The Dovercourt Boys' and Girls' Club began a new chapter with pop star Nelly Furtado on hand as it celebrated the opening of its eagerly anticipated second floor addition, Thursday evening, June 23.
The ceremony marked the end of the club's capital campaign, 'Through the Roof,' and an opportunity to show off the club's completed expansion and revitalization.
As it resumes its popular programs, the club's members will benefit from more than 4,500-square feet of new space, including a greenhouse, a theatre-dance studio, an astronomy and science room, a teen lounge and a computer lab.
Perhaps most importantly, the club, located in the Dupont Street and Dovercourt Road area, will be able to accommodate 150 to 200 additional kids in its after-school and camp programs.
The club hosted a VIP reception followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, starting at 4:30 p.m., in the gymnasium at 180 Westmoreland Ave.
One of the most popular VIPs at the event - as far as the kids were concerned - was pop singer-songwriter Furtado, the Through the Roof campaign's honorary children's ambassador. Furtado has become a familiar face at the club, having hosted its 50th anniversary charity gala.
As the singer made her way into the gym, children jumped up to greet her. Furtado happily signed autographs and posed for photos.
Former club members, Melissa Aiello and Adam Volpentest, kicked off the ceremony with a musical performance.
"The revitalized club facilities will provide hundreds of boys and girls with additional and accessible space to house a variety of recreational programs and services for years to come," said MP Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario in a letter, which was read during the ceremony. "Congratulations on your hard work on this important community project."
Guest speaker Donna Cansfield, MPP for Etobicoke Centre, said she was pleased to be able to celebrate the expansion and rehabilitation.
"I feel absolutely delighted to be here in the company of young people... they make you feel good, they make you smile. It reminds you of why you do what you do every day - children are our future," she said. "I want to say to each and every one of you who helped and participated: Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you."
Operations Manager Justin Hanna said Thursday's ceremony symbolized a new beginning. Completion of the expansion, said Hanna, ensures that the club will meet the needs and opportunities of operating in the 21st century.
"I stand here humbled, to realize that our club is ready for our future. We're open for business in our new building," he said.
The Dovercourt Boys' and Girls' Club has been serving Torontonians since 1957 and in that time has provided quality and affordable adult, after-school and camp programs to more than 30,000 individuals.
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