Celebs set to play Rogers Cup charity match for Jane-Finch kids

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will both play in next month’s Rogers Cup, setting up the possibility of another showdown between the two rivals. Joining the pros this year will be a bevy of celebrities playing for children of Jane and Finch, reported the Toronto Star July 13. As part of the tournament, which runs from Aug. 5-13 at the Rexall Centre on York University’s Keele campus, Tennis Canada will hold a celebrity tournament to raise money for its Tennis Matters initiative. Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman is scheduled to play, as are NHL star Jason Spezza and Rogers Cup tournament director and former ATP pro Grant Connell.

Donations will finance new indoor tennis programs at 14 schools and community centres in the Jane-Finch area. “We used to think that tennis was only for rich kids whose parents could afford to belong to clubs,” said Tennis Canada board member and Osgoode alumnus Gordon Kirke (LLB ‘69 LLM ‘77). “That’s not good enough. We need to broaden the base of kids who play this game. The hope is that the kids will all like what they see and like tennis.”

Each school will receive racquets, balls and nets, plus instruction from Tennis Canada coaches. “You can’t just tell kids not to get in trouble,” Kirke said. “We’ve got to provide other activities and we’re hoping tennis can be one of them.” Children from local schools will also receive 800 free passes to the charity tournament.

  • The new director of the Rogers Cup, Grant Connell, is “absolutely” confident that tennis superstars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will revisit their rivalry at the event next month in Toronto, reported The Globe and Mail July 13. Connell, who was at Wimbledon last week, said he didn’t have to twist any arms to get top men’s players to commit to the Toronto tournament at the new Rexall Centre at York University. “The new centre is a bigger drawing card,” he said. “The old one was at the point where there was an ultimatum to get rid of it. The Rexall Centre has made the guys a lot more pleased to come back.” Connels’ comments were also reported by The Toronto Sun July 13.

Memorial held for 24-year-old York graduate

About 200 people gathered to pay their last respects late last month to Barak Ben-Nathan (BFA ‘06), a 24-year-old York graduate who died June 24 following a year-long battle with testicular cancer, reported Canadian Jewish News July 13.

In an Internet blog called “Barak’s Health”, created to inform family and friends about his condition, Ben-Nathan – who was buried June 28 in South Africa, where his parents, Rami and Hanna Ben-Nathan, live – explained how he first discovered he had the disease. “This whole ordeal began last year in 2005, when I was in Israel with my family, around April. I began to feel some stomach and lower back pains, Ben-Nathan wrote.

Despite the obstacles brought on by the disease, Ben-Nathan, who was passionate about music, still managed to graduate with a bachelor of fine arts, with honours, from York’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

Aboriginal culture highlights World Dance Alliance at York

Aboriginal culture is big these days – all around the world. All the more reason for the Global Assembly of the World Dance Alliance, meeting next week at York’s Accolade East, to put an emphasis on indigenous dance, reported the Toronto Star July 13. Better yet, the weeklong meeting of dance scholars, dancers and service organizations is preceded by Living Ritual World Indigenous Dance Festival, Friday to Sunday at York and the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford. Santee Smith of Kaha wi Dance Theatre, organizer of the festival, has programmed seven performances, including her own Here on Earth. The Le-La-La dancers are a troupe to catch, both at York on Saturday and at the Toronto Star stage at Harbourfront Centre on Sunday afternoon.

  • World Dance Alliance Global Assembly features several free daytime performances and evening ticketed events. Dance companies from around the world and closer to home are at York University’s Keele campus to showcase their moves, noted the Toronto Star July 13. Highlights include a vertical dance presentation as performers rappel down the side of the Accolade East building, Monday at 1pm (Free); companies from Columbia, Argentina, Taiwan and elsewhere perform new works Wednesday at 8 pm ($28/$23) in the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre. The performances run to July 21.

On air

  • Paul Delaney, professor in York’s Department of Physics & Astronomy, Faculty of Science & Engineering, spoke about tests being performed by astronauts from the International Space Station to repair space shuttle heat shield tiles, on CTV Newsnet July 12.