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Ontario Construction News staff writer
Construction of the main facility for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games got a $3 million boost recently from the Walker family and Walker Industries.
“This particular facility will have very long-term impacts in the Niagara Region for a number of really critical reasons,” Walker President and CEO Geordie Walker said.
“Sports and recreation play a critical role in the physical and mental well-being of Canadians and is woven into the very fabric of every community in Canada,” Walker said. “Therefore, we are very proud to support this unique facility and the long-term legacy it will create in Niagara,” said Walker.
In recognition of the donation gifted on behalf of the Walker family, the 210,000 square foot sport-and-recreation complex at CGP has been named the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre. Additionally, the entry plaza found right outside the facility will be known as the Walker Founders Plaza.
The Walker Sports and Abilities Centre at CGP is a state-of-the-art facility designed to be accessible for everyone, no matter their ability.
“Through this facility, all Niagara residents will have access to world-class sports and para-sports facilities which will be used for generations to come,” said Regional Chair Bradley. The inside of this complex will consist of a sport performance centre, a health & well-being centre, a twin-pad arena, a 200-metre indoor track, sport offices, and a multipurpose fieldhouse that will feature a parasport gymnasium and a combative sport centre.
Outside there will be six competition beach volleyball courts, a cycling and storage pavilion, and a 400-metre track-and-field facility. Five of Niagara 2022’s sports (athletics, box lacrosse, wrestling, beach volleyball, and indoor volleyball) will be held at CGP, including the first women’s lacrosse competition to ever be held at a Canada Games.
CGP, situated on the south end of Brock University’s campus, is one of the key legacy projects being built as a result of Niagara hosting the 2022 Canada Games.
It’s been designed and completed with environmental sustainability in mind, as the structure is set to be 35 per cent more efficient and generate 45 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than a standard Canadian building. Ultimately, CGP is expected to be substantially completed this fall, while construction activities are scheduled to conclude by the end of January 2022.
“Facilities like this create opportunity. They create legacy for communities and they truly do change lives for the better,” said Adam van Koeverden, a four-time Olympic medallist who competed at the 1997 Canada Summer Games in Brandon, Man.
“I kind of thought about how Brandon has benefitted from the infrastructure that was built there. So, as we look forward to next year’s flagship, Canada’s flagship sporting event in the Canada Games coming here to this region, I think we can all agree it’s going to have long lasting impacts.”
The Walker family are fifth generation owners of Walker Industries, a 134-year-old Niagara institution. The family has a rich history of philanthropy and generous giving, including a $5-million donation for the Walker Family Cancer Centre at the St. Catharines hospital, a $1.5-million gift to Brock University and $1-million towards the Walker Family YMCA in St. Catharines.
“The impact of hosting the 2022 Canada Summer Games will not end next summer, but will continue moving forward because of legacy facilities like the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre and the Walker Founders Plaza,” said Thorold Mayor Ugulini.
Held every two years, alternating between winter and summer, the Canada Games are the country’s marquee event for amateur sport representing the highest level of national competition for thousands of up-and-coming Canadian athletes. More than 5,000 participants and close to 4,500 volunteers are expected to take part in Canada’s largest multi-sport event in the Niagara Region from Aug. 6-21, 2022.