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Niagara Summer Games facilities nearing the finish line

Angela Gismondi
Niagara Summer Games facilities nearing the finish line
RAIMONDO + ASSOCIATES ARCHITECTS — The Canada Games Park in Thorold, Ont. is one of two new facilities being constructed for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games this August. Aquicon is the general contractor on the project. MJMA is design lead architect, Raimondo + Associates Architects Inc. is the contract administrator. The team also includes Blackwell (structural engineers); Smith + Andersen (mechanical and electrical engineers); Upper Canada Planning + Engineering (civil engineers); PMA Landscape Architects; and Moon-Matz (site lighting consultant). Contributing contractors include: Mattina Mechanical; JMR Electrical; Niagara Rigging & Erecting; Ritchfield Inc.; Triumph Aluminum & Sheet Metal Inc.; Aerloc Industries; Advanced Precast; Archmill Millwork; and Gym-Con.

Despite some pandemic-related delays, the new recreation facilities being constructed to host the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games this August are expected to be completed in the next few months.

The contract to build two projects, the Canada Games Park and the Henley Rowing Centre, was awarded to Brampton-based general contractor Aquicon Construction in December 2019. Construction began that winter.

“We are scheduled to achieve substantial performance within the next six to eight weeks,” said Michael Salij, project manager with Aquicon.

“The initial intent was to host all track and field events at the park for the 2021 Canada Summer Games. Considering the entire facility would not be completed for August 2021, early planning for phased occupancy was developed to permit additional indoor sporting events like lacrosse and wrestling to be carried out in the unfinished facility. After the host announcement was made to reschedule the Games as a result of the pandemic it allowed us the opportunity to complete the entire facility which ultimately will lead to a more impressionable experience for all athletes, spectators and public to enjoy.”

The facilities include a combined 210,000 square foot Canada Games Park, which includes indoor and outdoor attractions for track and field including volleyball as well as and the main facility for the Games housing both the Centre for Health and Wellbeing and David S. Howes Sport Performance Centre, plus a four-court gymnasium and two-pad arena on the Brock University Campus in Thorold, Ont.

“It’s the Summer Games so we were focusing on outdoor spaces,” said Brad Augustine, contract administrator for the project with Raimondo + Associates Architects Inc.

“The track and field component outside was huge. We needed one gym and one ice rink.


The new Henley Rowing Centre being constructed for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games this August will address the need for essential off-water training and support facilities at the Royal Canadian Henley Rowing Course in Port Dalhousie, Ont.
SCREENGRAB — The new Henley Rowing Centre being constructed for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games this August will address the need for essential off-water training and support facilities at the Royal Canadian Henley Rowing Course in Port Dalhousie, Ont.


“That was on schedule too but when the pandemic hit it opened up all kinds of questions. Are the Games going to be delayed? Do we have full spectators or do we have no spectators or do we have 50 per cent occupancy? Ultimately Canada Summer Games decided to push back the Games with the hope that they could have spectators witness the Games in person.”

The construction aspects of the project included site clearing and construction of parking; traditional strip/pad concrete footing foundations with no basement; steel structure with cantilever overhang soffits; a metal deck roof; a HollowCore precast concrete slab for arena tiered bleacher seating with in-floor heat; architectural precast concrete cladding, glass and glazing, standing seam soffits; a composite aluminum exterior; skylight; a vegetated roof; polished concrete floors; maple spindle balustrades; and a white washed gym floor.

MJMA is the design lead architect for the project.

What makes the facility unique is the green roof which features a series of sloping planes at varying angles.

“It’s got a green roof which retains a lot of the stormwater so that it doesn’t just run off into our lakes and streams,” Augustine said.

“It’s designed to be a world class sustainable project, so it’s very energy efficient in terms of the mechanical equipment. In terms of passive daylighting one of the things MJMA tried to do was to light the spaces naturally.”

In addition to the four-week government mandated shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020 the project team faced numerous challenges with soaring construction material costs in steel and lumber and supply chain delays. Effects are still being felt today as a result of raw plastics/resin shortages and difficulty securing appliances and audio-visual equipment, Salij said.

The Henley Rowing Centre, designed by MJMA, on Henley Island in St. Catharines will serve as a memorial facility and features a 600-square-metre glass and mass timber structure on Henley Island at Martindale Pond in St. Catharines. The net-zero building features a large timber section cantilevered on the building’s exterior to provide shade for athletic activities and spectators.

The facility is designed to be carbon neutral so it’s made mostly of glulam and CLT with a small portion of structural steel. A triple-glazed curtainwall helps the building meet high efficiency standards.

“It really takes advantage of the carbon sequestering nature of trees and helps to reduce greenhouse gases,” said Augustine. “Through a high efficiency envelope, energy modelling, we’ve been able to calculate how much energy the building is supposed to use in a given billing cycle and offset that so at the end of the day it balances out. It’s the first of its kind in the region.”

Both facilities are expected to be used following the Games. Brock University, the Niagara Region, the City of St. Catharines and the City of Thorold have entered into a long-term agreement and formed a consortium to manage and operate Canada Games Park when the Games are finished.

“The project was designed for the Summer Games but with the idea of legacy in mind,” Augustine explained. “One of the biggest criticisms with the Olympics was once the Olympics are done what do you do with all this new infrastructure.

“Both these buildings are going to be used after the Games.”

The Games are set to take place Aug. 6 to 21.


Follow the author on Twitter @DCN_Angela.

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