Local dignitaries gathered on Friday, April 22 to mark the official opening of Canada Games Park and the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre.
The legacy project for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games is located at the corner of Merrittville Highway and Sir Isaac Brock Way on what was once a portion of Brock’s Zone 2 parking lot.
Home to new state-of-the-art sport facilities, the site will be the main venue for a majority of the competitions throughout the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games, running from Aug. 6 to 21.
“As part of the dynamic team that brought the Canada Games to Niagara, the entire Brock community has watched one of our parking lots grow into a state-of-the-art venue that will welcome thousands of athletes and continue to offer transformative opportunities to the Brock community and people in the region for years to come,” said Lynn Wells, Interim President and Vice-Chancellor of Brock University, who spoke at Friday’s event. “Brock prides itself on offering a one-of-a-kind academic experience, and the many connections we have secured with Canada Games Park through research, teaching and community partnerships will only further that.”
Canada Games Park facilities include the 200,000-square-foot cutting-edge Walker Sports and Abilities Centre, along with the entry plaza found right outside the facility, which is known as the Walker Founder’s Plaza.
The Walker Sports and Abilities Centre consists of a sport performance centre, a health and well-being centre, an NHL-sized twin-pad arena, a 200-metre indoor track, sport offices and a multipurpose fieldhouse featuring a parasport gymnasium and a combative sport centre.
Canada Games Park also features six competition beach volleyball courts, a cycling and storage pavilion, and a 400-metre track-and-field facility on site.
The Canada Games Park Consortium secured ASM Global, an independent third-party operator, to be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Canada Games Park and the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre.
Following the 2022 Games, Canada Games Park will be a legacy for the community and provide opportunities for accessible recreation, cultural events and endless activities for decades to come. Facilities like Canada Games Park increase access to sports and recreation facilities for all of Niagara’s residents.
In addition to the Walker family’s substantial and generous contribution, the $102.7-million project is jointly funded by the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the Canada Games Park Consortium partners: Niagara Region, City of Thorold, City of St. Catharines and Brock University. The Canada Games Park Consortium partners will be responsible for managing this sports complex once the 2022 Canada Games have taken place.
Held every two years, the Canada Summer Games brings together up-and-coming Canadian athletes from across Canada. This year’s Canada Summer Games begins Aug. 6.
“This new facility will offer numerous sport opportunities both during and after the Canada Games. It will undoubtedly enrich the quality of life of the community and leave lasting legacies for the Niagara region. Congratulations on this important step that brings us even closer to the 2022 Canada Summer Games in Niagara!”
– The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
“The Canada Games are a truly special event for young Canadian athletes, as it is often their first multi-sport event and a unique opportunity to compete for their provinces and territories. I have fond memories of Brandon 1997, where I won a bronze medal in kayaking and started dreaming about going to the Olympics one day. The legacy investments in infrastructure that the Canada Games provide plant the seeds for a healthier community and are the foundation for the future dreams of our young athletes.” – Adam van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Sport
“I am pleased to join the community in celebrating the grand opening of the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre at Canada Games Park that will host this summer’s Niagara 2022 Canada Games. This incredible facility will soon welcome athletes from all parts of our country, bringing Canadians together for Canada’s largest multisport event. It will not only provide a high-quality experience for athletes and visitors, but also offer a place for residents of the Niagara Region to gather, compete, and stay active for years to come.”
– Vance Badawey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
“I am proud to be part of the grand opening of the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre at Canada Games Park, and to celebrate all of those who made this project possible. In August, thousands of young athletes will gather to compete for the podium in this modern, state-of-the-art facility. Following the Canada Games, the Walker Sports and Abilities
Centre will bring new fitness and community programming to the Niagara Region, leaving behind a lasting legacy for future generations of sports enthusiasts.”
– Chris Bittle, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Member of Parliament for St-Catharines
“The Ontario government is proud to have provided $29 million for the construction of Canada Games Park. This fabulous multi-sport facility will excite and inspire athletes, coaches, volunteers and spectators at the 2022 Canada Summer Games in August, as well as the entire Niagara region in the years to come. Ontario is one of the best places in the world to be an athlete and compete in sport, and I am delighted Ontario has contributed to this important project that will result in a significant return on investment for sport tourism in the Niagara region and southern Ontario.”
– The Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture
“Today’s announcement is great news for residents in Niagara region. These projects will bring substantial benefits to the local community, including boosted economic growth, more accessible recreation options, cultural events, and access to new jobs. Our government is looking forward to bringing people together at the Canada Games Park and Walker Sports and Abilities Centre so that everyone can enjoy a more safe, comfortable and modern space to participate in the local community, while promoting an active and healthy lifestyle for all.”
– The Honourable Kinga Surma, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure
“Long after the game’s closing ceremonies, this facility will continue serve Niagara’s residents, as well as visiting athletes, providing world-class amenities and opportunities for generations. The Walkers Sports and Abilities Center will stand as the lasting legacy of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games, and a testament to the Region’s enduring commitment to improve the quality of life for all who call Niagara home.”
– Regional Chair, Jim Bradley
“The Walker Sports and Abilities Centre at Canada Games Park, in Thorold, is a game changing facility which is a symbol of cooperation, excellence and community. We are excited for the long awaited Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. These types of Recreational Amenities not only benefit our City, but the entire Niagara Region. We look forward to seeing the community utilize this important legacy facility, as well as, leveraging it to increase Sports Tourism long after the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games have ended. Let’s continue to rise together!”
– Mayor of Thorold, Terry Ugulini
“Canada Games Park and the Walker Sports Abilities Centre will not only serve as a world-class facility for the games, but will serve as a legacy our communities will be able to enjoy for generations to come. It allows for increased access to recreational amenities for our residents, while also promoting our region as a destination for sport tourism. This facility, and the Canada Games Park Consortium, is a testament to what can be achieved when partners work together.”
– Mayor of St. Catharines, Walter Sendzik
“The Canada Games strengthen the fabric of Canada through the power of sport. Canada Games Park is a shining example of the transformational legacy of the Canada Games. These beautiful facilities will not only set the stage for an unforgettable experience for participants at the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games, but spark greatness in future athletes, coaches and officials for generations to come.”
– Evan Johnston, Chair, Canada Games Council
“After more than six years of planning and development, we are extremely excited to see Canada Games Park officially open today. Satisfying the Niagara community’s need for a new multi-use sport and recreation facility, Canada Games Park will serve as a vital hub of community activity and also support the development of Niagara’s future generations of sport champions. We can’t wait to showcase Canada Games Park this August, when we will welcome 5000 of Canada’s best young athletes to Niagara for the 2022 Canada Games.”
– Doug Hamilton, Chair, Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games Host Society
“The Walker family has always appreciated the importance of sports and recreation. We know that sports and recreation build stronger, healthier, happier and safer communities,” said Geordie Walker, President and CEO, Walker Industries. “We are extremely proud to be involved in the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre and look forward to seeing the long term positive impacts of this facility during the Canada Games and in the decades to come.”
– Geordie Walker, President and CEO, Walker Industries
“The collaboration between Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games and the Indigenous Partnership Council to the Games is creating history… History which will start with N22 and continue to all future games. Together we are doing what no game has ever done before! The creation of a working cross-cultural partnership which engages, involves and fosters unity, respect and friendship as we collectively co-welcome and co-present the games here in Niagara.”
– Michele-Elise Burnett, Co-Chair, Indigenous Partnership Council and Board Director, Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games Host Society