OTTAWA – Swimming Canada CEO Pierre Lafontaine expressed the national governing body’s support for a $20-million upgrade to the Etobicoke Olympium announced Wednesday.
A major community aquatics centre in the city of Toronto, the Olympium will undergo a $20-million upgrade in time for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
“Hosting events like the Pan Am Games allows Canadian communities to continue to upgrade their facilities and make a great investment in the future,” Lafontaine said.
Located in Centennial Park, Etobicoke Olympium will provide much-needed training space for hundreds of athletes involved in the aquatic disciplines of swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming, ahead of competition at the Pan Am Games in July 2015.
The project is jointly funded by the Government of Canada and the City of Toronto. The facility will close for renovations on July 1, 2013, and reopen the following summer. The City of Toronto will also re-roof the Olympium during the Pan Am upgrades.
“The Etobicoke Olympium is a testament to the powerful legacy of sport facilities in the community,” said Ian Troop, Chief Executive Officer of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015).
“For almost 40 years, the Olympium has nurtured community- and competitive-level swimming and diving programs at the provincial and national level. We’re pleased the Games are providing an opportunity to breathe new life into this dynamic community facility.”
Built in 1975 ahead of the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games, the 14,803 square metre (159,339 square foot) multi-sport facility includes an Olympic-sized pool, lesson/training pool, four dive towers, two springboards, gymnasium and fitness centre. It has hosted countless provincial and national competitions in a number of sports as well as medal events during the Toronto 1976 Olympiad for the Physically Disabled, the first Paralympic Games held in Canada.
“As the Host City of the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, we’re excited to partner on the extensive upgrades to the Etobicoke Olympium,” said Mayor Rob Ford. “The improvements will bring the Etobicoke Olympium up to the latest standards and will be a lasting legacy for generations to enjoy.”
A state-of-the-art Myrtha Pools system will be installed and the facility’s existing dive towers will be upgraded to meet current Fédération International de Natation (FINA) standards.
Much of the work is mechanical and electrical in nature and includes the replacement of the pool filtration system and the current timing and scoring booth, a new fire alarm system, as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements. A brand-new, more welcoming entry filled with natural light will also be added to the building.
“Our Government is proud to support the restoration and renovation of the Etobicoke Olympium for the 2015 Pan and Parapan Am Games,” said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). “This contribution will provide the 2015 Pan Am athletes with a world-class aquatics training facility and will leave a lasting legacy for the Canadian sport system and the region for years to come.”
Ted Opitz, MP for Etobicoke Centre, added: “The Government of Canada is proud to support the upgrading of this facility, which will serve not only the athletes competing here in 2015, but the community as a whole. Through Economic Action Plan 2012, the Government of Canada is helping the Greater Toronto Area develop a reputation as an international destination for sport tourism by helping to provide funding for world-class facilities that will benefit our athletes for years to come.”
In September 2012, Infrastructure Ontario awarded the construction and financing contract for the Etobicoke Olympium to Bondfield Construction Co. Ltd. through a public tendering process. Bondfield is also responsible for the Markham Pan Am and Parapan Am Centre and the Pan Am Field Hockey Centre at the University of Toronto.
The overall project costs for this facility are anticipated to come in at $20 million, which includes $15 million to build and finance the project. It is on budget and construction will start in July 2013.
“The upgraded Etobicoke Olympium will be an outstanding facility that will benefit this community for years to come,” said the Honourable Michael Chan, Minister responsible for the Pan/Parapan American Games. “It will provide a wide range of sport and recreation programming that encourages people of all ages and abilities to embrace healthy, active living. The improvements to this sport facility will provide Etobicoke with exciting opportunities to host international aquatic events long after the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.”