athletic activities for the children.

Students of Nelson Mandela Park Public School excited to be on television, image by Jack Landau

The project is an important community-building element in the ongoing third phase of Regent Park's long-term revitalization, offering a running track, a refurbished hockey rink, a field house, a basketball court, and an artificial turf field capable of supporting soccer and cricket play.

The official opening of the Regent Park Athletic Grounds, image by Jack Landau

Capital funding for the project came partly from the City of Toronto and the the MLSE Foundation, a branch of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and Toronto FC.

Toronto FC logo at the centre of the soccer field/cricket pitch, image by Jack Landau

MLSE's involvement has allowed the soccer field, basketball court, and hockey rink to be branded with the logos of the company's professional sports franchises, sure to provide inspiration to the young Regent Park locals who will frequent the grounds.

Basketball court at the Regent Park Athletic Grounds, image by Jack Landau

Additional financial support for the project came from The Daniels Corporation and Toronto Community Housing, who are respectively leading the community's new condominium and affordable housing projects. A number of other companies contributed funding for the athletic grounds' individual components, with the field house funded by Under Armour, the basketball court funded by the Kelly Silverstein Memorial Fund, the refurbished hockey rink funded by Hockey Canada Foundation, and the field funded by Canadian Tire Jumpstart. The Athletic Grounds also offers other play equipment, including built-in chess tables and a robust table tennis surface.

Table tennis at the Regent Park Athletic Grounds, image by Jack Landau

After having some time to explore the new neighbourhood amenity and meet Toronto Maple Leafs mascot 'Carlton', Nelson Mandela Park Public School and Lord Dufferin Public School students gathered by a podium to hear remarks from representatives of the MLSE Foundation, the City of Toronto, The Daniels Corporation, and Toronto Community Housing.

Children greeting Maple Leafs mascot Carlton, image by Jack Landau

"The City of Toronto is proud to support the considerable efforts of all partners and citizens engaged in the design, build and opening of the Regent Park Athletic Grounds", said a cheerful Ward 28 Councillor and Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell. "This project reflects a vibrant neighbourhood that's undergone many changes over the years. These stunning new facilities represent the positive ways of how city-building efforts can benefit not just the Regent Park community, but all of Toronto."

Ward 28 Councillor and Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell, image by Jack Landau

"The official opening of the Regent Park Athletic Grounds coincides with the last day of school, which for young people ushers in their first day of summer", said Martin Blake, Vice President of The Daniels Corporation. "We are excited to have this state-of-the-art sports facility among the fantastic amenities in Regent Park, and we know it will be a popular gathering spot for residents of all ages."

Martin Blake, Vice President of The Daniels Corporation, image by Jack Landau

Following remarks, the new facility was officially opened with a creative variation of the ribbon cutting ceremony that referenced the project's athletic theme. In place of the predictable oversized scissors commonly used for ribbon cuttings, students sprinted through the ribbon in a fitting display that garnered applause from the crowd.

Students run through the ceremonial ribbon, image by Jack Landau

Additional information and renderings of the project can be found in our dataBase file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Projects & Construction Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.