The stadium where Kawhi Leonard shot his chilling buzzer-beater last May has an entirely new purpose: feeding Toronto. The owner of Scotiabank Arena and its partners are having up to 10,000 meals prepared daily to feed front-line health workers and the needy at shelters and agencies, the Toronto Star reports. The project began at 2,800 meals a day and built from there: "We're learning as we go," says Dan Morrow, a top official at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. "We learned that cooking 5,000 pounds of pasta takes a long time." Normally home to the Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs, the arena is now buzzing with nearly 20 chefs and 50 others, who turned out 17,000 liters of chili in a day this week to help people during the coronavirus pandemic. Their goal: 50,000 meals a day.
And Toronto isn't alone in repurposing its stadium: The New York Post reported earlier this month that part of Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, NY, was being turned into a temporary hospital, while Reuters reported that Brazil's most famous stadium, the Maracana in Rio, was becoming a field hospital. Time reported on similar ventures at Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia, FedEx Field near Washington, DC, and the Miami Dolphins' Hard Rock Stadium. "There's just a huge gain in practicality in using these facilities," says Lee Kaplan, who heads a sports medicine institute at the University of Miami Health System. "They provide lodging, electricity, air conditioning—all the things you need." (Read more coronavirus stories.)