Scadding Court Community Centre is inviting Toronto residents to grab a rod and reel and catch a rainbow trout without having to leave the confines of the city.
Scadding’s annual Gone Fishin’ event has returned for the 11th straight year, with the community centre’s swimming pool stocked with fish.
“The program is great for young people and families in the city who don’t have a chance to go trout fishing,” said Scadding Court executive director Kevin Lee.
“Many of the people here have never fished in their lives.”
Participants can gain a “fishing licence” for two dollars, which entitles them to one fish. Anyone looking to take home more than one trout will be asked to pay $3.50 per additional fish.
Scadding Court volunteers will also clean the fish for 75 cents, with a portion of the proceeds going toward the rebuilding of the Sopudep School in Petionville, Haiti.
“We’ve already raised $1,980 for the school through bake sales, our youth group, student groups and other programs,” Lee said. “We’re committed to providing them with $4,000 and this is a great, fun way to raise that extra money.”
The community centre has stocked the pool with 2,000 trout from an Ontario fish farm. For much of the day, school groups will be brought in to fish, though the event is open to the general public from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
Lee said this time of year is ideal for turning Scadding’s pool into a fishing hole.
“Our pool’s running year-round except this time of year, when we have to do maintenance on it,” he said.
“This is something I’d like to see in a lot of other pools when they’re not in use. Toronto has a lot of outdoor pools where something like this could happen from September to June.”
Nanny Alex Neary brought two-year-old Henry Shakyaver down to enjoy a little fishing action on Gone Fishin’s opening day June 13.
“He loves fish and he’s obsessed with them right now,” she said Thursday.
“I saw this on a bus ad and thought it would be great to come down. Everyone’s having a good time.”
Seven-year-old Simon Gracias used Gone Fishin’ as an opportunity to catch his first ever fish.
“It was hard to get it, but it was fun when I caught it,” he said.
Local resident Caroline Wuschke noted Lee is an avid fisherman and has centred more than a few programs and outings around fishing. She noted her two sons have participated in fishing trips organized through Scadding.
“The only time they’ve done fishing is at events through Scadding Court,” she said.
“Kevin took a group of kids to Mongolia and when they had a choice between going to the Gobi Desert or going fishing, he chose fishing.”
While those inside Scadding were having a good time, a small group of protesters gathered outside the building to speak out against the annual Gone Fishin’ event. They handed out pamphlets on overfishing and animal cruelty to those passing by.
“If parents want to take their kids to a community gathering, there are plenty of places to go,” said protester Michael Lanfield.
“There are so many non-violent ways to spend time with your family, and this isn’t one of them.”
Gone Fishin’ will run through Saturday, June 22 at Scadding Court Community Centre, 707 Dundas St. W. For more information, visit www.scaddingcourt.org/gone_fishin or call 416-392-0335.