Letter in The Toronto Star: Community Sport in Toronto
by Adam Goodwin | 2016 | Last Updated: August 22, 2016
Master’s at the University of Windsor
I am currently in the final stages of completing my Master’s at the University of Windsor‘s ninth-world ranked sport management program. While completing my graduate degree, I had the opportunity to examine a variety of topics and ideas. One of these topics was related to the legacies of sporting events (e.g., the Olympic Games). One of our questions, for example, included: Do sporting events, such as the Olympic Games, stimulate sport participation post-event (or, do the Games inspire people to start participating in sport)?
The City of Toronto
The Toronto Star
While all of these events were taking place, I wrote a letter to The Toronto Star in late-June about the issues. The newspaper published a portion of the letter in late-July. I just found the letter in late-August (a lot of lates!). The link to the letter in The Toronto Star is here. It is the third letter in the series. I have also copied the letter below.
Copy of the Letter
“Torontonians were given various reasons for the City hosting the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games last summer. Many of these reasons were echoed in the mayor’s eventual dropped bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. One of the largest reasons, if you remember: A sport participation legacy from the new facilities and accompanying programs that would benefit the region’s youth and up and coming athletes.
As most in the general public are now well aware of, the post-event sport participation legacy of large-scale sporting events is nil. This has been shown to be true across hundreds of sporting events around the world by countless scientific studies. The reasons for the lack of a sport participation legacy are numerous and complex.
However, in the research I have read, never has a city tried to so intentionally decrease sport participation so drastically, especially so closely following the hosting of a major sporting event (TO2015), and with so much chatter about holding an Olympic Games in the medium-term future the City’s policies around community sport participation are doing just that. Intentionally driving down sport participation. The City has banned kids from participating in sports in two of the most fundamental spaces: parks and roads.
We were told that hosting these large month-long spectacles were for positive sport participation legacies. But, simply, that was never a reason. If the hosting of such events was so important for sport participation then why would the City have so quickly (not even a year post-TO2015) started its systematic and targeted attack on community sport?
Adam Goodwin, Windsor”