Transforming Varsity Centre: The Goldring Centre for high performance sport

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Arial shot of Varsity Centre from the west side of Devonshire Place The parking lot (bottom right) will be the site of the new Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport


The University of Toronto has embarked on an unprecedented renewal of athletic facilities, sport science research and related academic programs. The flagship project of this renewal is Varsity Centre—a major new sports complex along Bloor Street, right in the heart of downtown Toronto on the St. George Campus. The project is designed to enhance opportunities for sport and physical activity on campus and establish the University as a national leader in high performance sport research and sports medicine. Once completed, Varsity Centre will become a fully integrated sports institute. It will offer intercollegiate and international facilities for soccer, track and field, swimming, field hockey, football, basketball and volleyball, cross-training facilities, sport science laboratories and a leading-edge sports medicine clinic. The sports medicine clinic will be linked to one of North America's strongest health sciences networks, including ten major hospitals fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. The Varsity Centre will provide outstanding opportunities for U of T students to engage in enhanced sport and physical activity as well as intramural programs, which already attract more

than 10,000 students per year. It will serve the broader community by generating new knowledge, preparing the next generation of athletes, coaches, teachers and sports scientists, engaging in community outreach and providing GTA schools and groups with access to facilities and programs. The Centre will also be a major training facility for high performance athletes, particularly Canadian summer sport athletes who are preparing for international competitions such as the upcoming 2015 Pan American Games and Para Pan Am Games in Toronto. In addition, Varsity Centre will be equipped to host major national and international competitions. The 2009 Festival of Excellence, organized and hosted by U of T at Varsity Stadium, for example, attracted high performance track athletes from around the world, including Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt. Building a strong culture for athletics in Canada requires great facilities and great athletic role models, coaches and teachers. The Varsity project will develop these assets and create unmatched opportunities for students, high performance athletes and community members to engage in sport and active healthy living.



View of the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport from Devonshire Place, facing north (Patkau Architects Inc./MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects)


The Varsity Centre is a $98 million capital project that is unfolding in four phases. The first phase—completed in 2007— featured the construction of a new 5,000-seat Varsity Stadium, a state-of-the-art artificial turf playing field, an internationallycertified track and an air-supported dome over the entire field to enable year-round use of the facility. The second phase of the project created the new Varsity Pavilion—a marquee entrance to the stadium, dome and arena. The third and ongoing phase is extensive renovations to the historic Varsity Arena. The final phase, for which the university is currently seeking funding, involves the creation of the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. This will be a multi-storey complex for research and teaching laboratories, a strength and conditioning area, a stateof-the-art sport medicine clinic and the 2,000-seat Internationally rated (FIBA, FIVA) field house for basketball, volleyball and other court sports.

With strong links to Canada’s premier health sciences network, which includes the University’s six health science faculties along with ten affiliated hospitals, the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport will be a hive of research activity, with professors and graduate students studying a diverse range of sport- and exercise-related topics. Key areas of focus will include biomechanics and motor learning, athlete nutrition, the benefits of training to individual performance, sports injury, sport and heart function, sport psychology and socio-cultural issues and attitudes related to participation in sport in urban areas. The Goldring Centre will be constructed on Devonshire Place, just south of Bloor Street, on the largest and most prominent site still available for development on the University’s downtown campus. Located across the street from the new Varsity Stadium, the Centre will be the final step in transforming the entire Varsity site into a state-of-the-art facility for students and Canada's first national centre for excellence for summer sports, pairing the best facilities with world-class coaching, sports medicine, research and training.



Interior view of the A. Gordon Stollery Atrium (Patkau Architects Inc./MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects)


The A. Gordon Stollery Atrium, named in honour of former Campaign Chair, Gordon Stollery, will be a vibrant hub of activity at the Goldring Centre, providing a warm welcome to visitors as they enter the Goldring Centre. It will be a place where people will want to stop, enjoy the spectacular views, and mingle with friends. It will be a link to the exciting internal events and the external activities of the campus and one of the liveliest sections

of the city. The atrium will not only provide incredible views of the Varsity field and stadium, it will also open into the Kimel Family Field House. Visitors will walk through the Stollery Atrium and down into their seats to watch basketball or volleyball games. About three stories high, the A. Gordon Stollery Atrium will be a place to see and be seen.




The Sport Science Laboratories will occupy an entire floor of the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. The laboratories will be a crucible for cutting-edge research in sports science, with far-reaching implications for the dissemination of knowledge in high performance sport, rehabilitation science, sports medicine, population health, physical education for children and young adults, and many other areas. The laboratories will create an exciting, interdisciplinary approach to the study of athletic performance and training. Leading researchers in motor learning, bio-engineering,

psychology, sociology, nutrition, physiology, sports medicine and biochemistry will come together to investigate athletic performance, new approaches to training, and the health of athletes. By implementing the best processes for knowledge exchange among researchers, clinicians, coaches and athletes, the sport science programs will benefit athletes who are training for intercollegiate, national, international and Olympic competitions. Advanced assessments will assist athletes as they continue to develop and hone their skills, and will provide invaluable feedback to coaches and sport governing bodies.



Strength and Condition Floor overlooking Varsity Stadium (Patkau Architects Inc./MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects)


One floor of the Goldring Centre will feature more than 12,000 square feet for comprehensive strength and cardiovascular cross-training. The strength and conditioning area will serve the training and recreational needs of students, intercollegiate athletes and high performance athletes. High performance athletes in particular will greatly benefit from this space, as it will enable them to engage in the kind of cross-training regiments that are integral to their overall development. Best practices from around the world have demonstrated that strength training should take place in the same facility as sport science and sport medicine services and sport training. The strength and conditioning area is designed with this in mind.

The space will offer a spectacular view of Varsity Stadium and beyond. The equipment will include everything from Olympic heavy-lifting platforms, elliptical training machines, stationary cycle and rowing ergometers, low impact treadmills to free weights. The space will also include a fitness exercise studio for yoga, Pilates and specialized equipment for athletes with disabilities.


View of Kimel Family Field House (Patkau Architects Inc./MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects)


Occupying the first three floors of the Goldring Centre, the Kimel Family Field House will be designed to international standards for Basketball and Volleyball competition. The facility, unique to Ontario universities, will contain one competition court, with a total of 2,000 spectator seats on all four sides and a second full-sized practice court. Other features will include a sprung floor that meets international specifications, floor mounted basketball backboards to provide a clean ceiling above the competition court, a state-of-the-art interactive scoreboard, and a climate controlled air circulation system for year-round use. The architect has also proposed an exciting concept to include floor lines that will light up from beneath the court to change the configuration, as required, for either a basketball or volleyball game.

During the academic year, the Kimel Family Field House will be used for Varsity teams and intramural competitions, as well as the general student body. In the spring and summer, the facility will be capable of hosting both able-bodied and para national and international competitions and training camps. These events will provide the University’s sports scientists with opportunities to study Canada’s high performance athletes and interact with colleagues from other universities. They will also allow Canadian coaches to observe some of the best athletes in the world and devise innovative training methods to improve the overall performance of our Canadian and University of Toronto teams.



Student receiving treatment at the Dr. David MacIntosh Sports Medicine Clinic—a renowned centre for teaching, research, treatment and prevention strategies for athletic injuries


Named in honour of renowned orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. David MacIntosh, the Sports Medicine Clinic will be an integral component of the Goldring Centre. Moving the Clinic from its current location in the Athletic Centre to the Goldring Centre will more than double the capacity and significantly improve the resources for assessment and treatment for high performance athletes, intercollegiate athletes, students and members of the community.

Occupying one floor of the Goldring building, the Clinic will be the hub for sports medicine services at the University. Clinicians from the University’s affiliated teaching hospitals will collaborate on the latest in diagnostic, treatment, rehabilitation and injury prevention programs. The Faculty’s Sport Scientists will also collaborate with colleagues in other divisions of the University and counterparts across the country on studies related to areas such as biomechanics, community health, sports medicine, cardiology and other related topics.



Award-winning lecturer and sports scientist Professor Doug Richards teaching, a leading authority in the field of sports medicine lecturing to undergraduates at the Faculty


The Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto is home to Canada’s oldest undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of physical education, kinesiology and exercise sciences. Through research and teaching, the Faculty addresses some of the most pressing issues relating to physical activity, sport and health today, particularly the complex challenges of spiraling physical inactivity and the attendant growth of non-communicable chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardio-respiratory diseases and osteoporosis. Faculty members also study factors contributing to high performance in sport, with a goal of empowering elite coaches and athletes with new knowledge for optimizing performance while minimizing the risks of injury. The Faculty has grown rapidly during the last ten years and now has 655 undergraduate students and 50 graduate students enrolled. Over the next decade, the enrolment is expected to grow by about 20 per cent, bringing the undergraduate program to 800 students. The alumni base, more than 5,000 strong, can be found in leadership positions in education, research, medicine, public policy, management, national and international NGOs and in the private sector.

In addition to educating leaders in the field, the Faculty oversees one of the largest and most successful university sports programs in North America. More than 10,000 students participate in intramural competition, making it the largest in Canada. The intercollegiate athletic program has over 900 athletes participating on 44 teams. Historically these teams have performed at a very high level. The Varsity swimming program, for example, has produced 100 all-Canadian and over 55 international swimmers for Canada. And since 1972, the Varsity Blues women’s hockey team has captured 17 Ontario conference championships—more than any other team in the province. U of T athletes have also represented Canada at every Olympic games since 1900, winning a total of 94 Olympic medals including 37 gold, 35 silver and 22 bronze medals. In terms of visibility and impact on student life, more than 30,000 students, faculty and staff are engaged in the university’s athletic and recreational programs every year. These programs add tremendous value to the student experience, providing vital learning opportunities outside the classroom, fostering a greater sense of community and promoting the universal values of leadership, fair play and teamwork among all University of Toronto students.


Boundless: The Campaign for the University of Toronto is the largest fundraising campaign in Canadian university history. With a historic $2 billion goal, the campaign will help expand U of T’s global leadership capacity across critical areas of knowledge and help develop the talent, ideas and solutions for the definingchallenges of our time.