(Photos by Twin Elm Rugby Park)
#SaveTwinElm is taking its best shot in a national contest in an effort to raise funds to bring this beloved facility up to code and make it accessible for all. Twin Elm Rugby Park (TERP) has been nominated as one of the top four Canadian finalists in the 11th edition of KraftHeinz Project Play contest. To help TERP become the grand finalist, your help is needed.
Twin Elm Rugby Park is a not-for-profit athletic facility incorporated in 1973, when four families mortgaged their homes to purchase the land. Today, the facility is operated entirely by volunteers and owned by four Ottawa rugby clubs (Bytown Blues, Beavers-Banshees, Ottawa Irish and the Ottawa Ospreys). The Ottawa Ospreys team is the Stittsville-Kanata Club of which Russell Girard is the President. Over the decades, Twin Elm has grown to be an international standards facility with five full sized natural grass fields, a clubhouse with male and female change rooms, meeting rooms and a lounge. The spectator stands accommodate over three thousand sports enthusiasts.
Kraft Heinz Project Play is a joint partnership between TSN, RDS and Kraft Heinz to provide Canadian communities with funds for play-based infrastructure projects. It commits $325,000 to building better places to play. The grand prize winner collects $250,000 and the other three finalists take home $25,000 each.
Should Twin Elm win the grand prize, the winnings would be put to use to add a lift for those who are physically challenged and to do major renovations to the 45 year old structure — plumbing, electrical and modifications to make the facility accessible to all, including our LGBTQ2 community. As women’s rugby is the fastest growing sport in Canada, Twin Elm has designs on adding change room facilities for female referees.
“As a police officer, I know firsthand the positive role sports can play in the lives of youth in our community,” said Ian McDonell after nominating Twin Elm for the Kraft Heinz Project Play. “It’s my goal to ensure all the incredible opportunities rugby provided me are available to my three daughters and kids across Canada for generations to come.”
“We are proud to partner with Kraft Heinz to entice and excite our communities to provide opportunities for all to play in accessible, world class facilities,” beamed Lee Powell, president of Twin Elm Rugby Park. “The effects of climate change are causing damage to the park. With the support of the Kraft Heinz Project Play, we have the hope to not only reverse the damage — but enhance the glory days of Twin Elm and open our doors to all.”
The facility hosts Rugby Canada’s men’s and women’s national teams in international competitions, as well as Canadian, provincial, post-secondary and local championships. The fields welcome ultimate frisbee, touch football, Gaelic football, hurling, lacrosse, soccer and even national German Shepherd competitions.
One recent highlight saw Twin Elm host the Mixed Abilities Rugby Program, providing an opportunity for people living with disabilities to participate in sport.
“Rugby’s core values have enabled us to create a safe place for everyone of all abilities to play rugby,” said LeeAnn Napiorkowski, founder of Mixed Ability Rugby. “We look forward to having an accessible clubhouse in the nation’s capital, where everyone will experience a wonderful environment inclusive of all athletes and their families.”
“Twin Elm has played a major role in my rugby life, from my local club days to my Rugby Canada days when we were fortunate to be able to host national teams from around the world,” recalls Al Charron, former Captain of Rugby Canada’s men’s national team and member of the World Rugby Hall of Fame. “Twin Elm is a real treasure, and with a boost to its infrastructure we can create a jewel of a sports facility that visiting teams will be impressed with, and a sports home residents will be proud of, and everyone will enjoy using for years to come.”
The grand prize winner will be announced at the end of October on TSN and RDS.