Toronto school cricketers will play for the ‘Premier’s Cup’ in 2024

In his opening remarks at the launch of a new cricket competition for schools, Ken Jeffers, president of the Ontario Schools Cricket Association (OSCA) referred to Sir John A. Macdonald’s 1867 declaration that cricket was Canada’s national sport.

From left: Doug Ford, Ken Jeffers, Olivia Chow and Stephen Lecce

Last Monday, Toronto made a major commitment to nurturing cricket as a major sport with the launch of the 2024 Ontario Schools Cricket Association (OSCA) Premier’s Cup. The event was hosted at W.A. Porter Collegiate Institute in Scarborough, and gathered politicians, educators, and community leaders, united in their support for the growth of cricket across Ontario.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford discussed cricket’s role in enriching the province’s cultural landscape. He introduced an ambitious initiative to convert unused hydro fields into cricket pitches, illustrating his administration’s commitment to enhancing the sport’s infrastructure.

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow celebrated the collaborative nature of cricket, likening it to the city’s diversity and inclusivity. She announced a significant $20 million from a new city-provincial deal dedicated to enhancing outdoor recreational facilities, ensuring the construction of more cricket pitches throughout Toronto.

Doug Ford, Ken Jeffers, Olivia Chow and Stephen Lecce is joined by Michael Ford, Neil Lumsden, Sonia Marville-Carter, Parthi Kandavel,
Muhammad Kara and Raymond Cho

Councillor Parthi Karnaval from Scarborough Southwest discussed local initiatives aimed at further developing cricket facilities, including new batting cages and an official pitch, highlighting the sport’s significance in community and family life.

The event also celebrated the achievements of local youth in cricket. Elizabeth Mayhew, Principal of W.A. Porter Collegiate Institute, expressed pride in hosting the launch, noting the success of SAITEC’s cricket team and the school’s specialized STEAM programs that integrate academics with sports like cricket.

Olivia Chow at the wicket
Doug Ford at the wicket

Sonia Marville-Carter, Consul General of Barbados, delivered remarks that underscored the deep connection between the Caribbean and cricket. She spoke about the sport’s ability to foster international bonds and cultural exchange, and her excitement for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup to be hosted the final game in Barbados.

Young cricketers of Canada

The event affirmed the broad-based support for cricket’s expansion in Toronto. With robust backing from all levels of government and community leaders, cricket is poised to reach new heights in Toronto and beyond, promising an exciting future for the sport in Ontario.

This powerful demonstration of sport as a catalyst for community cohesion and youth empowerment suggests that the enthusiasm and collaborative efforts showcased at the event will have lasting impacts on the growth of cricket in Ontario.