Toronto Raptors drop into Leslieville's Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre

Photo:  NBA Cares

Photo: NBA Cares

Raptors fever is running at an all-time high across the city with fans clamoring  to watch games, spot players and get in on the excitement of a championship. That’s why it’s almost unthinkable that sightings of the team’s biggest stars would happen in Leslieville of all places — especially after the historic first-game win of the NBA Finals.

But that’s exactly what happened today.

The Raptors along with NBA Cares, the league's social responsibility initiative, dedicated a newly created Learn & Play Centre at the Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre — a legacy for kids and families in the east end of the city.

Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Danny Green, along with GM Masai Ujiri, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and others, rolled up with an entourage on Queen East and joined youth from the community for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The upgraded centre is intended to be a space for sportsmanship, respect, teamwork and more. The facility has been given a decor refresh and has been appointed with new equipment, furnishings and tools for learning.

Spaces inside the centre, including a multi-purpose room, a recreation room, a preschool room and the gym, were renovated over the past week. Visitors will be able to sit down at new computers and also sharpen their basketball skills, play ping pong and video games. The outdoor basketball court was given fresh paint, new baskets and a We The North makeover.