The new rink at Leaside Gardens is now officially the Dr. Tom Pashby Play Safely Rink following a celebration in the William Lea Room January 19 attended by more than 100 invited guests, including Dr. Pashby’s three children, Bill, Bob and Jane Pashby, and past and present board members of the arena, the East York Foundation, and the Dr. Tom Pashby Sports Safety Fund.
The name change acknowledges a $500,000 donation from the Pashby Fund that means “Leaside Gardens will have the funding to be a best-in-class facility for programs, design and equipment to reduce catastrophic injury in sport and recreation,” according to Bill Pashby, who chairs the Fund board.
His family has had a long association with Leaside Gardens. “When it was first built, Doc’s parents and in-laws lived three blocks away,” says Pashby. “All of his kids and grandkids learned to skate and swim here as did his two great-grandchildren, Grace and Maeve Murphy. He coached hockey here and regularly stitched up the cuts on young hockey players’ faces. Our Fund board had been looking for a large signature project, and the more we thought about this the better it seemed.”
Arena board chair Ray White called the donation “the final piece in our fundraising puzzle,” noting that it brought to $3.6 million the total amount raised by the local community towards financing the new rink. “How many communities could do that?” he asked. White said the arena board is “committed to the goal of making Leaside Gardens the safest arena in Canada.”
Also speaking at the event were writer Terry Fallis, who recalled the exploits of his twin brother Tim and him at the arena over the years, and Premier Kathleen Wynne, who thanked the Pashby family and all the volunteers in the room who, she said, “show the remarkable cohesion of the Leaside community.”