Before prep schools, 'We the North' and Drake, Eastern Commerce basketball was the hottest ticket in the city. Eastern played in the Toronto city finals 36 of the last 41 years and won 25 senior titles, the most in Toronto’s history. The dynasty has won an unprecedented eight provincial boys titles and two Girls OFSAA gold medals, the pinnacle of high school basketball in Ontario.
Eastern built a program that was successful in sending many of their students to university on basketball scholarships, including over 50 who went on to play NCAA Division I basketball, the most in Canadian history.
Twenty years later, only 62 students attend the school while nine play on the basketball team. The film, Eastern, follows the legendary program in their final season while also asking the socioeconomic questions surrounding the school's closure. Eastern tells the story of four young men and the past, present and end of Canada's most historic basketball program.
The documentary debut of director, Luke Galati made its premiere in front of a sold-out crowd at the Toronto Short Film Festival in March 2016. Eastern took home the award for Best Short Documentary at the festival. Eastern was then screened at the Royal Cinema in Little Italy. The endeavour was funded by Ryerson University with all of the profits being raised for the charity, Peoples Basketball. Eastern was then selected to be a part of the Canadian Sport Film Festival in May, 2016 in Toronto at the prestigious TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre.
Join us at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday October 27th for a screening of Eastern in the historic Distillery District at The Sport Gallery. This event aims to bring Toronto's basketball community and beyond together as we celebrate a pivotal piece of Toronto's basketball history.
All of the funds from the screening will be donated to the Shae Frattura Memorial Scholarship at Ryerson University.