UPDATE: The 519's proposed Sports & Recreation Centre

By James Scott, 9 December 2013

Last Monday, December 2nd, The 519 hosted an information session regarding its proposed Sports & Recreation Centre.  I am sure by now many of you have heard about this project (and if not, check out OUTSPORT TORONTO's story - click here), this meeting was a great opportunity to hear more details on this exciting opportunity.

For those of you that could not attend, here are some bullet points;

  • By all accounts, this would be the first LGBT-focused Sports & Recreation centre in the world!
  • The project is in preliminary stages, with an expected completion date of 2017 (the likely site will be in use during the 2015 PanAm / Para PanAm games).
  • The project is expected to cost approximately $100m, largely funded by private donations.
  • While The 519 is still determine space use, the currently proposed site allows for primarily gymnasium-based space, and initial plans do not call for indoor aquatics or ice space, nor any outdoor space large enough to accommodate "field" sports such as soccer, football, or softball.
  • The 519 plans to work with stakeholders in other neighbouring community spaces to voice the needs for spaces not able to be accommodated by this project, to ensure that coverage is obtained elsewhere in the community.
  • The Sports & Recreation centre would operate under a similar model to the current 519 Community Centre, whereby 519 staff program and operate the centre on a daily basis.
  • Community consultation is a significant part of the current stage of the project, and an incredibly opportunity for leagues and groups to their voices heard.  As a part of this, statistics on league sizes, wait lists, space constraints, etc, will be key.  OUTSPORT TORONTO will be sending out a survey to its member organisations shortly to gather critical information to facilitate this process, and we appreciate your support in gathering this!

A lot going on, and an exciting time to be involved in LGBT sports and recreation!

Even though I was at first discouraged to hear that space constraints would not allow for field sports, ice, or aquatics, we are in early stages and have an opportunity to shape a space that will ultimately be good fo us all.  Community consultation is a large part of the current stage, so now is the time to get your voice heard!  Please keep an eye out for our survey in January, and make sure you complete it to have your voice heard!