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If you find yourself wandering through a certain corner of First Canadian Place, you’re likely to come across the Adelaide Club. Though the eye is most readily drawn to the countless shades and shapes of its extensive collection of paintings, the club’s offerings also include compositions of a very different kind. Some may be annoyed, or even startled by the booming impacts, or the squeak that accompanies each quick stride, however, for others, this impromptu melody is music to the ears. This is perhaps most true of Shahier Razik, who, as the most celebrated contributor to Toronto’s squash-playing community, is responsible for making more than his fair share of the racket.
But while Shahier may have gained success in Toronto, his career started half a world away. His rise to prominence in the sport actually began more than twenty years ago, at the Gezira Club in Cairo. A few years later, at age 12, he made his way to Toronto, and began the process of getting accustomed to the Canadian way of life; a task he says was not nearly as daunting as one might expect. Six short years later, he had begun his professional career, one that would later establish him as Canada`s highest ranked squash player.
Though he seems to have been destined for greatness from the start, the two-time Canadian national champion maintains that the city that has become his home has always played an important role in the development of his career. “I’ve been to facilities all over the world, but I’m always waiting to get back here,” he says, “They’re the best facilities in the world.” He speaks, of course, of his sponsor the Adelaide Club, as well as the Cambridge Club, two premier health and recreation clubs nestled not-so-quietly in Toronto’s downtown core. While he says he makes his way back and forth between the two clubs, the Adelaide Club has truly become his home away from home. “I’m most comfortable here,” he says, explaining that the club has been providing him with equipment and training facilities over the course of the past 7 or 8 years, a service for which he says he is very grateful.
Shahier goes on to explain that these facilities form a big part of his life outside of sports as well. “It’s not just for training,” he explains, “I have a lot of friends at the club, it’s part of what I do. After training I can always go hang out there.” Shahier’s experience with the club seems to echo the discovery many Torontonians have made in recent years, whether above or below the city streets. It echoes right alongside the boom of that perfect shot hitting the wall, the shriek of that last desperate step across the hardwood, and the cheers that have been rising in steady crescendo over the course of his career. “It just all comes together,” he says. I think I can speak for many Torontonians when I say I know the feeling.