View topic - Distance to fields

Distance to fields

"Rant on your Soapbox" Revived!

Distance to fields

Postby a. » Tue Jun 28, 2005 10:14 am

First let me emphasize that I appreciate everything the board and administration does for me and my team, including their diligent efforts to secure playing space for us. However, this is the rant and rave section and looking at the location of my game tonight, I feel a rant coming on.

Tonight it's a road called Scarlett, which seems to be near the airport, last week it was Lakeshore CI, which is wholelot closer to downtown Missisauga than downtown Toronto, before that it was Centenial College at Markham Rd and 401!!! I'm starting to look at Eglinton Flats and Parkway Forest as central locations.

I know, I know, there are lots of us and not many fields, but the commute is killing me and this is the rant and rave section, not the rational proposal of solutions sections. What I would do for just one game in pre-amalgamation Toronto.
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Re: Distance to fields

Postby TerryBobJack » Tue Jun 28, 2005 11:32 am

a. wrote: What I would do for just one game in pre-amalgamation Toronto.


I think you have your answer there. What would you do to get a game in TO?
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Postby Hanuman » Tue Jun 28, 2005 11:40 am

but the commute is killing me

It wouldn't be so bad if you didn't bike to the fields :wink:
One word for you.... "carpooling".
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Postby GregS » Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:17 pm

I played at Cedarvale Middle last week. A nice central location, which just happens to take forever to get to because (a) the only highway nearby is the Allen which tends to back up all the way to Lawrence at that time of day (b) all the major streets nearby are slow routes and (c) you have to navigate a twisty maze of one-way streets worthy of being turned into an 80's coin-op video game.

Once you're there, you have about 85 yards in which to set up a field that's supposed to be 120 yards long. You dig four old discs out of your bag to mark the potholes, and you still have to warn everyone because one of them actually sits far enough below ground level that you can't see it until you're 10 feet away. And then you start running on a surface that's only distinguishable from asphalt because there's some grass growing out of it.

Give me Centennial College any day. Then again, I can probably jog to Centennial faster than Andy can drive there.
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Postby HotSauce » Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:05 pm

I think this is a legitimate issue. I'm sure the powers that be at TUC are fully aware of this and are doing their best to remedy it. I read an article in the newspaper basically outlining how some players are either not playing or defecting to a) other sports b) other leagues because of the distances that teams have to travel to get to games. I agree with Andy that it's hard to make plans to get to games when you don't know week to week if the field is TTC accessible or whether you need 20 minutes or over an hour to get there by car.

Can we turn this forum into one where people make suggestions on how to improve the system? Positively and constructively, please?
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Postby Kevo » Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:01 pm

The driving around toronto IS getting a bit out of hand...

As for solutions, the only one I can think of would be to reduce the region size of the league. This would probably also involve removing the focus of the league from the tiered skill system.

Instead of having so many tiers, have a general A-B-C classification so that teams are more easily lumped together. Then put them in geographically sensible locations; instead of just central (which goes from kipling to kennedy), have Central West, Central, Central East, Mississauga, North York, North West, North East, etc.

This would also remove the flexibility of days to play on for many teams.
I think what it comes down to is a lot of stress up front for management and organization of nights/regions, slightly less balanced playing pools, and less stress in getting to the games.

These are just some ideas. Let's expand on them and hear some others...
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Postby bargold » Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:22 pm

Can we turn this forum into one where people make suggestions on how to improve the system? Positively and constructively, please?


This is the Rant forum after all. And sometimes, good ideas come out of a good rant.
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Postby Big Country » Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:29 pm

Kevo wrote:The driving around toronto IS getting a bit out of hand...

As for solutions, the only one I can think of would be to reduce the region size of the league. This would probably also involve removing the focus of the league from the tiered skill system.

Instead of having so many tiers, have a general A-B-C classification so that teams are more easily lumped together. Then put them in geographically sensible locations; instead of just central (which goes from kipling to kennedy), have Central West, Central, Central East, Mississauga, North York, North West, North East, etc.

This would also remove the flexibility of days to play on for many teams.
I think what it comes down to is a lot of stress up front for management and organization of nights/regions, slightly less balanced playing pools, and less stress in getting to the games.

These are just some ideas. Let's expand on them and hear some others...


This is a good solution. But, I still think 90% of the league would want to be in Central.
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Postby GregS » Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:47 pm

Big Country wrote:This is a good solution. But, I still think 90% of the league would want to be in Central.

What if team fees were higher for teams requesting to be in the Central region, and successively lower as you get further away?
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Postby Blue » Tue Jun 28, 2005 3:07 pm

I realize this isn't a unique solution, nor one that hasn't been discussed before (possibly to death)...

... but what about looking at solution similar to Ottawa again like UPI Park up there?

Toronto's league, from what I understand, has grown quite a bit in the last couple of years, and hence, what may not have been cost effective/possible a couple of years ago, may be much more realistic now.

And while I have no delusions that we could ever buy enough real estate to support all league games at one venue, the addition of 20 fields would certainly allow us to drop the 20 worst/furthest fields from our current selection.

How much $$ would it take? A $10 donation per player? $20? $50? More?

Where would people be willing to see it located?

Can we come up with no incentives or reasons for a developer to contribute some time as a consultant to advise us on what it would take?

Every year this sort of solution is delayed, cheaper real estate moves further from the downtown as suburbs expand. Perhaps the solution is to buy cheap land outside of the city and use the savings to pay for a shuttle service. (or find a contractor willing to run a shuttle service from Finch Station to the fields... if they know they have 40 teams worth of people every weeknight at 6:00 pm to shuttle, surely this could be done for $2 a head).

Just some thoughts,
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Postby jason » Tue Jun 28, 2005 3:11 pm

The lands committee is currently looking at a few such proposals and $25 from every TUC membership goes into our fields fund to help with a downpayment, maintenance on existing fields, and so on. One of the areas that TUC is most interested in is building field(s) using artificial turf, which could be domed and lit so that we can play 365 days a year.

I know that Rob is currently looking for a few eager individuals to help get us to the next stage. You're right that there are lots of possible solutions to the field problem, but we need a lot of volunteer hours to help us get there. If you're interested in helping out, drop Rob a line: fields@tuc.org.
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Postby march » Tue Jun 28, 2005 3:14 pm

what the TTC needs is a better system... if only this were feasable...
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Postby Kevo » Tue Jun 28, 2005 3:37 pm

clumsy_13 wrote:what the TTC needs is a better system... if only this were feasable...


haha. Best TTC ever. The globe and mail estimated that it would cost $50 billion to build that system. I once saw a site that had drawings of subway maps around the world... and toronto's was embarassingly the most simple.

now... back to the problem at hand.
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Postby Blue » Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:39 pm

Perhaps you meant this site? One should note that this is also to scale, and that Toronto has a lot of urban sprawl to cover.

But yes... back to the matter at hand.. ;)

Jason, you said that the field committee gets $25 per player for maintenance of existing fields... I assume you mean the cost of the permits for the city fields etc that we use?

I was thinking more about an additional amount which would be for only the next couple of years... though I admit upon reflection that my numbers were quite low compared to what the likely reality would be... ( ~ 3000+ players time even $100 each would scarecely net the sort of funds needed to buy a sizable parcel of land and develop it in the 416 area code.) Though realestate may be cheaper at a 'Fletcher's Fields' type location.

Would you (meaning the not-quite random non-statistically correct sampling of people reading this thread) be willing to travel out of the city for good fields? It would address the field quality issue, but not the travel time... mind you, if you're going to the same place each time it is often better than a different hunt and seek game each week. ;)

I am intreguied by the prospect of indoor fields which could be used year round... however, and maybe it's just me... I'd rather see more fields for the summer months, for the same price as a few specialized fields indoor for the winter (and which no one would want to play on during the summer when it's nice outside... rugburn is a wintertime injury. ;) )
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Postby Peeters » Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:46 pm

I have a solution, just move to the suburbs. EVERY field is far from there. :)

Nothing like leaving Mississauga at 5:15 and getting to Parkway Forest at 6:30 on a *good* day. But I knew what I was getting into, so I can't complain. Though I'm also lucky enough to have a car, which makes life quite easier.

I think the biggest problem is that Toronto has sprawled so much that getting a piece of land 40 minutes out of town like Ottawa did is impossible. (I looked at a map, the distance from Downtown Ottawa to UPI looks about the same distance as Downtown Toronto to, oh, Pearson Airport.

I wonder how much it would cost to get some greenspace at Downsview? :)
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Postby a. » Wed Jun 29, 2005 9:13 am

I'd be willing to go farther for quality fields. Really, I was shocked to have a game at Markham Road and 401 and it's not much farther to go to Fletcher's Fields Rugby Parks where the fields are flat and maintained. I'd rather make the trip there than to Buttonwood, where after taking the bus almost all the way to Peeters house in Missisauga I played game on a field so bumpy that walking in hiking boots would be the best option to avoid a sprained ankle.
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Postby BJ » Wed Jun 29, 2005 9:24 am

What about the Donlands?

A bunch of crusty old factories likely own the land down there and are using it to store old tires and rusty wagons. There is enough space there to make , hmmm, 10 fields I'd say. I realize this is prime real estate but what if these factories kept ownership of the land (maybe just in case they need to expand?) but turned them into usable space and rented it out. This way they would still keep the land but would at least make some money off of it and help clean up the look of Toronto. If you drive east along Lakeshore just a few blocks before you hit McCleary there are 2 fenced in areas with still water (hello west nile!) and crap, that could easily accomodate a field each. Then TUC just rents the fields from them. Admittedly it would cost a pretty penny to turn these garbage heaps into usable fields but thats for someone else to think about.

Only problem is the possible contamination of the soil? But again, I don't know anything about that.

Just do it I say. DO IT!
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Postby TerryBobJack » Wed Jun 29, 2005 9:57 am

BJ wrote:Only problem is the possible contamination of the soil? But again, I don't know anything about that.

Just do it I say. DO IT!


As a rule of thumb any land in Toronto between Front Street / Eastern Ave. and the Lake is contaminated, with most having the cost to remove the contamination being greater that the actual value of the property.

It's generally easier to rehabilitate contaminated land to use as parkland than it is to develop it as housing but would still cost a lot of money and there would definitely be liability issues for the owners. Maybe we could get some government funding?
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Postby a. » Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:14 am

At least in part due to the work of the Lands Committee and Administration, the park slated for the Waterfront on Commissioners will have three fields where ultimate is specifically mentioned in the official plan. The plan currently calls for these fields to be built with artificial turf grass to ensure long life and low maintenace. Of course, the only thing slower than development on the waterfront is work on Downsview Park. Don't even get me started. However, despite my ire at the slow developement I was impressed that our "lobbyists" managed to get ultimate mentioned in the development plans.
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Postby Kevo » Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:15 am

Blue wrote:Perhaps you meant this site? One should note that this is also to scale, and that Toronto has a lot of urban sprawl to cover.


Yes that's exactly it! Thanks!

Blue wrote:Would you (meaning the not-quite random non-statistically correct sampling of people reading this thread) be willing to travel out of the city for good fields? It would address the field quality issue, but not the travel time... mind you, if you're going to the same place each time it is often better than a different hunt and seek game each week. ;)


I agree with the statement of looking for fields each week is annoying. In the few seasons I played in the Brampton league, it was a wonderful relief to know exactly where I was going each week. Just show up and find your team later. Not having to look up directions (and inevitably getting lost) is a great hassle.

On a side note, I know of a few people migrating to the Guelph league because it plays on great fields, and they have night games! (lit fields)
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Postby Blue » Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:19 am

In terms of the Don Lands... there are already projects in place:

You can find out about them here.

The same group is also responsible for cleaning up Cherry Beach and Ashbridges Bay.

A link to a list of their current projects can be found here.

Perhaps someone has the time and energy to attend the 'public consultations' they have?

I suppose in the end, there are two ways to go... work with another group, such as the one above, who shares a related interest, or go out on our own and buy a place and build our own 'Fletcher's Fields'.

Both options are appealing I suppose. Working with a group could result in fields in a solid location like the waterfront and easily accessible. It also means more people advocating, and probably government funding. It also means giving concessions, possibly less than what we'd want as a result, and moving at the pace of a government project. My future kids will enjoy these parks.

Working on our own means building the an ultimate dedicated place, though most likely not south of the 407 at best and possibly further. A much bigger cost and ongoing costs to maintain and manage it. Possibly another full time position just to do that. But it could happen as quickly as we could afford to make it happen. And in the end it would be ours, and a place where Toronto could host large scale tourneys.
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Postby Blue » Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:22 am

a. wrote:...fields to be built with artificial turf grass to ensure long life and low maintenace


Am I the only one who cringes at the thought of playing on artifical turf?
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Postby a. » Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:40 am

I've been to Toronto Waterfront Revitilization Committee meetings and seen other ultimate players and our GM there.

From my understanding the artificial turf is a relatively new product that includes ground up tires as a base. The word is that it is safer/gentler and requires less maintenance, but I don't know of anybody who has played on it or even seen it.
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Postby Wartank » Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:45 am

thanks to google for making our search for fields easier and easier.
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Postby So Cut » Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:46 am

Blue wrote:Am I the only one who cringes at the thought of playing on artifical turf?

Properly maintained artificial turf (like FieldTurf and its clones, not the Waterside rug) is actually a huge improvement over the clover-infested rock-hard dirt patches that make up most of our non-Sunnybrook fields. Granted, it's been particularly warm this summer, so conditions are a little extreme, but artificial turf is easier on cleats, joints, and yes, skin.

Not that I actually expect to be playing on artificial turf anytime soon, but I've found it a pleasant surprise in the past, and certainly preferable to what I'm playing on right now.
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Postby oshai » Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:54 am

Blue wrote:Am I the only one who cringes at the thought of playing on artifical turf?


a. wrote:From my understanding the artificial turf is a relatively new product that includes ground up tires as a base. The word is that it is safer/gentler and requires less maintenance, but I don't know of anybody who has played on it or even seen it.


I've played on this kind of stuff in Seattle, and it was great. while it a little rougher on the skin than real grass (but not that much...), it is soft, flat, and much much much better than dirt. It doesn't lose grip in rain (important in Seattle), and doesn't dry up to become rock hard. Overall, I'd take artificial turf over most fields I've played to date any day.
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Postby So Cut » Wed Jun 29, 2005 11:05 am

a. wrote:From my understanding the artificial turf is a relatively new product that includes ground up tires as a base. The word is that it is safer/gentler and requires less maintenance, but I don't know of anybody who has played on it or even seen it.

Only problem with the rubber pellets is that they get everywhere and may clog your shower drain. :) The last turf I played on wasn't kept up very well, though, and the pellets were really unevenly distributed, so that probably didn't help.

But yeah, the turf is as smooth and bouncy as a well-kept grass field, and stays in that condition much longer.
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Postby Hanuman » Wed Jun 29, 2005 11:28 am

Is that the same turf as soccer world? That turf is really nice and you can wear your cleats on it as well. Not sure if you get turf burn on it.... haven't laid out on the stuff.... not yet :D
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Postby GregS » Wed Jun 29, 2005 12:38 pm

Hanuman wrote:Is that the same turf as soccer world? That turf is really nice and you can wear your cleats on it as well. Not sure if you get turf burn on it.... haven't laid out on the stuff.... not yet :D

I'm pretty sure I saw some good rug burn up at Soccer World, and I never saw any rubber pellets. The turf they're talking about sounds like the new stuff they laid down at the Dome, er, Rogers Centre this year.
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Postby Sir Poach-a-Lot » Wed Jun 29, 2005 1:20 pm

I had a great chat with Chris (GM) at the bar post indoor playoffs. He has a lot of good ideas in the field department and it sounds like the fields group is exploring a lot of options and angles.

From my perspective the most realistic option would be Downsview. Reams of space there, not requiring remediation and close to transit system. It seems like such a waste to see so much greenspace not being used for anything.

The visionary solution is in collaborating with corporations that own/operate/build large warehouses, stores and factories. They convert to a green roof, put up big fences and ramps and stairs and buy a lawnmower for the roof. They would enjoy massive savings on heating/cooling of the facility, lower passive thermal pollution and they derive revenue from renting it out to sports leagues. Not to mention the friendly green spin, and the we're such a good member of the community spin which they could milk in perpetuity. Intuitively I think you could make a purely financial case for this type of development, but have no facts to back that up!
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Postby jason » Wed Jun 29, 2005 1:25 pm

Unfortunately Downsview is a national park and therefore means massive amounts of red tape. Dealing with one level of government is painful; dealing with two or more (especially Federal) is virtually impossible. At least this has been the lands committee's experience so far.

This doesn't necessarily mean that a deal would be impossible, but all you have to do is look at our stalled waterfront re-development plans to see that without a lot of $$$ the governments plans will never become a reality.
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Postby GregS » Wed Jun 29, 2005 1:31 pm

Sir Poach-a-Lot wrote:They convert to a green roof, put up big fences

Yeah! Ultimate Cage Match in the Sky!
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Postby Blue » Wed Jun 29, 2005 4:50 pm

Ya... the green roof idea would be great, though I would imagine that unless a building is architected with that in mind to begin with, there must be a fairly large up front cost to it? (extra weight on the roof, better drainage, etc).

I like the idea though... imagine playing 6 stories up in the air... maybe the rooftop of a parking garage could work as well? :)

There is certainly no shortage of info on the idea on the web...

http://www.greenroofs.org/

http://www.greenroofs.com/

and Toronto's own... http://www.greenroofs.ca/


Pehaps one of the scariest parts of this whole thread is that Toronto is often described as the City within a park... because we have more green space than most cities.

http://www.uwm.edu/MilwaukeeIdea/CEO/br ... 4_2003.pdf
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Postby a. » Wed Jun 29, 2005 4:57 pm

Toronto is often described as the City within a park


Ouch, damn trees keep getting in the way.
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Postby Peeters » Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:45 pm

Actually, Andy, I live in Brampton now. I can't afford to go home before my games in TUC, so I just go straight from work. Makes me easy to find though, I'm the half-naked guy changing in his car at the field. :)

I think now when we say "artificial turf" that we can start assuming that it's the FieldTurf or FieldTurf clone stuff (green plastic that looks like grass on ground tires) as Astroturf and its clones are slowly going the way of the dodo. Starting this year in the National Football League, for example, all 32 teams will be playing on Grass or FieldTurf (or a clone). Nobody has an Astroturf field anymore, and we're seeing Baseball doing the same thing. Anybody building a new artificial field now would be crazy to put in Astroturf as it's pretty much obselete. (Anybody from Waterside or The Hangar reading this? :) )

Kevo's right, I still play in the Brampton league and we're at the same fields every week (Brampton Rugby Club, a smaller scale Fletchers Fields). It's great, and very convenient, if you don't mind playing Five a Side. Of course, there are only 11 teams this summer, so it's a little different than 200+.

I have to agree with the Downsview idea. Look at the size of it! That's gotta be part of the answer. No matter how much red tape there is, it might be TUC's best option at this point for all the reasons stated. Huge. Close to transit (not just transit, the Subway!). Seemingly no plan for its use that'll ever see the light of day. Maybe TUC could use some of the Field Fund to see what the local MP could do to help "cut some of that Red Tape". :wink:
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Postby Kevo » Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:24 pm

Hey there,

I noticed that this issue popped up in another forum. It seems to be a constant, important, and oft discussed issue.

I don't attend the meetings (if there are any). What exactly is the plan for addressing this, if any? Or is it a matter of "Do nothing and live with it?".

http://www.tuc.org/index.php?name=PNphp ... pic&t=3580
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Maybe we've got it pretty good after all

Postby GregS » Mon Oct 03, 2005 10:02 am

At this weekend's Zodiac, I was talking to a couple of people up from Brooklyn. There is no apparently no Ultimate league in NY, NY. To get to their summer games, it is a 3 hour drive north of the city. (I don't remember the name of the town he said it was in.) Puts those once-in-a-while hour long treks across the city in perspective.

They don't play in the winter, because it's even further away, up in Connecticut. You think Downsview is far; what if you had to drive to Montreal for indoor Ulti?
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Postby Blue » Mon Oct 03, 2005 11:04 am

I think this is the league you are talking about.
http://www.wudi.org/

They are headquartered in White Plains.

Assuming that the field are around there, it might not be as bad as you think. A friend of mine used to commute to work in NYC daily from White Plains... since the train goes between the two, lots of people do.

So, it might be more akin to having Toronto's league in Scarborough and taking the subway out there.

Either way... not nearly as good as having fields in the heart of the city.
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Postby GregS » Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:51 pm

Westchester sounds familiar, I'm sure you're right. Google Maps says it would be almost an hour from the south tip of Manhattan (more or less analagous to downtown T.O. for these purposes) to the fields. That doesn't take traffic into account. For comparison purposes, the Google times from downtown to Whitby, Newmarket, Milton and Burlington are all in the same ballpark.

Yeah, it sucks to have to drive across the city, once in a while. But imagine if you had to drive (or take the GO train) to any of the aforementioned locales (and home again afterwards), every single week. I don't think we'd have nearly the same vibrant community that we enjoy here.
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Postby Croaker-TUC » Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:33 am

I'm of the opinion that we should field-turf virtually every field in the city. Let's face it - maintenance of parks in this city is pathetic. There's no money for it and I'm guessing that's not going to change soon. If we (TUC) and other sports leagues were to sponsor it, it would greatly increase the amount of playing space time that we have. Make no mistake, I would rather play on Sunnybrook's or Havergale's lovely natural turf any day but the Toronto reality is that we can't use the fields (legally) until after May long because we don't want to kill the grass before it starts growing. When it rains, we have to cancel games. When it doesn't rain for four weeks, we're playing on virtual concrete until the snow comes. I don't know what % of good natural turf, field-turf is (maybe 75% - we play on good natural turf so rarely it's hard to know!) but it's way, way better than about 90% of what we actually do play on. Bottoms line is that field-turf would increase our season - at both ends - and the field quality.

And if we're going to invest in field turf, add lights so we can play two games a night at all fields - maybe even three! I have no idea what field-turf and lights would cost but unless some politicians find it to their political advantage to make some new fields, we're pretty much stuck with what we got. Let's make the best of what we got.
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Postby lennox » Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:33 pm

GregS wrote:But imagine if you had to drive (or take the GO train) to any of the aforementioned locales (and home again afterwards), every single week. I don't think we'd have nearly the same vibrant community that we enjoy here.


No imagination here. I work in Markham (hwy 7 and 404), and it takes anywhere from 20 minutes (e.g. Parkway Forest) to well over an hour (e.g. Sir Winston Churchill). Then, to drive home to Aurora it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Trust me, it really sucks. Additionally, when there is construction or accidents along the route, it's even worse.

Try and do that twice a week for practice or once/twice a week for league games and you can understand why not a lot of TUC members live outside Metro.

As far as park land for fields ... I've always wondered why we don't purchase or rent land underneath of power lines and develop our own field/park? Although the power lines don't extend right into downtown, this park could easily be very close to Flemingdon (same power lines) somewhere out near Eglington and Vic Park (near ashtonbee).

Also, what is at the south end of Leslie? Seems to be a large park, "Tommy Thompson Park" ?
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Postby TerryBobJack » Fri Oct 07, 2005 9:41 am

I think the real problem is that you live in Aurora. Did you lose a bet or something? :wink:
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