Go Green Youth Centre (GGYC) started with an initiative to rejuvenate Valley Park Middle School’s backyard and adjacent Hydro land. Community members recognized that many newly immigrated South Asian youth were passionate about cricket in the Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park area, yet there were no facilities that could facilitate their games. Planning earnestly began in 2010. To date, more than $2.5 million in capital has been privately fundraised through a community-led effort to build this outdoor facility. It was an initiative driven by community residents, school parents, teachers, and students. While the project was in motion, GGYC started offering free youth-led indoor and outdoor year-round programming in a range of sports, music, eco-arts, and cooking & nutrition.
The project enhanced the school yard with a multi-purpose cricket field, a multi-sport court, an outdoor amphitheater, two batting cages, a bio-swale, butterfly meadow, interpretive marsh, urban forest, digital scoreboard and night-time LED sports lights. A significant theme for this project included bringing the beauty of the Don Valley and its ecological elements up onto the schoolyard. This theme was driven by award winning planner Michael Hough. Hough's colleague, and TRCA landscape and trail designer, Shompa Hai, was the lead designer, with project managers Victor Ford & Associates. In a separate initiative, a STEPS artist (Sustainable Thinking & Expression in Public Spaces) produced with local high students a beautiful mural wall on the school’s north wall which further animates the site.
This site is also Canada's first illuminated cricket field. GGYC has an agreement with the Toronto District School Board to manage and operate the outdoor facility during nonacademic hours, weekends and holidays. In May 2018, the Go Green Cricket & Sports Field was listed as one of Toronto’s ten best outdoor sports fields.
Near the end of 2017, a decision was made to change our official corporate name from Valley Park Community Association to Go Green Youth Centre to reflect our long-term vision of providing youth-led and youth focused services, particularly through the provision of year-round sports, recreational & educational programming and a full-service summer camp. We have served tens of thousands of youth on our site and engaged thousands through our organized programming.
The purpose of this project will involve envisioning a future site masterplan for the Go Green Cricket & Sports Field at Valley Park Middle School.
- How can we continue animating the site over the next decade in a sustainable and responsible way with a primary focus on serving the community’s and its youth’s needs?
- How can we enhance and strengthen our vision for environmental stewardship?
- How can we use sport (especially cricket) & physical literacy as a connecting tool for the community?
- How can we further make connections to the Ontario school curriculum?
- What programs, training can be offered at our site?
As a schoolyard & public space, the Go Green Cricket & Sports Field serves students at one of Canada’s largest middle schools. During off-hours, it serves many families and out-of town clients ranging from the not-for-profit sector to corporate clients. To date, GGYC has raised $300,000 in capital for its next phase.
Situated between the neighbourhood improvement areas of Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park, this site is an important feature for both communities given the amenities
and programs it offers. This site is also close proximity to major transportation infrastructure projects including the Ontario Line and the Eglinton LRT Crosstown Development resulting in new development. Its proximity to Marc Garneau Collegiate across the road is another advantage in attracting youth.
Some core competencies required for this interdisciplinary project will include innovating, critical and creative thinking and storytelling. We would like to take a Personal Assets Framework approach and emphasize and develop the community’s strengths.
In this project, the client expects the students to design the following:
Students will be asked to primarily focus on two objectives:
The first objective will involve creating a 3D model of our new site which they can use for a fun and informative community consultation with Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park. We will provide a previously constructed 3D model with our previous site (pre-construction 2012 – currently in storage).
The second objective will involve recommending new program initiatives for our organization to pursue with a special focus on environmental stewardship. The original vision of our project was inspired from an environmental perspective.
Both these tasks will involve looking at updated community data and looking at issues key to our philosophy of serving youth. Both tasks should be summarized into a final report which will be presented to our Board of Directors and a selection of our staff and donors.
GGYC Student Team
Wilson Jiang is a fourth-year student at John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, pursuing a Design Specialist. Wilson is interested in architectural theory and issues behind the urban form and believes that insights from historical precedents and observations, alongside contemporary economic and social diagnoses, in theory, can be of benefit to complex, urban challenges. Wilson is proficient in design software and 3D modelling software, such as Rhino and AutoCAD, which would be of asset to the Go Green Youth Centre student team.
Keerat Dhami is a fourth-year student pursuing a Specialist in Environmental Geography and Minors in Human Geography and Diaspora and Transnational Studies (DTS). Keerat has worked with and volunteered for various NGOs, including Toronto Environmental Alliance, Environmental Defence Canada, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Youth Challenge International, and Community Climate Council. In each position Keerat pursues, she intends to integrate her interests in geography and planning and her enthusiasm for environmental sustainability and stewardship to create communities and regions resilient to environmental challenges and change. In her spare time, Keerat organizes communities around comprehensive climate action through Our Climate Café, a safe space she found for communities to congregate and chat about navigating the current climate crisis.
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Amulay Chadha is a fourth-year student at the Rotman School of Management, pursuing a Specialist in Finance and Economics. He grew up in Nairobi, Kenya where he gained an appreciation for the environment and sports. Amulay is an extreme cricket enthusiast and spends his summers playing cricket tournaments at the Go Green Youth Centre’s cricket ground. As such, Amulay has seen the development of the grounds and sees its potential to grow and serve a larger community. This summer, Amulay worked as an Investments Analyst for the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, currently serves as an Associate at the Toronto Student Investment Counsel, and is the Director of Business Development at SettleIn.
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Cherry Tang is a fourth-year student majoring in Human Geography with minors in GIS and Physical Environmental Geography. Cherry is passionate about smart city intervention and sustainable urban development, as well as the tension between socioeconomic and spatial concerns with specific land-use strategies. Cherry spent her summer in Singapore as an intern for Elmich Pte Ltd, was formerly a GIS/Mapping Research Assistant at the University of Toronto, and Cherry is a LEED Certified Green Associate.