UrbanToronto: Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre Now Open for Business
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UrbanToronto: Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre Now Open for Business

The facility represents the largest single investment in Canadian amateur sport history—and it's got plenty of fancy features.

The development, design, and history of building projects, brought to you by UrbanToronto.ca.

The Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre  Photo by Stephanie Calvet

The Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

The Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC), located at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus, began operating this week. Officially named the “CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Aquatics Centre and Field House,” the venue is the largest sport new-build for the 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games set to take place in July.

Co-owned by the university and the City of Toronto, the $205-million centre is the sole aquatics facility in the region that meets the latest international competition standards and represents the largest single investment in Canadian amateur sport history. It will play host to the games’ swimming, diving, fencing, modern pentathlon, sitting volleyball, and roller sports events.

Competition pool at the Aquatics Centre and Field House  Photo by Stephanie Calvet

Competition pool at the Aquatics Centre and Field House.

The Organizing Committee (TO2015) and its partners set out to create an inspirational beacon for health and sport. Designed by NORR Architects of Toronto, the LEED Gold building provides “world-class” training facilities and a venue for the hosting of national and international competitions. It is also home to the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, which provides science and sport performance services to high-performance athletes and their coaches.

But once the games have concluded, the facility will become joint campus-community recreation space for university students and Scarborough residents to use and enjoy, and a place for youth to train, play, gather, and compete. “From our perspective as a university, we believe we can do a lot with community engagement. Many areas around here were former priority neighbourhoods with no facilities. The hope is that this centre attracts people, that they feel connected to a university, and that it creates opportunities for them to set goals they might not otherwise have had,” says Andrew Arifuzzaman, U of T Scarborough chief administrative officer.

Training pool at the Aquatics Centre and Field House with its movable floor  Photo by Stephanie Calvet

Training pool at the Aquatics Centre and Field House with its movable floor.

The Aquatics Centre includes two internationally sanctioned, 50-metre, 10-lane swimming pools; a warm-up pool; a 5-metre deep diving tank with 3-, 5-, 7.5- and 10-metre platforms; and dryland training facilities with dive pits and trampolines. It doubles the number of Olympic-sized pools in the Greater Toronto Area, which until recently stood at two. (By contrast, Sydney, Austraila, a smaller city than Toronto, has 42). Adjusting the mobile bulkheads increases the versatility of the practice and competition pools, allowing them to be divided and programmed in multiple ways. In both, the acoustical hanging baffles on the ceiling were arranged such that the gaps between the panels align directly above the swim lines below, a small detail that provides a valuable reference point to help backstroke swimmers stay on course. The training pool includes a 25m2 movable floor area to provide a variety of shallow-water fitness activities and facilitate access for individuals with disabilities.

Head over to UrbanToronto.ca to learn more about the project.

Photos by Stephanie Calvet.

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