March 10, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 83  

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U of T looks to feds for stadium funding

By Maureen Finn
Gazette Staff

The University of Toronto plans on building a new sports complex that will cost upwards of $120-million — and it is counting on government funding for construction.

Jon Dellandrea, U of T’s VP-development and chief advancement officer, said discussions about building the new facility began several months ago, stemming from an unsuccessful student referendum a few years back to revitalize the existing facility.

“The new stadium would accommodate our student community as well as the community outside the university,” Dellandrea said, adding the facility would be used by the Toronto Maple Leafs for practice time, by the Toronto Argonauts for their pre-season games and by the Canadian Soccer Association.

He said the project would have a substantial equity operation with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. “MLSE would help build and run the facility. The funding we hope will come to the university from the federal government would essentially allow us to be partners in the project,” he explained, adding the funding the university hopes to receive would likely come from a grant awarded by the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program.

Sam Boonstra, manager of communications for the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program, said there is no application being considered for U of T. He said the program represents a $680-million federal investment for municipal infrastructure in Ontario.

“We have already announced $585-million for projects previously identified to us. The remaining funds have been earmarked for projects that we are reviewing,” Boonstra explained.

“U of T may be seeking alternative means of federal funding,” he explained, “possibly through a national organization.”

“The broad vision from a provincial and federal standpoint is that this is good for the city, the revitalization of Bloor St., U of T and the community,” Dellandrea said.

Ted Garrard, VP external affairs at Western, said Western received a very small grant toward the building of TD Waterhouse Stadium in 2001. “A portion of funding from the federal and provincial governments to the 2001 Canada Summer Games was directed to the cost of the stadium,” he said, adding the majority of funding came from private donors, along with the $3-million in federal funding.

Garrard said the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program did not exist when the stadium was built. “These programs come and go; besides, we were already receiving funding from the government so they wouldn’t have provided more anyway.”



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