Parc Downsview Park Inc.

Parc Downsview Park Inc.

February 28, 2007 16:05 ET

Downsview Park Partners With Toronto Police to Promote a GTA-Wide Sports Program for Youth at Risk

Action sports Complex at Downsview Park is New Home for GTA-Wide For KICKS Program.

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 28, 2007) - Downsview Park and the Toronto Police Service are collaborating to expand a highly successful youth outreach program to serve all neighborhoods across the GTA, Tony Genco, President and CEO of Parc Downsview Park Inc. (PDP) announced today.

The For KICKS program, initiated by Sergeants Steve Hicks and Peter Duncan in 2002 to serve the 31 Division (which includes Jane and Finch neighborhood) of the Toronto Police Services by engaging at-risk youth in a variety of sports activities as a strategy for undermining gang-related activity and equipping youth to succeed in sports, school and life, has been expanded across Toronto. Downsview Park's Action Sports Complex, one of the largest and most diverse indoor multi-sport facilities in Toronto, will serve as the venue at which youth from across the GTA will participate in a variety of social activities and sports, lead by members of the police services. Downsview Park's Action Sports Complex features facilities for soccer, beach volleyball and related sports in The Hangar, as well as facilities for environmentally friendly go-karting, basketball, skate boarding, a school for training elite athletes.

Mr. Genco welcomed the initiative as a major step forward in fulfilling the mandate in the park.

"This partnership with the police makes Downsview Park home for the For KICKS program and a resource of the youth of the Greater Toronto Area. It underscores our commitment to reflection the interests and serving the need of today's young people in the development of the park." Mr. Genco said. "This urban recreational greenspace is being developed as a legacy for future generations. That future begins with our youth. Downsview Park has established a strong track record of serving young people as part of our mandate for economic, environmental and social sustainability. This partnership highlights Downsview Parks' relevance to the GTA and foreshadows its promising future as a catalyst for social harmony and excellence in achievement for all Canadians."

Sergeant Hicks pioneered the For KICKS program in 2002 as part of his community outreach initiative in the Jane Finch corridor. Since then the program has been adopted in select neighborhoods in Toronto, Durham Region and Vaughan.

"This is fantastic," said 31 Division Unite Commander Superintendent Roy Pilkington who oversees the For KICKS program and support its operations. "Building bridges with the youth in our communities is the key to creating a better society."

Sergeant Hicks, creator of the For KICKS program described the partnership with Downsview Park as a major step in addressing the issues surrounding at-risk youth in Toronto.

"This partnership with Downsview Park is a unique opportunity to expand this program across the GTA and offer young people the chance to challenge themselves and build positive character traits that will serve them through out their lives makes the task of policing a lot easier," Sgt. Hicks said. "The program has evolved to an unprecedented flexibility, reach and scope that addresses the roots of the issues facing at-risk youth, not just the symptoms."

The expansion of the For KICKS program was made possible because of the increased financial support from Pro Action (Cops & Kids). ProAction (Cops & Kids) provide a valuable conduit between prominent corporations and police -related youth initiatives. Sgt Hicks says the organization has provided stellar support to For KICKS over the yeas and forward-looking plans dovetail with the evolution of For KICKS and youth issues generally. Accordingly Pro Action is considering For KICKS as a signature program which will further elevate funding levels and enhance its public profile.

Downsview Park's Action Sports Complex already attracts well over 400,000 visits per year to its soccer and volleyball facilities alone. With the addition of the For KICKS program youth from across the city will use the various facilities under the supervision of police officers who help to run the program. In addition to the full range of services offered at the Action Sports Complex students in the For KICKS program will also be able to participate in the full rang of programming offered at Downsview Park including our free Ontario-curriculum-based, environment-focused School Programs and initiatives at the Toronto Aerospace Museum.

Downsview Park consists of 572 acres on one of the most significant elevations of land in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area. Formerly a military base (CFB Downsview) the site was designated by the Government of Canada in 1994 to be developed as "unique urban recreational greenspace for the enjoyment of the future generations." Plans and designs for building the park have been steadily in development since then. Today, the site is home to numerous enterprises including the Toronto Aerospace Museum, Downsview Parks Grand Prix Kartways, The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, ReWorks Inc., DYN Recycling Inc.,The Toronto Wildlife Centre, Area 51 Paintball and The Hangar Indoor Recreational Facility. The Hangar attracts more than 400,000 visits per year o indoor soccer, and beach volleyball. Downsview Park also hosts seasonal special events-notably Canada Day celebrations which has attracted up to 80,000 people-and a roster of community and school programs year-round to create a vibrant resource for the local community while the plans for the National Urban Park are taking shape. All these attractions and a host of other business relationships and opportunities help to set the stage for the future development of an internationally significant sustainable community at Downsview Park.

Contact Information

  • Parc Downsview Park Inc.
    Garth Hardie
    Communications Co-ordinator
    (416) 952-2229