Arena Expansion Update

Last night Toronto City Council approved the Leaside Arena Expansion Project as part of the 2012 city budget. The $12.5 million project includes a $7.5 million loan from the city and a $1.5 million loan from the province against future operating revenues, $1 million from the city in accelerated capital improvements, and $2.5 million raised by the local community.

As you know we undertook to have met this local fundraising target by the time city council voted on the budget. And I am pleased to say that we succeeded! Yesterday Expansion Committee Chair Paul Mercer and Fundraising Committee Chair Charlene Kalia confirmed that the $2.5 million cash-in-hand local fundraising target “to get a shovel in the ground” was achieved on Monday and that this information was formally passed on to city officials.

Meeting our community fundraising goal represents a huge achievement and I want to thank all those who have been a part of making it happen. To Paul and Charlene and the members of the fundraising committee who have worked so hard for the past eighteen months, to the families and volunteers associated with our three main user groups the LHA, LSC and TLGHA, and to all those local businesses, families and individuals who have contributed financially to this effort, I extend a big and heart-felt ‘Thank You!’ This is a community achievement and we couldn’t have done it without everyone working together. It doesn’t mean that our fundraising efforts are finished. We will still need to raise funds to finance aspects of the project that are not part of the tender and will provide more information on this later. In this regard, I encourage you to attend “Laugh out Loud in Leaside — Act Three“. This event has been a great success the past two years and promises to be another enjoyable evening of good food and drink, comedy and music, with great silent auction items. A flyer for the event is attached.

I would also like to thank Councillor John Parker for all his hard work behind the scenes in bringing the various city departments together when required and in guiding the project through the approvals process at City Hall. We can now focus on getting the project out to tender, awarding the contract and beginning the construction phase as quickly as possible.

So, while there is still a lot of work ahead of us, I want to again emphasize that yesterday represents a huge achievement on the part of the Leaside community and a major milestone in the long process of getting our second rink at Leaside Gardens. As Paul Mercer said, “January 17th is a day worth remembering! Congratulations to all board and committee members. And a big ‘thank you’ to the over 900 individuals and corporations that have made a financial contribution.”

Brooke Biscoe, Arena Board Chair

Leaside Memorial Community Gardens.

Laugh Out Loud Act 3

An update from Arena Board Chair Brooke Biscoe

As you may have heard or read, the Leaside Arena Expansion Proposal was approved by the Budget Committee of City Council last night and will go to the full Council for approval next week as part of the 2012 Budget.  The proposal specifies that $2.5 million of the cost of building the new rink will come from local community fundraising.  We are committed to meeting that target by the time Council considers the budget next week.  And we are very close.  With your help I am confident that we will achieve this important milestone.

If you have not yet made your tax-receiptable donation, please consider doing so today.  If you donated in 2011 and are in a position to increase your contribution now that we are in a new calendar year, your generosity today will help to get us across the goal line.  Cheques should be made out to “The East York Foundation” and may be dropped off at the arena — before Friday afternoon if at all possible.  You can also donate on-line through Canada Helps which is linked from the donate page on our website, here.

In addition, the 3rd Annual Laugh Out Loud Arena Fundraiser hosted by Charlene Kalia will be held on Friday, February 24th in the William Lea Room.  Once again, this promises to be an enjoyable evening of music and comedy, with great food by Grill Time and tremendous silent and live auction items.  Individual tickets are $75 (same price as last year) and you can also reserve your seating by purchasing a full table of ten for $750.  All proceeds go to the expansion project and payment made within the next week will help us to meet our $2.5 million local fundraising goal to “get a shovel in the ground.”  To purchase tickets or tables, or for more information, contact Charlene Kalia,

Thank you for your continuing support!

Brooke Biscoe, Arena Board Chair
Leaside Memorial Community Gardens.

PS — attached, in the read more, is our fundraising thermometer showing where we were as of late December.  A number of additional donations and pledge-fulfillments have come in since that time.