A look at the City of Coventry for Toronto Fans!
5 things Torontonians need to know about Coventry
1. Where is Coventry?
Toronto Wolfpack will not be playing a team from Coventry Ontario, but a team from almost the very centre of England. This Coventry is very close to Birmingham, less than a hundred miles from London and is the 9th largest city in England with a population of around 350,000. It is also historically in the County of Warwickshire, where two of the country’s greatest tourist attractions are to be found; Stratford on Avon, home of Shakespeare and the magnificent Warwick Castle.
There is another state connection as it is twinned with Windsor Ontario,hence the naming of Coventry Gardens.
2. What’s Coventry like?
Coventry is an old City, and is home of the legendary Lady Godiva, who rode around the streets naked while riding a horse.
While dating back to the middle ages, it really grew with the industrial revolution as a manufacturing centre, and became home to large factories making guns, cars and other metal products.
Such was the importance of the city that it was bombed heavily during World War 2, and it's beautiful cathedral almost totally destroyed.
Since then it became a centre of 1960s rebuilding, and some of the architecture is not to everyone’s taste, but its modern cathedral is a great attraction as are its two Universities.
3. The centre of the UK Car Industry
Everyone who visits Britain will know what a London Taxi looks like, but they might not know they are all made in Coventry. Jaguar is another famous maker of cars, which with its sister brand Land Rover is also headquartered here.
And James Bond’s favourite car, the Aston Martin is also made just a few miles away.
With Globalisation, some factories have shut, but there is now a thriving network of cutting edge engineering in the city developing the cars of the future.
4. Music and Culture
Liverpool has the Beatles, Manchester has its own sound, and so too does Coventry. It is the home of Ska or 2-tone music which is a fusion of Black and White music which reflects the city’s multicultural make-up. Bands like the Specials, the Beat, the Selector and others.
Pete Waterman, whose record label introduced Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Bananarama and Steps to the world is a Coventry man.
And theres a flourishing arts, theatre and entertainment scene, so much so that Coventry is shortlisted to become Britain’s next official City of Culture.
5. Rugby is never far away.
In fact it is just 15 miles away. Back in 1823, a certain William Webb Ellis was playing in a soccer game at Rugby school, another of Warwickshire’s towns. He picked up the ball and started running with it, and a new game was invented, and was named after the town where it was first played.
Nowadays Coventry has several Rugby teams, the others play Union a different version of the game, but the Bears play Rugby League, which is most popular in the North of England, Australia, France, Lebanon, Serbia and many islands in the Pacific.
With its proximity to Rugby, and the added involvement of many schools, its two universities and a host of small clubs and community programmes, Coventry is designated as a City of Rugby.
6. Canadian Connections
Coventry people like sport, and they obviously have a soccer team, but there is also a flourishing Ice Hockey team, Coventry Blaze who play at the top level of the game in the UK. There have been may Canadians who have come over here to play their game and to help train and develop English players.
And that isn’t the first wave of Canadians coming over. During World War 2, 403 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force, with its Curtiss Hawks, and then Spitfires, was based at Baginton, which is now Coventry Airport.
Stay in touch with us for more articles this week leading up to our historic match against the Toronto Wolfpack on Saturday 3rd June at Lamport stadium, Toronto.