Leaside Arena Launches Fundraising Campaign for Second Rink

<em “mso-bidi-font-style:=””>Organisers are already more than halfway towards the $2.5 million community portion of the project costs

11 March 2011

Today the Leaside Gardens Arena Board officially launched its campaign to raise the community portion of the cost of building the second rink at Leaside Gardens.

“This project will mean more ice time for more kids closer to home,” said Paul Mercer, Chair of the Arena Expansion Committee.  “That’s the vision.  Now we need the community to rally behind that vision and come up with the remaining funds needed to make this project a reality.”

City Council recently approved the arena expansion project at an estimated cost of $9.5 million, of which $7 million will come from a city-guaranteed loan to be repaid through future operating revenues, and $2.5 million must be raised by the primary partner groups and the local community.

Efforts to raise the $2.5 million have been underway for several months already Mercer said.  And through a combination of one large anonymous donation, the commitments of the three partner groups, and appeals by the fundraising team to business and community leaders, $1.4 million has already been raised.

Ward 26 Councillor John Parker said the shared funding model was an innovative solution in a time of budget restraint.  “It’s only fair that those who will use this new rink the most bear some portion of the cost of building it,” he said.  “That means not just families from Leaside but also from Riverdale, other parts of old East York, and neighbourhoods west of Bayview Avenue for whom Leaside Gardens is their closest local community rink.”

Parker urged local families to make a financial contribution and to do so quickly.  “We need to raise a million dollars by August 1st to keep the project on track for a fall 2012 opening” Parker said.

The arena’s three primary partner associations (the Leaside Hockey Association, the Leaside Skating Club, and the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association) are fully engaged in the expansion project and representatives from each group were on hand to share their vision for what the second rink will mean for the 2,500 kids currently participating in their programs.  “We will be able to offer practices for our house league teams and the potential of home games at Leaside Gardens for our select and GTHL teams,” said Derek Woods, President of the LHA, “and better programming in our hockey school.”

Bridget Child, President of the Leaside Skating Club, said “For us, the second rink means we’ll be able to expand our CanSkate programs offering more opportunities to kids from Leaside and Riverdale and the other local neighbourhoods to learn to skate.  And it’s a chance to add summer programming as well.”

Ron Baker, President of the TLGHA said, “The second rink means that we’ll no longer have to turn away girls who want to play hockey, and they won’t have to travel so far to get on the ice.  That will make a real difference in the quality of the hockey experience for these girls and their families.”

Expansion Committee Chair Paul Mercer said they are using all available means to raise awareness about the project and to encourage local residents to contribute.  He pointed to the new billboard in the arena parking lot and said there will be other advertising in the weeks ahead.  There are plans to reach every door in the catchment area served by Leaside Gardens.  There is also a Facebook page and a Twitter feed which can be accessed through the website at www.LeasideArena.com.

Donors can make their tax-deductible donation through the East York Foundation, which is handling donations for the project – see the website for details.  In addition, people can participate in the “Give Get” program where a portion of every purchase of a tank of gas or at selected local merchants goes to the expansion project.  Some additional details on donor recognition and on “Give Get” are attached.

<em “mso-bidi-font-style:=””>Background

  • The expansion proposal approved by City Council calls for building the second rink at an estimated cost of $9.5 Million of which $7 Million will come from a city-guaranteed loan to be repaid through future operating revenues, and $2.5 Million must be raised by the primary partner groups and the local community.
  • The Leaside Arena Expansion Committee, chaired by Paul Mercer, includes a Revenue Generation Committee, chaired by arena board member Charlene Kalia, which has been working with our three primary partner groups – the Leaside Hockey Association, the Leaside Skating Club and the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association – and other local leaders to lay a solid foundation for the fundraising campaign being officially launched today.
  • A generous financial contribution made in the summer of 2010 by an anonymous local family eager to jump-start the arena expansion project was the start of the community fundraising campaign.  Between this donation, the commitments of our three partner groups, and appeals by the fundraising team to local business and community leaders, we have now raised $1.4 million.
  • The donor family did their part by expediting the process; City Council has now done its part by approving the project and providing the $7 Million loan; now it is up to the Leaside Arena community – including the primary partner groups and the wider community – to do its part.  It’s critical that commitments totalling $2.5 million be identified prior to August 1st, 2011 to ensure the project goes ahead and stays on schedule for completion in August 2012
  • Tax-deductible donations may be made through the East York Foundation, the charitable organisation that is facilitating the processing of contributions on behalf of the Leaside Arena Expansion Committee.
  • The expansion committee has developed a list of naming opportunities in the new facility to recognise largest financial contributions of between $10,000 and $250,000.  Details about naming opportunities may be found on the Arena Expansion Committee Website atwww.LeasideArena.com
  • All donations of $1,000 or more will be permanently recognised on a Donor Recognition Wall which will be prominently displayed in the new arena.

<em “mso-bidi-font-style:=””>The Give Get Program

  • GiveGet is a new type of social networking platform where individuals, businesses and charities collaborate with each other by exchanging items of value in ways that all parties win.  The way it works is simple yet innovative.  Businesses list items they would like to sell on GiveGet.com, such as empty seats, excess inventory, new products or items they would like consumers to buy directly. These businesses agree to sell their goods and services to GiveGet at a privately discounted price – often approaching 50% off the everyday retail price.  To protect the businesses’ brand and public pricing levels, GiveGet only offers these items for purchase on GiveGet.com at their everyday retail price. 
  • When consumers visit the GiveGet site and purchase an item at the everyday price, they also “Get” all or part of another item they want from the site for free in return.  The benefit achieved will go in the form of a donation to the Leaside Arena Expansion.  The partnership between GiveGet and the Leaside Arena Expansion works in three ways:
  1. With the Esso Card through regular purchasing of gas, a percentage of the sale is donated to the arena.  For example, if you spend $1,000 on gas, $40 will go to the arena expansion project.
  2. A network of Leaside businesses – a percentage of purchasing at regular price will go to the arena fund.  (The list of participating local businesses will be available shortly)
  3. Through online purchases of gift items as described on the GiveGet website.
  • More information is available at www.giveget.com/leasidegardens where you can sign up and also register your email address to receive further information, for example, as the list of participating Leaside merchants becomes available.

For more on the Leaside Arena Expansion Project please Contact Us:

Arena Expansion Committee Chair Paul Mercer, 416-464-2156 or paul.mercer@mclarens.ca

Or Ward 26 Councillor John Parker, 416-392-0215 or councillor_parker@toronto.ca