With the recent successes of Canadian tennis players Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic at Wimbledon, the sport has experienced a real boom in this country.
However, with the cost of lessons and equipment, it can be rather expensive. The Sunshine Project, a subsidized after school tennis program in the Jane and Finch, Rexdale and West Humber neighbourhoods is helping to provide many local children with affordable access to the sport. Participants pay a fee, which operates on a sliding scale based on family income.
This approach is modelled after the City of Toronto’s Welcome Policy and opens the door to tennis training for many youths who might not otherwise have been able to play. Youth from low-income families who reside within three km of the designated Sunshine sites have priority to enter the program and generally pay $40 or less for 33 instructional hours over 11 weeks. All participants receive a personal racket, tennis balls, a guidebook on the rules of tennis and a map of local tennis programs and courts. The youth are mentored by four youth leaders from the neighbourhood, who belong to the Sunshine leadership team. Additionally, they receive training from the Wilmington Tennis coaching team.
The students train ever yday after school on public tennis courts at Firgrove Park, Lanyard Park, Gracedale Park, and Sunnydale Acres Park. This year The Sunshine project celebrated its one year anniversary on June 21 with a tournament and graduation awards ceremony with more than 270 children in attendance.
The project has been made possible by a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and will run until 2016. For details on how to join the Sunshine Project please contact Pomme Corvellec at
by Yasmin Parodi