Toronto Says It Has What It Takes to Host the Ethiopian Soccer Tournament

Ethiopian community leaders in Toronto say after 10 years of waiting, it is time for Canada to host the annual Ethio Soccer Tournament ------ -- (Photograph by Yohannes Ayalew)

Tadias Magazine
By Yeamrot Taddese

Published: Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Toronto (TADIAS) – Toronto is a member of the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA), but most Ethiopian Torontonians have a fading recollection of the last time their city hosted the soccer tournament. Many others had not yet arrived here when the games came to Toronto in 1992 and later in 2000.

The Ethiopian community, in one of biggest and most diverse cities in North America, says it has what it takes to accommodate the games for the first time in a decade.

“The community has grown ten folds since the last time tournament was hosted here,” said Dr. Retta Alemayehu, the Director of the Ethiopian Association in the GTA during a meeting with ESFNA President Demmissie Mekonnen. “The preparation for the games will reflect this change.”

Samuel Getachew, the communications director of Toronto’s Ethiopian soccer team, Ethio Star, says the games are long overdue. “If we call this organization a North American sports federation, different cities should get an opportunity to host the tournament instead of repeating venues,” he said. He added that the local government and Tourism Toronto have agreed to make financial contribution to host the tournament.

Getachew is running for Toronto City Council representing ward 43. One of the goals on his platform is to officially label a section of the famous Danforth Avenue between Greenwood and Monarch Park as “Little Ethiopia” on the city map. The area is alive with several Ethiopian restaurants, cafes, clubs and other businesses.

Rendezvous restaurant and bar is located in the aspiring Little Ethiopia. Its owner, Banchi Kinde, says the Ethiopian community in Toronto is more prepared than ever to host the soccer tournament. “In ten years, I have witnessed an unbelievable amount of growth in populace and businesses. We have now more than enough restaurants to accommodate everyone,” she said. Kinde also noted that economic booms in cities like Calgary will surely draw people from other parts of Canada.

The Bloor Street and Ossington Avenue area, also located near the downtown core, is known for its Ethiopian cuisine.

Tameru Tesfaye, a member of the organizing committee of Ethio Star, said if Toronto wins the bid this week, the event venue will be set up in downtown Toronto, making it convenient for guests to access attractions and Ethiopian community areas through the city transit system.

Toronto annually attracts visitors to thrill-evoking events such as the Luminato arts festival and Caribana. In March 2010, the Ethiopian Students Association International (ESAi) chose Toronto to host its 10th annual summit and anniversary celebration. Young professionals from several parts of the U.S, Canada and even Ethiopia flocked to Toronto for the ESAi’s first ever summit outside the United States. Ellal Aklilu was one of the attendees of the event from Pennsylvania. After his first visit to Canada’s biggest city, Aklilu says he would come back any day. “I was awed to see such a well-established Ethiopian community in Toronto. The city’s atmosphere was very diverse and welcoming,” he said.

In no other festivity do local Ethiopians’ spirit, talent and culinary skills shine as they do on the annual day-long Ethiopian New Year’s celebration. The event, which is also dubbed “Ethiopian Day,” is the most anticipated gathering in the community that features live music, rising Ethiopian entrepreneurs, social justice advocates and lots of injera. With the kind of fervor Toronto has for hosting the next soccer tournament, the New Year’s extravaganza just might happen twice next year.

About the Author:
Yeamrot Taddese is a journalism student at the University of Toronto, Canada. She is also a contributing reporter for Tadias Magazine.

Related News:
Big dreams for ‘Little Ethiopia’ dashed (The Globe and Mail)
Ethiopian Soccer Tournament 2010 Opens in San Jose (Tadias)
Ethiopians gather in San Jose for soccer, festival and food (San Jose Mercury News)
Ethiopian American organizations assist ESFNA earn recognition in California (
Team Abay, Built New York Tough! (
ArifQuas – iPhone Application For The 2010 Ethiopian Soccer Tournament (Tadias)
Photos from Chicago: Ethiopian Soccer Tournament 2009 (Tadias)

37 Responses to “Toronto Says It Has What It Takes to Host the Ethiopian Soccer Tournament”

  1. 1 Samuel Getachew Jun 29th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    There is not a bigger event for Ethiopians that brings us together as ONE community than the spirit of friendship in soccer. Most of us have a very good memory of the North American Soccer experience in Toronto in 2000. We had friends visiting us from as far away as from Ethiopia, Europe and of course the USA. If this great event is to grow and prosper, we can no longer afford to move it around the US exclusively but also have the respect of the Canadian team and fans and bring it to its member city in Toronto. It has been a long 11 year wait.

    I, for one, would like to welcome it as both a Torontonian and (hopefully) a City Councillor in 2011. There is much Toronto has to offer to the magic of Ethiopian Soccer.


  2. 2 Ethio-Torontonian Jun 29th, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I echo Samuel Getachew, it is really high time that the games come to Canada. Toronto is a magical city and the Ethiopian community here has grown tremendously in the last decade. Not to mention the new businesses that have opened and prospered in the last ten years. Local financial sponsors could be abundantly found as well, while retaining the international sponsors such as Wetern Union, Sheraton Addis and Ethiopian Airlines, etc. In addition with the assistance of people like city council candidate Sam Getachew, the community can also enlist the cooperation of local municipality offices. Plus, its cheaper to travel to Toronto from the East Coast than it is to most U.S. cities. There are also many options of getting here, including commercial flights, trains, and buses. After all, we are in North America and it is only fair that we are given the opportunity to host our friends and family from the Ethiopian Diaspora and Ethiopia!

    Thank you Yeamrot Taddese and Tadias Magazine for this report!


  3. 3 Ewnetu Jun 29th, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Thank you Yamrot, Samuel and Ethio-Torontonian for your support. I also would like to add my support to this cause as it’s long overdue for a City like Toronto to host the annual tournament.

  4. 4 Teddy Dallas Jun 29th, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Tornto is a member of the federation in good standing. Yes, they should be given a chance to host!!! Why not?

  5. 5 Dawit Teshome Jun 30th, 2010 at 9:52 am

    What is the total population of Ethiopians in Canada? And percentage living in Toronto?

  6. 6 Samuel Getahew Jun 30th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Dawit – According to the Ethiopian Association here, it is 50,000. Then, there are cities like Ottawa, Hamilton, London, Windsor with large Ethiopian population that are within 4 hours drive from Toronto.

  7. 7 Mulu (Toronto) Jun 30th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    There are in the upwards of over 50,000 Ethiopians in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). I am not sure what percentage that would constitute from the over all Ethiopian-Canadian population. However, Toronto can very easily accommodate the tournament. In fact, the city will be an EXCELLENT CHOICE AND GREAT VENUE!!

  8. 8 Dereje Gashu Jul 1st, 2010 at 2:27 am

    It would be a great apportunity for me to visit Toronto. I look forward to it. And Samuel, I wish you all the best in your run for the Toronto City Council representing ward 43. It is good to see Ethiopians running for office!

    Thank you
    from US, VA

  9. 9 Naser Kaid Jul 1st, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Toronto is a great multicultural City. We look forward to hosting the event.

  10. 10 daniel Jul 2nd, 2010 at 5:46 am

    Yes, I vote for Toronto. Toronto is a wonderful city.

  11. 11 Dawit Teshome Jul 2nd, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    It’s good to hear that there are several Ethiopians living in Toronto and in Canada in general. {if they were a member of ESFNA} Montreal and Vancouver could also be viable cities to host {future} tournaments. I give my vote.

  12. 12 Dubale Chanyalew Jul 3rd, 2010 at 3:05 am

    When is the host going to be decided for 2011?

  13. 13 Samuel Getachew Jul 3rd, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Dubale – it will be decided tomorrow (July 4th)

  14. 14 Ye Oak Town Lij Jul 3rd, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Good luck Toronto! Yiqinachu!!

  15. 15 Samuel Getachew Jul 4th, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    According to the President of the Ethiopian North American Soccer Federation – “the decision to host the next Ethiopian Soccer meet has been postponed” – we are very hopeful it will go our way. Toronto!

  16. 16 Baby Jul 5th, 2010 at 4:04 am

    Great reporting. So refreshing to see our community maturing in many ways! Good luck Canada!

  17. 17 Marmalet Jul 5th, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Danforth Avenue in Toronto (future Little Ethiopia) is one of the best Abesha hangouts outside of Africa. It compares to D.C., L.A., San Jose, Oakland, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, etc…

  18. 18 Samuel Getachew Jul 6th, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Marmalet – thank you and we hope the Danforth / Greenwood area will be Little Ethiopia sooner rather than later!

  19. 19 Abby Jul 6th, 2010 at 10:00 am

    When will it be announced?

    Team T.O good luck!

  20. 20 Freedom Jul 6th, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Oh please let it be TORONTO!

  21. 21 Samuel Getachew Jul 6th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Abby – they would not give us a date – I wish they do soon since we want to get it moving

    Freedom – thank you and we all hope so!

  22. 22 Ye Oak Town Lij Jul 6th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    That’s actually good news for Toronto. Let the board members take their time to make the correct decision. The more they analyze the situation, Canada becomes more reasonable choice given Toronto’s long history as an enthusiastic member of ESFNA (which is also pleasantly displayed here in their great anticipation to become the next host) and the fact the the city has been denied that chance for over a decade makes it highly competitive. Unless, of course, the unfortunate and complex web of personal relationships (which is highly common in our small community) gets in the way of reason, again. But then, “Democracy is Fair Play.”

  23. 23 Abraham Kassa Jul 12th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    I love Toronto.

  24. 24 100% (Nut Job) ETHIOPIAN TROOPER Jul 20th, 2010 at 3:41 am

    {I don’t think Toronto will get it}

    Comment interpreted and edited by Intern Moderator

  25. 25 Ashenfi tedla Jul 20th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    How about having it at addis ababa stadium?

  26. 26 Ye Oak Town Lij Jul 20th, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    They have not made the decision yet? You know what? ESFNA is deliberately slowing the process, delaying and stalling. Ayeee Yeabesha Neger. They are about to back-stab Toronto once again and give to Atlanta. Read my lips.

  27. 27 Samuel Getachew Jul 21st, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    We are still awaiting the announcement. Like many friends of ESFNA – we were hopping the announcement was going to be on July 4th as has been the tradition for the longest time. I am still hopeful it will be Toronto and that the decision will be made sooner rather than later. Toronto has not hosted the event since 2000 and Atlanta has done so in the last five years.

  28. 28 Maru Jul 21st, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Hang in there Toronto. The heat isn’t over yet. Keep hope alive!

  29. 29 Tafari from Washington Jul 29th, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Thank you for a great article. I too am excited about the prospect of seeing the tournament held in Toronto. Just to make a few observations to keep things real……

    1) In my 15 years of following ESFNA, I have never seen them make a venue decision before January of the year of the event. There is a process that is used to qualify the hosting city based on past expereince and future needs.

    2) In all fairness, and just like the Olympics and World Cup, both cities would have to lobby and the ESFNA executive committee would have to make a decision considering various conditions, including the income they expect to cover past debts and future concerns. Although many are quick to criticize the federation, they are doing a tremendous service for our community (and beleive me I’m one of the those in their side who speaks my mind)…

    We hope that it is in Toronto, but will welcome Atlanta as well. Show your support and lobby for your city!

  30. 30 Samuel Getachew Aug 3rd, 2010 at 6:45 am

    We are still waiting and crossing our fingers.

  31. 31 Samuel Getachew Sep 21st, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Atlanta is awarded the 2011 Ethiopian Soccer Tournment for the second time in less than seven years while Toronto is once again denied to host for the 12th year in a raw!

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