On Oct. 20, the Toronto Argonauts – with three-time world boxing champion Muhammad Ali watching as guest of honour – defeated the Ottawa Renegades 29-12 before a cheering crowd of 25,000 sports fans, academics and students at Toronto’s SkyDome. The game was part of a fundraiser to support research into Parkinson’s disease at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases and through Parkinson Society Canada.
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the early 1980s, Ali has worked to raise awareness of the progressive neurological disease, which affects nearly 100,000 Canadians. Boxers Lennox Lewis and George Chuvalo, Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin, musician Tom Cochrane and others joined the all-star, half-time tribute to Ali. Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and former U.S. president Bill Clinton sent videotaped addresses. About 250 U of T student volunteers assisted at the event.