The Thorncliffe Park Tennis Club was in very poor shape when current president Christine Barachina joined.
In fact, that’s why she was able to join — it was easy to get in because there was no waiting list.
Barachina was originally on the waiting list for the Leaside Tennis Club but “their email bounced back, and they basically said to feel free to join the other club — Thorncliffe Park Tennis Club — that doesn’t have a waiting list,” she recalled.
“As a result, I joined the tennis club and ended up on the board.”
She took the board position after two years of being a member and immediately embarked on an initiative to rebuild the tennis court so that more people would want to join.
“The only thing that was stipulating for us was that we didn’t have the financial resources to do that, so we had to build a reserve to do this,” Barachina said.
They ultimately raised $70,000 for the renovations.
They did this both with donations from the members of the club and by renting out the park to other clubs.
“A lot of other groups came to use our court, such as the Toronto Gay and Lesbian Tennis Club (and) the Toronto Tennis Academy … so we were able to raise money by essentially having them use our court.”
The association with the Toronto Tennis Academy, in particular, has come in handy for the club.
It connected them with tennis pro Branko Stamenic, who now regularly trains people there.
“One of the great things about working at Thorncliffe is that it gives me the opportunity to introduce the game of tennis to kids who wouldn’t normally be introduced to a sport like tennis, because they come from a different culture where tennis is not popular,” Stamenic said.
Once they had raised the money, the tennis courts took about three weeks to resurface.
Kids and adults attended the grand re-opening of the tennis courts on Sept. 19.
Stamenic was present to work with the attendees on their tennis games.
MP John Carmichael, along with candidates Rob Oliphant and Syeda Riaz, joined the ribbon-cutting ceremony.