Return of the Raptors Expected to Continue Basketball Excitement at YMCA Locations Across GTA

17 October 2019

Raptors’ NBA Championship run resulted in unprecedented signups for basketball programs at the Y

As Raptors fans look forward to the return of their NBA Champions and the start of a new season, basketball fever remains high across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) with people from all walks of life shooting hoops at their local YMCA.

“When the Raptors were making their playoff run this past summer, we saw interest in our basketball programs like we’ve never seen before, across all demographics,” said Medhat Mahdy, President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toronto. “The excitement was contagious, everybody wanted in on the action, and we’re still seeing very strong interest as the anticipation for the start of the new season grows.”

The YMCA of Greater Toronto saw participation in basketball Day Camps across the GTA grow by 65 per cent compared to 2018.

“While the Raptors may be the spark, the great thing is the range of benefits that basketball delivers: physical health, positive mental health through team development and socialization, as well as building confidence and leadership skills in kids and young adults,” Mahdy said.

“It’s especially popular with newcomers to Canada and the GTA. Basketball is kind of a universal language, loved and played around the world. We’ve seen newcomers make some of their first connections in the community on our courts, with basketball as the foundation for new friendships.”

Not only has basketball been offered at YMCA centres across the GTA for 128 years (that’s nearly 50,000 days of basketball!), it was actually invented at the Y. Canada’s James Naismith was a YMCA gym teacher who came up with basketball to keep members active during the winter.

  • YMCA Basketball leagues: a semi-competitive program for kids ages 8-15 to play in teams for a season (available at select Centres of Community);
  • YMCA Registered Basketball programs: an instruction-based course where players ages 2-15 learn basketball fundamentals and skills training; and,
  • Drop-in Basketball (pick-up): offered daily at all centres for ages 10 and up – one of the most popular activities at YMCA locations across the GTA.

Visit for full details and basketball programming available.

For further information or to arrange interviews, contact:
Jessica Walcot