Downsview Digs 3

The ground breaking ceremony on Tuesday at Toronto FC’s Academy and Training Facility located in Downsview Park attracted local and national media attention.

At The Toronto Star, Daniel Girard observed “the club offered another reason to feel good about next season. It will have a permanent training ground, ending the routine of daily busing around the GTA.”

James Christie at The Globe and Mail reports “Canada’s young soccer hopes can now witness first-hand the daily trials that come with being a big-league player for Toronto FC.”

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The ceremony also attracted a great deal of television coverage with CBC (English and French), TSN, Global News and GOL TV Canada all filming segments to air. Many of those in attendance were given an aerial tour of Downsview Park where the Reds will use 14-acres for a new fieldhouse and four pitches for training and academy. Toronto FC will pay an annual rent to Downsview Park.

The Academy and Training Facility is expected to cost Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment more than $17.5 million and is scheduled to open in spring of 2012.

Toronto FC’s first Academy graduate, 18-year old Doneil Henry shared his thoughts with MLSE’s own Mike Ulmer, praising the developments as “an amazing transformation.”

The Reds have a day off from training on Wednesday. Toronto will travel this weekend to Philadelphia for an MLS match (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET on TSN), before heading to Dallas for the final, all-important Champions League Group C clash on October 18 for a spot in the quarterfinals (GOL TV Canada, 8 p.m. ET).