With Toronto, Ontario, Canada hosting the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games, one of their aquatic facilities is about to get $20 million facelift.
It was announced on Wednesday that the Etobicoke Olympium, which will be the practice facility for the swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming athletes during the games, will be getting a $20 million dollar renovation.
The Olympium, which is located 10 minutes from Toronto’s Pearson International airport, is a 14,803 square metre (159,339 square foot) multi-sport facility which includes an Olympic-sized pool, lesson/training pool, four dive towers, two springboards, gymnasium and fitness centre.
The facility was built in 1975 and hosted the first Paralympic Games in 1976.
It has also been the training pool for the Etobicoke Swim Club which has produced countless number of international swimmers including World Record Holders Allison Higson (200 breaststroke – 1988 – 2:27.27), Marcel Gery (100 butterfly (scm) – 1990 – 52.07), Kristen Topham (50 butterfly (scm) – 1992 – 27.11) and most recently Amanda Reason (50 breaststroke – 2009 – 30.23).
The team has also been lead by two legendary coaches; Deryk Snelling (1976-80) and Paul Bergen (1982-88).
The upgrades will include a state-of-the-art Myrtha Pools system and the facility’s existing dive towers will be improved 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.
Swimming Canada’s CEO Pierre Latontaine expressed his support of the facility upgrade, “Hosting events like the Pan Am Games allows Canadian communities to continue to upgrade their facilities and make a great investment in the future. It will be exciting to see these world-class upgrades benefit our world-class athletes and programs for swimmers of all ages across the Greater Toronto Area.”
Although the improvements are needed and will benefit the swimming community in the Toronto area for years to come it will displace one of Canada’s top age group team’s from its primary training facility for at least a year. The construction will begin on July 1, 2013 and is estimated to last until the summer of 2014.
On top of its storied history the Etobicoke Swim Club, under the guidance of current Head Coach Kevin Thorburn, has placed three swimmers (Alexa Komarnycky, Brittany MacLean and Amanda Reason) on the last two Canadian Olympic Teams.