What is the TUC Fields Fund?
The TUC is facing a growing crisis over fields. Every year we must compete for a limited number of public field spaces with an increasing number of large and politically powerful sports groups. And while the population of the GTA climbs steadily, the City is having a hard time simply maintaining the existing fields, let alone building new ones. In some cities Ultimate clubs are losing field permits they previously held and have had to reduce the number of teams that play in their leagues. Field access is the number one issue for urban Ultimate players.
Beginning in 2003, it was determined that a member contribution would be allocated to a capital fund called “The Fields Fund.” The purpose of the Fund is to accumulate capital for future use to acquire, develop, maintain, improve, and otherwise support the Club’s ability to obtain playing fields. A precedent exists for large Ultimate organizations to build their own fields – Ottawa Carleton Ultimate Association successfully built its own Ultimate field complex. The TUC Fields Fund is steadily growing and the Club is actively looking for suitable public or private field development opportunities.
In 2014, the Fields Fund stood at approximately $860,000.
Since the inception of the Fields Fund a small committee has worked diligently to identify opportunities for the Club. Their initiatives have included:
- Working to increase our political clout at City Hall to improve our near term access to City-owned fields,
- Ideas to increase and diversify our sources of fields,
- Participating in the City's redevelopment projects to ensure the likelihood of TUC access to any fields built there,
- In 2003 forming the Friends of Athletic Fields coalition to coordinate projects that increase the overall availability of athletic fields. This is now focused through the Toronto Sports Council of which TUC is an active participant.
- Developing business case and financial models that we can use to professionally approach prospective partners
- Meeting with numerous ownership groups to discuss potential project partnerships. In 2005-2006 we were close to striking a deal and in 2012 we were successful in forming a partnership at Monarch Park Stadium.
- We are actively working behind the scenes to apply our Fields Fund to new field development projects that are beneficial to the membership. When static our capital grows into a viable sum that we can effectively utilize down the road.
The TUC is working hard to give our members better fields that are more conveniently located. Bare in mind that projects of such a large magnitude require months/years of discussion and negotiation. Stay tuned for updates as we progress on these field initiatives.
As always, there is more we can do to leverage new field opportunities in Toronto. But we can’t do it without the help of a COMMITTED TEAM, something we have lacked in the past. Big or small, your contributions can help the Club! Contact the TUC General Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to volunteer.
Field Sense - Some Common Questions
How Does TUC obtain fields?
TUC rents fields from the Toronto and Catholic School Boards, the City of Toronto, and other organizations. We work very hard to obtain the best possible fields for the Club, constantly searching for more fields and those with better playing conditions. In 2014, over 3000 Ultimate games were organized by TUC - that's a lot of permits.
Why is my game HERE when I requested THERE?
For summer league teams and players are asked at registration for their 'preferred' playing areas (i.e. west, east). We do our best to match teams to their requested zones, but that's easier said than done! With 65% of our membership living in Central Toronto and only 25% of the summer fields in the same area... well, it's a challenge.
Why can't we get this field space when it seems to go unused for weeks?
We feel your frustration! We do our best when an unused field is brought to our attention to permit it for games. In some cases, fields are taken out of circulation for repair by their owners and, in others, fields are permitted by groups that are not using them. Often field permits don't change hands from year-to-year because the owners prefer to let incumbents renew their permits. Policies like this handicap Ultimate, a relatively new and growing sport in direct competition for space with soccer, rugby, field hockey, baseball, football, and other organized user groups. TUC continues to work with field owners to address issues like this.
What is TUC doing to secure new fields?
Our staff continues to work with the School Boards, the City of Toronto, and other public/private entities to secure new fields (and retain existing ones). Despite the challenges, TUC has met its field requirements each year and has gradually been adding higher quality fields for its membership. In 2006, we increased the number of summer league games at Sunnybrook and we secured Metro Sports Centre and the Varsity Centre as new indoor venues for Fall/Winter Leagues. In 2007 we hosted more games at Sunnybrook and Eglinton Flats than ever before and we hosted summer league games at Varsity Centre and Birchmount Stadium. In 2008 we added premier fields BMO Field and Downsview Park to the inventory and with BMO Field changed the landscape of our indoor leagues. In 2009 we added another premier indoor venue at Upper Canada College and also the Cherry Beach turf fields for spring and fall. In 2009-2010 we moved indoor league from BMO Field to Lamport Stadium (acquiring some summer time in the process), added Centennial Stadium, and began fall league games on the turf at Crescent School. In 2011 we added the renovated Weston Lions Park to the list along with more games at our premier venues. In 2012 we added Lakeshore CI and Cherry Beach premier turf fields to the summer rotation, along with Withrow Park in East York. In 2013 we added Monarch Park Stadium to all seasons (a sizeable amount of time) as well as premier fields St. Michael's College in the summer and North Toronto CI in the Fall. Every year the TUC inventory improves and the TUC members reap the benefits!
What can I do to help TUC's current field situation?
If you hear of new developments, find unclaimed field space, or have ideas for a business plan let us know! If you want to be directly involved we encourage you to join our Lands Committee, email email@example.com to express your interest. You can also contribute to TUC community clean-up projects, like the ones we have done at Flemingdon, Cedarvale, and Rosehill Parks. The TUC is a non-profit community organization that plays most of its games on public fields, so it helps us a great deal to maintain a good profile in our community.
You might know something that we don't - if you know of a field that could be permitted for use, please let us know!
Last updated: December 10, 2014