Posts Tagged ‘sports’
CBC News’ Alexandra Sienkiewicz looks at the long history of the Badminton and Racquet Club destroyed by fire, noting–among other things–a conservatism that once extended down to barring non-white males from membership.
When a devastating fire swept through the 90-year-old Badminton and Racquet Club near Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue Tuesday afternoon, the organization added yet another chapter to its storied history.
The club opened in 1924 when the old TTC streetcar barns on St. Clair Avenue were converted into seven badminton courts. The B & R, as it’s affectionately known among those who use it, started with only a few members from Toronto’s elite — but has since grown to include more than 2,750 members. To this day, it remains a private facility and access can be gained by membership only.
The club has also been known for its history of segregation of the sexes. It wasn’t until 1980 that women were allowed to sit in on board meetings — but without voting rights. “Women are to be seen and not heard,” says the club’s website in describing that period of its history.
“The idea of women on the board had been rejected annually as many of the men on the board felt that the “right kind of man” would not serve if there were women at the table,” it adds.
It was only in 1997 when men and women could sit together when a co-ed dining room was introduced — nearly 75 years after the club’s opening.
The Toronto Star‘s Jonathan Forani recently reported about how the concerns of skateboarders are now being considered in planning for parks in the city of Toronto.
For years, the only skate park Ariel Stagni had was the concrete and metal of the financial district.
Its railings and stairwells transformed into the perfect space for kick flips, grinds and ollies — until, inevitably, a security guard appeared with the typical scolding.
“There was a lot of ‘Don’t do that here’ and ‘You can’t skateboard here.’ Me and my buddies were like, ‘Where are we supposed to go?’ ” he recalls. They instead turned inward to their garages and converted plywood and junkyard finds into their own makeshift skate parks.
“That was the experience of a lot of people skateboarding,” says Stagni, now 41 and a skateboard consultant. “A lot of it was finding a place or making a place.”
But now, as the public park movement grows to become more inclusive of varying demographics and cultures, Stagni and his community are seeing more spaces for themselves. There are now over a dozen skate parks spanning from Etobicoke to Scarborough.
The movement has gathered steam in recent months, with the city’s October unveiling of a Skateboard Strategy, which outlines how the city can transform spaces into a skater’s paradise. One of the key features is the inclusion and consultation of groups such as the Toronto Skateboarding Committee, of which Stagni is a founding member.
While skating in High Park does sound delightful, I do hope for the sake of–among others–The Globe and Mail‘s Marcus Gee that Grenadier Pond turns out to be consistently solid enough for skating. Sometimes regulations are a burden; sometimes, they’re life-saving.
About a year back, breaking with custom, Toronto city council actually did something sensible: it ended a ban on skating on Grenadier Pond.
Skaters have been going out on the long pond in the southwest corner of High Park for a century and more. Archival photos show women in long skirts and overcoats lacing up their skates.
It is a wonderful Toronto experience. When I took to the ice on Monday morning, a middle-aged man with his shoes in a backpack was sailing around on long speed skates, his hands linked behind his back as he took big swaying strides. A couple of guys were playing shinny, using their bags as goalposts. A woman in a parka with the hood pulled up against the stiff breeze was skating alongside her dog.
One of the delights of pond skating is simply observing the ice, so different from the monochrome man-made stuff. Grenadier’s went from a cloudy white at the shallower end to an almost translucent black in deeper parts, marked here and there with circular white patches that looked like miniature galaxies in deep space. It is no wonder that Grenadier regulars wait with sharpened blades for a cold snap that will turn the pond into the city’s biggest outdoor rink.
In recent years, city officials concerned about safety and (more the point) liability issues tried to shut the party down. “No skating” signs went up. Those who ventured onto the pond sometimes found city bylaw officers hollering at them from the shore to cease and desist. They were, after all, violating Section 608-21 B of the Toronto Municipal Code, stating that, “No person shall access or skate on a natural ice surface in a park where it is posted to prohibit it.”
When I visited the Microsoft Store in the Eaton Centre at the beginning of December, I was interested to see that among the covers for the Surface Pro 4 that this store carried were some carrying the logo of the AFL’s Buffalo Bills.
Clearly, this store’s inventory came from someone who knew Toronto’s history with this team.
The intermittent efforts of urbanists and regionalists to make Toronto part of a cross-border megalopolis, one stretching west along the shoreline of Lake Ontario from Toronto up the Niagara River to Buffalo, have really not worked out. There’s not enough binding the Golden Horseshoe together, never mind roping the American side of the Niagara River into a community divided by relatively impermeable borders. The only readily visible sign that such a community exists lies in the relative popularity of the Buffalo Bills in the Greater Toronto Area.
As early as 2007, there were seriously concerns that the Buffalo Bills might be moved to Toronto in its owners’ search for a larger and richer market. For a few years, the Buffalo Bills even held home games in Toronto’s Rogers Centre. In 2014, these came to an end, as the people concerned decided the games just were not worth it.
Even if the owners had wanted to move, Toronto, I think, would have been a difficult market. Mine is just not a good sports city from the perspective of high-performing teams or popular teams, whether you look at Toronto FC or the Argonauts or the Maple Leafs. Perhaps the Raptors might be an exception? There would have been controversy surrounding the move at the Buffalo end, as well as at the Canadian end–an AFL intrusion into Canadian football territory would have been controversial.
Could it have happened? What would it have taken for this to occur?