Johan Cruyff Foundation Representative Visits Toronto Azzurri Sport Village and Jane-Finch Neighbourhood, site of Cruyff Court Toronto

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Ilja Van Holsteijn of the Johan Cruyff Foundation (centre) with representatives and supporters of Cruyff Court Toronto at the Toronto  Azzurri Youth Sport Village on April 11,2016

On Monday April 11,Cruyff Court Toronto  (Canada’s first) invitees welcomed  Johan Cruyff Foundation representative Ilja Van Holsteijn to our planned Court site on the Toronto Azzurri Youth Sport Village at 4995 Keele Street. In addition  to directors of our Red Panamericana Toronto board and Toronto Azzuri Ilja met staff at the Dutch Consulate, Tamasha Grant of the Driftwood Community  Centre, Jose Etcheverry  of York University’s Department of Environmental Studies, our George Brown College Placement Student Quentin Fitter, Martin VanDenzen of the Dutch Touch community radio programme, Toronto soccer personality John VanderKolk and international guest Pralad Adhikari from Nepal. Plans were made for a further visit in the Fall when physical construction is expected to be under way. Among other matters we discussed with Ilja the importance of free access to the Court for local residents, the potential for sponsorship by Dutch-Canadian organizations, and our commitment to community involvement in Court governance.

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Cruyff Court Toronto Laments passing of Johan Cruyff (1947-2016)

Johan_2016_Geschikt-voor-website-grote-banner-plus-facebookRegretfully, following the recent news from the Netherlands Johan Cruyff is no more. His legacy lives on through the global network of Cruyff Courts  to which the Johan Cruyff Foundation has given birth. At this time Cruyff Court Toronto, with our planned court to be located at 4995 Keele Street, renews its commitment to bring Canada’s first Cruyff Court to Toronto and encourages all those who, like Johan, support opportunity especially for the excluded, to join us. We invite your comments and contributions of any kind to Cruyff Court Toronto through Red Panamericana Toronto, our sponsoring non-profit, and provider of this Blog.

Street Soccer Canada endorses Cruyff Court Toronto

Thank you to Paul Gregory of Street Soccer Canada who recently sent us the following:                     “We need the diversity on the pitch each day to be a reflection of all peoples in our community. Cruyff courts help to do that – through providing a space and a philosophy that seeks to include all players. Street Soccer Canada fully endorse the work of the Cruyff Court Toronto Plan and all that seek to make it happen…

Street Soccer Canada Meets Cruyff Court Toronto

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Only a couple of weeks after Street Soccer Canada, Canada’s soccer NGO for the homeless, played at this  year’s Homeless World Cup in Amsterdam, founder Paul Gregory,  met the board of Cruyff Court Toronto to discuss opportunities for collaboration and mutual support. We learned about the difficulties Street Soccer Canada was experiencing in finding affordable playing facilities and explained the Cruyff Foundation commitment to fair play and accessibility to all. A plan was approved by our board to host a Street Soccer game early in the life of Cruyff Court Toronto, starting in 2016. 

Cruyff Court Toronto Visits 2015 Driftwood Multicultural Festival

Such energy and community spirit! TorontotheBetter was happy to make many new Jane-Finch solidarity friends at the Driftwood Multicultural Festival on the weekend of September 26, and tell them about our plans for Cruyff Court Toronto, Canada’s first Cruyff Court Toronto. Our next step will be to work with Jane-Finch Action Against Poverty and others to host a local benefit screening of the Homeless World Cup video.

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Welcome, guests to the site of the future Cruyff Court Toronto

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On Wednesday, July 29 Toronto Azzurri Youth Sports Village and Red Panamericand Toronto were pleased to show our site to guests from the City of Toronto, York University and the Toronto Dutch community. Among those visiting were Lucia Bresolin, John Vanderkolk, Nathan Stern, and Martin Van Denzen. Pictured with them above are Dick Howasrd of Cruyff Court Toronto and Bob Iarusci of Toronto Azzurri Youth Sports Village. Thanks to all for your support. We look forward to working with all partners as we bring Cruyff Court Toronto, an important, and much-needed, new sports, health, and wellness facility to North-West  Toronto.

Cruyff Court Toronto – not a gamble

In “Casino Seems Respectable in Rexdale” [June 29,2015] Toronto Star architectural critic Christopher Hume comments on the different community reception of a Toronto Casino proposal for the Waterfront [“aghast”, “opposition was overwhelming”] and Rexdale, North West Toronto [“singing the praises”, “the answer to all our problems”]. He is really talking about class issues here. Rexdale, Jane-Finch and the rest of north-west Toronto is a largely poor and immigrant community, while downtown Toronto is increasingly the preserve of people who are not.

But if there are those willing to dump on poor neighbourhoods what they would never allow in their own, projects like our proposed Cruyff Court Toronto, named after Dutch soccer legend Johan Cruyff, are also coming to North West Toronto. and are a sign of the vibrant community spirit that escapes the awareness of too many in the mainstream. Planned for the Keele Street reservoir site at Keele and Steeles, where it will share the lands managed by Toronto Azzurri Youth Sports Village, Cruyff Court Toronto is evidence of community resilience and pride. It will support the development of soccer, yes, but also supports the 14 principles of fair play laid down by the international Cruyff Foundation [www.cruyff-Foundation.org]..Cruyff Court Toronto will be a beacon for inclusion and local development.  Red Panamericana Toronto, the non-profit sponsoring Cruyff Court Toronto is pleased to bring Canada’s first Cruyff Court to North -West Toronto, where, according to Driftwood Community Centre staff Jamasha and Jasmine, existing recreational facilities are stretched to the limit.

At a time when the Pan-Am Games seems mainly to be adding capacity to existing facilities Red Panamericana Toronto partners TorontotheBetter Learning and Development, the Hispanic Development Council and Toronto  Azzurri Youth Sports Village are pleased to bring a unique new facility to one of Toronto’s historically most underserved areas. For more information contact redpanto@outlook.com or call TorontotheBetter at 416-707-3509. Cruyff Court Toronto is a community investment, not a gamble. We know the returns will be community-rich.

Cruyff Court Toronto partners Toronto Azzurri honour LIUNA’s Carmen Principato roadway to site of future Cruyff Court Toronto

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Azzurri LIUNA Clubhouse

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Carmen Principato Way named – June 18,2015

Cruyff Court Toronto/Red Panamericana Toronto’s representative was pleased to attend and support our partner Toronto Azzurri’s work for the community and for providing a prime location for Cruyff Court Toronto. LIUNA (the Labourers’ International Union of North America) created Azzurri’s fine clubhouse on the site.