Argos to move practice facility at former high school

New Toronto Argonauts head coach Marc Trestman, left, and new general manager Jim Popp. (Frank Gunn/CP)

TORONTO — The Toronto Argonauts will adopt a new practice facility for the remainder of the 2017 season.

When the CFL team reconvenes Sunday, it will be at the former Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School. And that will be the Argos’ home away from home for the rest of the season after securing a short-term lease with the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

Toronto dropped a 41-24 home loss to the Calgary Stampeders on Thursday night and its players are off until Sunday. The Argos will continue to play their home games at BMO Field.

The high school, where late Toronto Mayor Rob Ford coached football from 2002 until 2013, closed its doors June 30 because of low enrolment.

The Argos were reportedly one of many parties to express an interest to Toronto Catholic District School Board about the school.

The Argonauts had been working out at York University since the start of rookie camp in late May. But the school’s football team now needs its field to begin preparations for the 2017 season.

The CFL club returned to York this year after holding its 2016 training camp at the University of Guelph.

Toronto had called Downsview Park home since 2014 after securing a partnership with Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment to practise at a facility located next to Toronto FC’s training ground.

Toronto FC is owned by MLSE, whose chairman, Larry Tanenbaum, also owns the Argos with Bell. They purchased the CFL franchise from Hamilton businessman David Braley in 2015.

But a common complaint at Downsview Park was the different venues used by the football club were not centrally located. The Argos feel Don Bosco holds the potential to achieve that and are continuing talks on a potential long-term lease agreement there past 2017.

There’s a grass football field currently at Don Bosco but it’s not suitable to practise on, meaning the Argos will bus to different fields for their workouts for the remainder of this season.

If the CFL club can secure a long-term lease at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, then it’s expected it would look at investing in future renovations, including the possible construction of a new turf field.