With all the talk about the recent redevelopment of the (former) Maple Leaf Gardens, it's only fitting that we feature the dataBase listing as our Project of the Day. The athletics centre has been renamed the Peter Gilgan Athletic Centre, following a healthy donation by the chief executive of the development company Mattamy Homes. Ryerson's newest addition will be joining the ground floor supermarket-giant Loblaws as new tenants of this storied building.

Originally constructed in 1931, Maple Leaf Gardens was one of the "Original Six" hockey arenas, and was designed by Ross and Macdonald architects. A Toronto landmark, the arena lost business upon completion of the Toronto SkyDome, and the subsequent construction of the Air Canada Centre. The redevelopment is being designed by a consortium of architects; Turner Fleischer, BBB Architects, and Stadium Consultants International have combined their expertise in their various fields to redesign the building.

Cross section showing new building organization

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment sold the site in 2004 to Canadian supermarket giant Loblaws after turning down various offers from possible new owners who might use the Gardens in competition with MLSE's ACC. After five years of uncertainty, and little visible activity, Ryerson University announced in 2009 that it would be moving into the upper floors of the arena, constructing a new athletics facility and reviving the Gardens' use as a hockey arena, which would be built atop the ground-floor Loblaws store.

Peter Gilgan Athletic Centre

Loblaws officially opened on November 31, 2011, and Ryerson expects to complete its new facilities in early 2012. The project had the delicate task of ensuring the new building program maintained and highlighted the historic features of the Art Deco structure, and from what we've seen so far, they've done a great job.

Interior of Loblaws, image by jason paris

The restored and updated original marquee, image by atlantis

We encourage everyone to go down and check out the new Loblaws; it's not often that such an iconic building is preserved and re-used in a public format. If, however, you aren't able to make it down, you can "virtually" tour the project here. The project Forum is seeing tons of feedback and opinions on the new tenant's use of the space and how the historic structure was mediated. Go to the dataBase listing below for more renderings of the Ryerson athletics facility, and keep checking back for more information as we near the completion date.

Related Companies:  BBB Architects, ERA Architects, Landini Associates, LEA Consulting, Loblaw Companies, Ryerson University, Stadium Consultants International, Turner Fleischer Architects