|Mattamy Athletic Centre illuminated on Monday|
TORONTO- Ryerson University illuminated the ice at the Mattamy Athletic Centre at The Gardens for the first time today. The university was joined by many of the project partners including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman of Loblaw Companies Limited, and naming donor Peter Gilgan, founder and CEO of Mattamy Homes, in a ceremony that celebrated and recognized the support of the university's students, partners, sponsors and funders.
"Today celebrates a tremendous partnership and shared vision which has resulted in the spectacular rebirth of a building that will be a centre for excellence and a lively community hub in the heart of our city," says Ryerson President Sheldon Levy. "It is with great pride that all five partners; Ryerson University, our students, Loblaw Companies Limited, the Canadian government and entrepreneur Peter Gilgan, share a dream-realized as we light the rink for the first time today."
The Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) offers a state of the art athletic and recreation centre for Ryerson students, varsity athletes and the local community while commemorating the building's rich history.
"This building not only has a past, it also has a future," says Adam Kahan, Vice President, University Advancement. "While we are honoured to house our athletics programs and teams under the hallowed dome of a great Canadian building, we look forward to generations of students and community members creating their own history within these walls."
The project involved the revitalization and conversion of part of Maple Leaf Gardens to a new, multi-functional athletic and recreational centre located on the upper floors. The project reclaimed 220,000 square feet (approximately 20,000 square metres) of space, more than doubling the amount of athletic and recreational facilities on Ryerson's campus. The new facility is primarily for Ryerson students but will also be accessible to the community.
"Our new facility has made a significant difference in the quality of student athlete that we have been able to recruit and also in the diversity of programs that we are able to offer to our recreational students," says Athletics Director Ivan Joseph. "We went from being the university with the smallest amount of space for athletics and recreation - where our teams were driving 45 minutes across campus to a city arena - to having a home in one of the largest and most iconic university arenas in Canada."
The MAC is just one of many capital projects currently underway on Ryerson's campus.
"The Mattamy Athletic Centre is a key part of the continued rejuvenation and modernization of our campus," says Julia Hanigsberg, Vice President, Administration and Finance. "The MAC will be of great benefit not only to our students but to the larger downtown community as well."
"From the moment we purchased this site, we understood that anything we built here would need to recognize and celebrate an extraordinary history that had connected with the very hearts of Canadians" said Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman of Loblaw Companies Limited. "What better way to demonstrate our commitment to the community than to partner with Ryerson University, and positively impact an institution that so successfully represents the Toronto of the future."
"I am thrilled to be able to play a part in creating a new chapter for this amazing, historic building," said Peter Gilgan, founder and CEO of Mattamy Homes. "It's exciting to know the building will play a role in the health and well-being of so many people by making great facilities more accessible to Ryerson students and the community."
The official opening of the Mattamy Athletic Centre will take place September 6-9. The centre will become the new home to the Ryerson Rams and features a multi-purpose court for basketball and volleyball with retractable seating for over 1,000; a fitness centre; studios; high-performance gym and a full sized ice rink with seating for 2,620.
"The Mattamy Athletic Centre is the dawn of a new era for athletics at Ryerson," says Carli Yim, Ryerson student and women's basketball player. "I, along with my fellow students, look forward to using the new facility and cheering on our Ryerson Rams as they compete; Ryerson Athletics finally has a home."
The Mattamy Athletic Centre was made possible by a contribution of up to $20 million from the Government of Canada through Canada's Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, $20 million from Ryerson University through student fees, $15 million from Peter Gilgan the founder and CEO of Mattamy Homes, and $20 million to be raised by Ryerson and Loblaw Companies Limited through a joint fundraising campaign including a $5 million contribution from Loblaw.
Source: Ryerson University
Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 28,000 students, including 2,300 master's and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and 140,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past five years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada's leading provider of university- based adult education. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca