The City of London, Ont., the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), MLSE Foundation, and the Toronto Raptors unveiled two upgraded basketball courts in West Lions Park.
The courts were unveiled on Saturday morning in commemoration of Our London Family, an initiative to honour the Muslim family killed in London in June 2021.
“Our hope is that these courts serve as a permanent reminder that hate has no home here,” said Bridgette Estrela, the managing director of MLSE Foundation and MLSE Social Impact. “MSLE Foundation believes that sport has the power to unite communities in a way that no other thing can. It brings people together to grow, learn, and heal.”
The MSLE Foundation partnered with the City of London one year ago to upgrade the courts. They donated $250,000 to the cause.
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The green and purple design, however, was not thought of by the organization.
“It was really the youth of London that led that design, the purple and green, the quote on the courts.”
The kids involved also supported consultations in selecting the location, as well as the celebrations on Saturday and who needed to be invited. London’s Muslim community was also consulted.
“This project will provide lasting change and access to sport for London’s youth and it demonstrates the power sport has to bring people together,” said Mayor Ed Holder. “We are grateful for the MLSE and MLSE Foundation’s support in London.”
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Other upgrades made to the court include the basketball nets and nearby seating, and the space has been expanded to include two full-size courts. Trees and community barbeques have also been added.
Following the unveiling, a youth basketball clinic took place led by sport clinicians from the Toronto Raptors organization.
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