A newly renovated basketball court was unveiled this week in Downtown Toronto's Alexandra Park, in a display of community collaboration and sportsmanship. The community-driven initiative was made possible through the combined efforts of Tridel, the Alexandra Park Community CentreTheir Opportunity, the John Tavares Foundation, the PS43 Foundation, and Toronto Community Housing (TCHC).

The grand reopening event, held on September 19, saw the participation of local youth from the community centre who energetically took to the court. They had the unique opportunity to practice their skills alongside renowned athletes John Tavares of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pascal Siakam of the Toronto Raptors.

The event featured opening remarks from a lineup of notable figures. This included Randy Gill, President of Their Opportunity; John Tavares, Captain and Centre for the Toronto Maple Leafs; Pascal Siakam, Forward for the Toronto Raptors; Jim Ritchie, President of Tridel; Tom Hunter, Interim President and CEO of TCHC; and Mohsin Khattak, Executive Director of Alexandra Park Community Centre. Their speeches highlighted the significance of the project and the positive impact it aims to bring to the community, as well as the vision for the Alexandra Park neighbourhood.

Tom Hunter, Pascal Siakam, Randy Gill, John Tavares, and Jim Ritchie at the event, image from Tridel

The transformed basketball court features a professionally resurfaced playing surface and new basketball equipment. Gill emphasized the broader vision behind the renovation, stating, "We've rallied together to do more than just revive basketball and hockey courts; we are revitalizing a sense of community and hope."

Randy Gill speaking at the event, image from Tridel

The project's inception can be traced back to a Community Revitalization Working Group meeting, where community members voiced their needs. Drawing from his personal connection to the city, Siakam shared, “Toronto has been home to me and my family, and what makes this city special is the people. This court is a place where all youth can come together to play, work on their skills, and build connections.”

Pascal Siakam on the basketball court, image from Tridel

Going forward, the focus has shifted to a second court. Fundraising efforts are underway, with half of the required funds already secured. The envisioned multi-use area aims to cater to diverse players, promoting inclusivity. An added artistic touch will be a curated mural by artist Jessey (Phade) Pacho.

Beyond the basketball court, the broader revitalization of Alexandra Park, led by TCHC in collaboration with Tridel, aims to rejuvenate aging infrastructure, introduce new market condominiums, and reimagine community amenities. The overarching goal is to enhance living conditions for residents while fostering community engagement and economic growth opportunities.

John Tavares with youth in attendance, image from Tridel

Khattak looked ahead to the future, noting that "Many children and youth will benefit from this new court as well as support future programming that Alexandra Park Community Centre will be able to provide." The basketball court's renovation exemplifies the potential of community partnerships in urban development, underscoring the pivotal role of community engagement in Toronto's future.

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, linked below. If you'd like, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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