Tennis centre to open with splashy fanfare

News media are clearly anticipating the July 26 opening of the new tennis centre at York.

On July 19, The Globe and Mail reported that doves and Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys – an unlikely combination, many might think – will be in abundance next Monday during the opening ceremony for the new Rexall Centre at York University. More than 50 doves will be released at the tennis centre’s 12,500-seat Centre Court. But people need not worry about the birds’ welfare, as “they’re trained to return home,” said Tennis Canada’s vice-president and tournament director, Stacy Allaster. The Maple Leafs jerseys are gifts for the players, who will compete in the Tennis Masters Canada tournament next week (qualifying play will begin on Saturday), to wear as they parade onto the court. One participant, likely Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick or Marat Safin, will make a speech on behalf of his peers. The RCMP will be on hand to unveil a Canadian flag as large as the playing court, and the national anthem will be sung by nine finalists from CTV’s “Canadian Idol”, reported the Globe.

On July 20, The Hamilton Spectator reported that long-time tennis coach Pierre Lamarche would be inducted into Canada’s Tennis Hall of Fame on Sunday. His induction is part of opening weekend ceremonies at the Tennis Masters Canada tournament at the new Rexall Centre at York University. Lamarche, a co-director of the ACE Tennis Academy at the Cedar Springs Health, Racquet and Sportsclub, helped found the All-Canadian Sports Management, now ACE Tennis, back in 1978.

Being bilingual keeps the brain young and sharp

A study finds being bilingual keeps the brain young and sharp, reported Broadcast News July 20. The federal government study shows that being bilingual prevents people from losing their “mental edge” as they age. Head researcher Ellen Bialystok, a psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, says being bilingual is like going to a brain gym. The frontal lobe controls the brain’s “executive functions” – processes that allow one to plan, stay focused and avoid distractions. This is different from the brain’s language centre which is located in the middle-left portion of the brain. Juggling two languages is a lot of work for the executive functions. Bialystok says being bilingual means that every day, those executive processes are used to make sure that what you say comes out in the right language. These mental gymnastics protect the brain over time by hindering the natural slowdown that occurs with age. The study found that monolinguals and bilinguals start slowing down at about the same age, around 60. But monolinguals experienced a faster rate of mental decline.

At home on the Stratford stage

A Fredericton native – and York theatre grad – is making his mark on one of the world’s great classical theatre companies, reported Fredericton’s The Daily Gleaner July 17. Caleb Marshall is contributing his talents as an actor to the Stratford Festival of Canada, held in Stratford, Ont. Marshall was born in Newcastle, NB, but spent many of his formative years in Fredericton, where his family still resides. After attending one year of St. Thomas University’s general arts program, he went to York University’s theatre program and graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in 2001. This is Marshall’s fourth year at the festival and he has parts in plays Timon of Athens, Cymbeline and King John.

On air

  • A Canadian educational centre is being built in Colombo by York University to help high- school students interested in studying abroad, reported the South Asian edition of “OMNI News” (OMNI.2), Toronto, July 19.