Watch above: The Greater Toronto area readies itself for a new $700 million cricket stadium. Mark McAllister reports.
TORONTO – An upstart professional cricket league announced Tuesday it has secured financing to build a 35,000-seat stadium for the game in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
“This is an exciting step forward for our organization,” said Roy Singh, CEO and chairman of the Canadian Premier League T20, in a press release. “With this financing we can now move to the next phase of selecting a site and securing further investors for this ambitious project.”
The stadium would be the first purpose-built covered cricket facility in the world with a natural grass field and a fixed roof, according to those behind the project. It would be made available for use year-round and host international matches.
Three potential locations in Brampton, Markham and Milton are currently being explored. Applications with local municipalities have yet to be submitted.
“Our plan is to have this stadium built and ready for international cricket within four to five years,” said Bob Mitchell, President of the Canadian Premier League T20, in a press release. “There isn’t a stadium anywhere in the world like the one we intend to build.”
The league plans to kickoff its first season next year, with 10 teams playing a 45-game season, plus playoffs. Each team will be made up of eight Canadians and three international players.
More financing is still needed in order for the league to begin play.
A temporary location also has to be found before the new stadium is built. Discussions had been taking place with the City of Toronto about using Coronation Park, but the league says that’s no longer a possibility.
In 2012, Cricket Canada made a pitch to build a 10,000-seat stadium on the Toronto Islands but the idea was quickly shot down.