York College Men’s Basketball Canadian Journey with President Jim Walker

Friday October 12th

It was an excited group of players who gathered at York College alongside the Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center, joined by President Jim Walker, for a 3:00 pm departure by charter bus towards Niagara Falls, Canada. In route there was a stop for dinner at Applebee’s in Geneseo, NY before arriving at the Canadian border around 10:00 pm. It was a short drive to The Peninsula Inn Niagara Falls, CA for check-in.

Saturday October 13th

Following great breakfast at Sunset Grill, the team boarded the bus and headed toward their Hornblower Niagara Cruise around the Falls and a truly breathtaking ride. Riding into the mist from Niagara Falls was like being in a torrential downpour and despite the ponchos everyone was wearing they were still soaked.

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The team then went for a walk along the Niagara River rapids where the extremely fast river travels at up to 50 km/hr and the waves are as high as 5 meters. Everyone was in awe of the powerful rapids.

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After picking up sandwiches for lunch, the team continued to The Welland Canal Center in St. Catharines. They arrived in time for a picnic lunch and a chance to observe a several large ships on their journey to and from Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Observing how the locks worked was very interesting.

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The team was then back on the bus en-route to their first game at Redeemer College in Hamilton, Ontario. The Spartans started out strong and led by 17 in the 3rd quarter. However, Redeemer’s relentless pressure allowed them to take the lead near the end of the game. York had opportunities to regain the lead but fell 3 points short at the end. Following the game, they shared pizza with Redeemer and then headed to Toronto and check-in at the Hampton Inn Brampton, their hotel for the next three nights. Next, the hungry team headed to the Mandarin Buffet for a gourmet all you can eat experience which everyone enjoyed immensely. Needless to say, sleep came easy.

Sunday October 14th

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, local tour guide Barry met the team in front of the CN Tower and joined the group for a Toronto city tour, exploring much of an exciting downtown Toronto.

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The team then enjoyed an excellent pregame lunch at the crowded and popular Fran’s Diner. Following lunch and a bus trip to Seneca College, the Spartans defeated the Seneca Sting by 10 points. It was a good win over the Canadian College National Champs as the team played much better than the day before. After the game, both teams joined together again for some subs and birthday cake for the Seneca coach. The team then went back into Toronto, Canada’s largest city with almost 3 million people, for some free time exploring the popular Dundas Square area. Everyone worked up a good appetite for the team dinner at Paisano’s, a local Italian restaurant.  The bus then took the team back to their rooms for some much-needed rest.

Monday October 15th

After breakfast at the hotel this morning the Spartans boarded their bus for a ride downtown to explore the Distillery District and Old Town Toronto. Despite a light rain the team enjoyed this part of Toronto that includes St. Lawrence Market, the Flatiron Building, and St. James Church. During the walk the team had lunch at Toronto’s Big Smoke Burger and enjoyed one of Toronto’s culinary delights, specialty hamburgers.

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After lunch they continued walking until they found their bus which then took them to their team-building activity Canadian axe throwing. This proved to be one of the highlights of the tour. Split into two teams they competed against each other by throwing axes at targets. Although a difficult activity, the team took it to heart and competed against each other with much “gusto”.

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Following a day of sightseeing and axe throwing they had a nice steak dinner at Moxies Steakhouse before driving to York University for Game #3. The Spartans saved their best game for last as they defeated the University division team by double digits before returning to the hotel for a final night pizza party.

Tuesday October 16th

After an early breakfast at the hotel this morning, the team braved the rush hour traffic and headed to downtown again for a ride to the top of the CN Tower and spectacular views of Toronto and Lake Ontario.

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After picking up subs for the return home, it was time to say goodbye to Canada. They arrived back at school with many wonderful memories and great experiences.

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