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July 9, 2003
Raptor Vince Carter says "I love T.O." by donating basketball court to city
  
Basketball star Vince Carter of the Toronto Raptors was joined by Mayor Mel
Lastman, Police Chief Julian Fantino and other dignitaries at Toronto's Dixon
Park today to unveil a new, pro-style outdoor basketball court.

The court, which is NBA-sized with a pro-surface and lighting system, is valued
at more than $130,000 and has created a buzz in the community since Malvern
Contractors broke ground in June. Rumours were finally put to rest as it was
announced that the basketball court was a gift of Vince Carter, funded by his
Embassy of Hope Foundation.

"The Embassy of Hope raises funds for charities and projects that help youth in
Toronto - this is the largest single project we've done here to date," said
Carter. "I see Toronto as my adopted home town and I really wanted to do
something big right here. The basketball programs that will be offered on this
court will teach youth skills that will benefit them in all aspects of life?
responsibility, teamwork and dedication. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of
kids out here playing ball and following their dreams. I also want to thank the
fans - it's their support of Embassy of Hope fundraisers that makes it possible
for us to help the community."

This major initiative is the first of its kind in Toronto for the Embassy of
Hope Foundation and was executed in partnership with the City of Toronto and
Toronto Police Services. The project began in January, when Carter, with the
help of his foundation's board decided to fund the construction of a community
basketball court. The Toronto Police helped to identify a high-need area, while
the city donated the land and maintenance of the site.

"Vince really loves this city and he challenged the Embassy of Hope Board to
find a major project that would enable the Foundation to give a big gift to
Toronto," said Ralph Lean, Partner, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP and Chairman,
Embassy of Hope Foundation. "In the past, the Embassy of Hope has made many
donations in smaller increments. When it came to funding a major initiative,
Vince turned to his board for guidance - a group that includes the who's who of
Toronto's political and business establishment. They have driven this
initiative since day one and have been instrumental in making Vince's vision a
reality."

The Embassy of Hope's board members are: The Honourable Ernie Eves, Premier of
Ontario; John W. Sheridan, President, Bell Canada; Aris Kaplanis, President and
CEO, Teranet Inc.; James F. O'Donnell, Chairman, O'Donnel Capital Group Inc.;
Paul. F. Godfrey, President and CEO, Toronto Blue Jays; Michael D. Harris,
Senior Business Advisor, Goodmans LLP; Ron Barbaro, Chair and CEO, Ontario
Lottery and Gaming Corporation; Ed Lumley, Vice Chairman, Nesbitt Burns Inc.;
Ralph Lean, Partner, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP.

"We are absolutely delighted with this gift from Vince," said Mayor Mel
Lastman. "Vince Carter is not only an excellent role model for children in our
community, he's also a great representative of this great city."

Local Councillor Rob Ford added, "I believe the best thing about this
basketball court is it doesn't cost taxpayers a dime. This is a good example of
what we can do without taxpayers dollars. It will benefit the kids
tremendously."

According to Police Services, this neighbourhood was a good candidate for such
a project, because of its large youth population that will greatly benefit from
this new court and its basketball program.

"Community activities for youth gives them a constructive way to spend their
free time and thanks to Vince Carter, this area is getting a much-needed venue
for recreational basketball," said Julian Fantino, Chief of Police, Toronto
Police Service. "This neighbourhood is among Toronto's most heavily populated
by youth and this court will provide an excellent outlet for them. The safe,
competitive environment offered through organized basketball is also an
excellent measure to prevent violence in the youth community."

A number of community groups will manage the basketball program at Carter's new
court. The program will be run Monday to Friday until October 10 by Hoops
Unlimited, 23 Division of the Toronto Police, Dixon Neighbourhood Youth Centre,
Toronto Parks and Recreation and For Youth Initiative (FYI).

The official opening of Vince Carter's basketball court was part of a larger
community celebration that included a basketball tournament named after Carter
and a bar-b-q. The event was generously sponsored by Nike, TD Bank, Maple Lodge
Farms, Crime Stoppers, Pro-action, Hoops Unlimited, the City of Toronto Parks
and Recreation, and Toronto Police Services.

Vince Carter's Embassy of Hope Foundation was founded in 1998. It's slogan,
"Believing in Your Dreams", represents Carter's lifelong commitment to
perseverance and achievement - qualities that he tries to instill in youth
through his community work. For more information visit www.vincecarter15.com.


Contacts:
Tara McCarthy, for Vince Carter, 416-200-5922
Louise Gray, Toronto Police, 416-808-7087
John Macintyre, City of Toronto, 416-397-4451



 

 

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