April 20th, 2015

In its ongoing effort to use sport as a tool to improve and develop the lives of youth, MLSE Foundation has partnered with Toronto Community Housing to build a new facility in a vacant space on the ground floor of 261 Jarvis Street.  Once the intended site of a community roller rink, this 42,000 square foot space that has been vacant for two decades will be transformed into a one-of-a-kind Sport for Development Centre. 

The Sport for Development Centre will be a collaborative space leveraging sport, education and research to deliver and measure programs which in turn will improve the health and mental development of Toronto’s youth.  This space will be a lasting legacy and benefit Toronto for years to come. 

“The future Sport for Development Centre will be a cornerstone for our city, providing a place where dreams can become realities and interests can become talents,” said John Tory, Mayor of Toronto. “This project is another example of how the City can partner with the private sector to develop facilities that make Toronto a more livable and community-focused city.”

The plan for the centre was unveiled at a press conference Saturday morning attended by notable personalities from both the sport and community worlds.  Emceed by MLSE Foundation’s Executive Director Michael Bartlett, the announcement included speeches by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Toronto Community Housing Interim President and CEO Greg Spearn, MLSE Chairman Larry Tanenbaum, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. 

The space at 261 Jarvis Street will receive a renovation funded by MLSE Foundation and will include a multipurpose gymnasium, classrooms, cafeteria, and kitchen.  The new centre will feature programming seven days a week including MLSE Foundation programs, sports-based after school programs for youth, cooking classes, breakfast programs and educational training.

“This partnership reflects a major effort by Toronto Community Housing to make best use of all our buildings for the benefit of residents and the surrounding community,” said Greg Spearn, Interim President and CEO of Toronto Community Housing. “Our housing is home to many brilliant young minds and budding athletes and by providing more opportunities for youth, we are building a better city for all.”

Throughout the years, MLSE and MLSE Foundation have made significant investments in the community by way of refurbishments and funding towards local charities.  The centre’s key differentiator is its focus on measuring the development outcomes of sports, such as future youth employment, by working with youth development researchers and through partnerships with Toronto’s academic institutions.  These metrics and outcomes will be shared with the sport for development sector and help establish best practices for global programming.  In doing this, likeminded organizations will offer thoughtfully constructed programs that have been proven successful. 


“Sports and physical fitness are an incredibly important part of our lives and helping Toronto’s youth enjoy the benefits of playing sports is a major priority for MLSE and MLSE Foundation,” said MLSE Chairman Larry Tanenbaum. “MLSE has a long history of contributing to community initiatives which help improve the lives of young people, and the Sport for Development Centre will not only be an important addition to Toronto’s community resources, but a lasting example of partners working together to further build our city.”

Since launching in 2009, MLSE Foundation has invested more than $15 million into the Toronto community.  Together with its community partners such as Toronto Community Housing and the City of Toronto, they have positively impacted the lives of the youth and their families through sports grants, programs and facility revitalizations.

MLSE Foundation

The MLSE Foundation believes all kids should have access to sport and the opportunity to develop lasting dreams on the playing field. With the support of all four MLSE teams – the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC and the Toronto Marlies – the Foundation funds the refurbishment of local athletic facilities and programs that support kids through sport and recreation. For more information visit or follow @MLSEFoundation.


About Toronto Community Housing

Toronto Community Housing ( is Canada’s largest provider of social housing, delivering homes for 58,500 households with low and moderate incomes. By providing clean, safe, well-maintained and affordable housing, Toronto Community Housing builds better homes, better neighbourhoods and a better Toronto for all.


Media Contacts:

Abby Albino, MLSE, 416-815-5455

Brayden Akers, Toronto Community Housing,, 416-803-9879