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Last week, the YMCA announced plans for the multi-year Strong Start, Great Future fundraising campaign, with the goal of raising $250 million towards the construction of 10 new centres across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) by 2020. David Layton, vice-president of asset development and real estate at the YMCA of Greater Toronto, said Etobicoke was an â€œobvious, obviousâ€ choice for one of those 10 locations.
â€œLooking at Etobicoke, itâ€™s a diverse community whether youâ€™re talking about income or ethnicity or activity, and we want to have impact on the whole range of community weâ€™re serving, so itâ€™s just an ideal place for the Y to be,â€ he said in an interview with The Guardian this week.
Located at the corner of Dundas Street West and Kipling Avenue, the proposed 60,000 square-foot facility would provide recreational programming and services to more than 8,100 people, helping a community in which nearly 52 per cent of the population report being physically inactive â€“ and nearly 20 per cent are obese or overweight â€“ adopt healthier and more active lifestyles.
While Layton said likely features in the Etobicoke centre will include a pool, gym, youth and childrenâ€™s activity â€˜zonesâ€™, multi-purpose meeting rooms, child-minding facilities, and fitness studios, he also noted that the YMCA actively engages the communities in which it builds to get a sense of the facilities residents want and need.
â€œAll of our major facilities all have a list of common features, but for the sizes and the mixes and then the programs that operate within those...we really look to connect and engage with the community to make sure that we get the mix right for the demands, needs and interests of the community,â€ he said. â€œWe want this to be the communityâ€™s YMCA.â€
While there is no concrete construction timeline in place, the Etobicoke YMCA is anticipated to be open in 2017/2018 â€“ a goal that has been greatly aided by the help of the local city councillor, Layton said.