Upper Canada College’s cricket team lost a May 27 exhibition match against boys from Valley Park, but the score wasn’t as important as the outcome of a much bigger project related to the creation of the Valley Park Go Green Cricket Field (VPGGCF).
The goal is to build an environmentally sustainable multi-sport field and free sports programs for at risk youth in the Toronto priority neighbourhoods of Flemingdon Park and Thorncliffe Park — most of whom are from south Asian families that are new to Canada.
Phase one construction began last fall, but fundraising continues for the multi-faceted project that incorporates Valley Park Middle School’s yard and an adjacent slice of hydro land that can also be used for ecological education and activities. The goal, when completed, is for the site to include: an irrigated, multi-sport cricket field surrounded by a red clay running track; cricket and baseball batting cages; sight screens; an outdoor amphitheatre; community food garden; and various ecological amenities, including a wetland, bioswale, urban forest and butterfly meadow.
UCC varsity cricket coach Mark Baxter was approached by VPGGCF co-chair Lisa Grogan-Green, whose sister Pam and brother-in-law Harry Taylor are former UCC parents and founders of the College’s Blues Booster Club (BBC). Grogan-Green is also friends with former UCC parent and BBC executive member Monika Stevens and Old Boy Edgar Bracht ’55, and all of them suggested that she get in touch with UCC.
Baxter says it’s still early but there’s a plan to develop a partnership with Valley Park to play regular exhibition games and potentially give UCC boys an opportunity to work with people in the Valley Park community — perhaps coming up with something similar to the Horizons program.
“We lost heavily, but it was a great experience for the boys,” says Baxter of the match, which he describes as a first step. “Great connections were made.”