Scarborough will soon be getting its new sports facility for the city’s Pan Am games in 2015. The Aquatics Centre is set to be built near the Scarborough campus of the University of Toronto starting this summer. According to Jason Fellen, director of infrastructure for the Pan Am Toronto 2015 organizing committee, groundbreaking will be in July.
“This is a very important piece of infrastructure for Scarborough and for the city. It will be one of our marquee venues,” Fellen said. “There are currently no other facilities like it in Ontario.”
Despite the name, the Aquatics Centre will have much more to offer than just a few swimming pools. Besides the two Olympic-sized swimming pools and a separate dive tank, the facility will include room for a range of dry activities.
It will be one of our marquee venues. There are currently no other facilities like it in Ontario.
— Jason Fellen
It will feature a field house the size of four full-size basketball courts used for sports such as basketball, volleyball, badminton and soccer. It will also have an indoor recreational walking and running track that will go around the field house.
It will also sport a large fitness and weight centre with equipment for weightlifting and cardio-training as well as teaching studios for aerobics, pilates or yoga. The feature list is rounded out by a number of multipurpose rooms that could be used for meetings by the university or the city.
One key feature Fellen is proud of is the ability to move the floor of one of the 52-metre swimming lanes. A mechanical system will allow the floor to be lowered or raised depending on the age or skill level of the swimmers.
“Apart from a U of T facility in Missisauga, I don’t know of any other in the GTA that has that feature,” Fellen said. “This feature shows that the facility is not just for high level athletes, but for those learning to swim or seniors with mobility issues as well.”
However, since the facility is being built for world-class competition like the Pan Am games, the Aquatics Centre will also be looking out for their needs. Once built, the Scarborough facility will be home to the Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario, which is a centre for high-performance athletes and recovering athletes.
“There is a real shortage of good training facilities for our high-performance athletes like those competing in London this year,” Fellen said. “This facility will really attract them and draw from Scarborough and other regions as well.”
In 2015, Scarborough’s Aquatics Centre will host many major disciplines like swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, fencing and the modern pentathlon as well as events for the Para Pan games.
Construction is on schedule at the moment and is set to be completed in the summer of 2014. The facility will be open to the public straight away as a test for the Pan Am games.
After the games, the facility, which is co-owned by the city and the university, will be jointly operated by both of them.
“The Aquatics Centre will definitely have a very positive impact on the area,” said real estate agent Anne Zid who specializes in the Scarborough market. “I am sure that Scarborough would embrace the facility and use it to capacity. It would be an attraction.”