Breaking Boundaries A thesis Project about the growth of canadian youth basketball : Education, Mental Health and Sports Relations | Tara Vanessa Collins

Toronto is becoming the largest hub of the upbringing of stars in Canadian basketball
As years progress, new rep teams are introduced, prep schools are being created and the business of basketball is growing faster than ever before.

Researcher Bio

Hi, My name is Tara Collins, I am a fourth year student majoring in Professional Communications and minoring in Public Relations. I am interested in pursuing a career in sport media and marketing. My love for basketball has stemmed from when I was a child, being a huge fan of the Toronto Raptors as well as playing basketball in a competitive setting for my whole school career. I am very interested in the future of Canadian basketball and what it holds for Canadian youth moving forward.

Lightening Talk

Research Problem

Toronto is one of the biggest growing urban spaces and has a rising multicultural atmosphere. People from all walks of life are attracted to Toronto due to the many different activities we have to offer as well as the cultural aspect of the city. Toronto has approximately more than 2.8 million people (City of Toronto, 2019) all who bring different aspects to the growing culture and diversity of the city.

According to Raising the Village around 33% of these 2.8 million in Toronto are children. around 34% of the child population are between 10 to 14 years old (Raising the Village, 2018).

As the population of youth continues to grow, the creation of more basketball associations, camps and sport involvement grows as well. Canadian basketball has been one of the quickest growing markets and is starting to leave an international impact in the basketball world.

More and more basketball players are coming out of Canada and playing in the NCAA, NBA and Euro leagues.

Due to the newer come up and growth of Canadian basketball, the research surrounding it is slim. I wanted to understand more of the technical side of the growth in this market and where the gaps are. The more research that is done surrounding exposure, as well as demographics and health (mental and physical), it helps create a deeper understanding on how Canada can continue to produce high performance athletes.


Some research questions that I asked in my ongoing research included : How is the youth sport movement helping Canadian youth overall (creating exposure for athletes, balancing out academics and athletics, helping athletes mentally and physically)? Do you think in the next 10 years we will see a jump of Canadians in pro leagues such as the NBA or EuroLeague? What else can Toronto do in order to better their programs in order to prepare kids to play in higher level playing capacities?


The method of data collection that I used primarily was qualitative data collection. The good thing about qualitative data is that I can take small samples in natural settings and I can explore the diverse culture of basketball in Toronto through these settings. Qualitative data takes a lot more exploratory research which means I will have to research in the field and the environments where basketball is played, learned about and coached. I used survey research, focus groups, polls and surveying the field.

Torontonian youth are receiving more access to basketball programs which creates a larger market for the success of Canadian youth playing in higher level settings

Survey Results


The purpose of my research was to examine the root of the culture of basketball in Toronto and how it is affecting youth players whether that be positive or negative. This can include aspects such as mental health, socioeconomic sectors, as well as pressures from society. The research analysis will provide an explanation of the theory that is being used and explaining factors that relates to the topic and how Canadian youth specifically Torontonian youth, are the future of potential professional basketball. Tying in the aspect of health and mental health awareness, there is a lot more research to do regarding how sport affects youth mental health in a positive or negative light. With the data collected from the interviews and the social experiment I analyzed the interactions between coaches and players as well as did an in-depth analysis of how sport has impacted youth.


Created with images by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum - "untitled image" • Berkay Gumustekin - "untitled image" • Jason Leung - "untitled image" • Alex Perez - "Never been much a sports guy, but there is always been a significant aspect of sports that relates to me as a photographer. Every athlete out there has a mission and that’s to win. An unstoppable Force, trained for years to become the best. As a photographer we all train every day. To get better at what we do. Our passion, our goal, with razor sharp vision we move forward for the win. Most importantly of all. We have all have great team members, friends and role models. People that keep us moving. Our passion keeps us reaching for the Beyond!" • Kristoffer Jensen - "untitled image" • Eduard Delputte - "untitled image"