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June 27, 2011
International cricket stars join young players in celebrating new cricket ground
Today, Toronto Councillor Vincent Crisanti (Ward 1 Etobicoke North) joined International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket Hall of Fame member Wasim Akram, Indian Premier League player Sunil Joshi, and local middle and high school students to celebrate the opening of the Thackeray Park Cricket Ground in Toronto with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and skill-building drills for the young cricketers.

"This new facility offers a safe and welcoming environment for children, youth and adults in North Etobicoke to learn about and share their passion for cricket," said Councillor Crisanti. "Cricket also helps our youth develop their leadership and sports skills, and encourages them to keep involved in healthy activities."

Cricket is one of the fastest growing sports in Toronto. Played in more than 100 countries across the world, cricket is part of the cultural heritage of thousands of Torontonians and is becoming increasingly popular with school-age children and youth in the North Etobicoke area. It is played at several local schools that together support more than 25 cricket teams, and cricket rivals basketball in popularity at some schools.

The new Thackeray Park Cricket Ground will ensure that the next generation of cricketers has the opportunity to enjoy the sport by ensuring priority access for children and youth. In addition to an infield and cricket pitches built to ICC international standards, and permanent spectator seating for 300, the ground features a practice net made possible in part by RBC Royal Bank.

"Improving access to cricket by building practice areas and enhancing cricket facilities enables us to build deeper connections with Toronto’s multicultural communities in ways that are meaningful to them," said Kellie Sauriol, Regional Vice President, RBC Royal Bank. “We want to create a legacy that will enable these communities to build on their love of cricket and pass along a cherished tradition to their own children.”

The Thackeray Park Cricket Ground was developed in partnership with donors and volunteers from across the community, including a broad range of cultural, social, sport and faith groups, local businesses, corporations and other organizations, such as the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the Toronto Police Services Board, RBC Royal Bank and the Ontario Cricket Association.

"By working together, this community was able to transform a former landfill site into a vibrant green space for cricket enthusiasts of all ages," said Pastor Evon Nunes of Triumphant Church of Jesus Christ, representing the Thackeray Stakeholder Team. "We couldn't be more proud."

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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