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New Community Centre with LGBT Sport and Rec Focus Pitched to City - OutSport Toronto Lends Support

The 519 submitted a report to City Council 27 November 2013 which, if approved, marks the first official step in building a new sports and recreation centre for the City of Toronto, with a focus on LGBT communities.  The facility will also provide much-needed recreation space for residents in the new West Don Lands community.  The project is in response to the need for additional recreation facilities created by shifting demographics and increased density in the downtown area.  The report requests authority for staff of the City of Toronto and The 519 to begin negotiations with Infrastructure Ontario on the Wheel and Foundry Complex near Underpass Park and Corktown Commons.

Interior of the Wheel and Foundry Building, Image by Craig White, courtesy

“Sport and recreation is vitally important to the health and well-being of our communities," said Shawn Sheridan, Chair of OUTSPORT TORONTO.  "The proposed community centre, with an emphasis on LGBT sport and recreation, will create safe and welcoming spaces for our community – one that is traditionally marginalised in sport – to get out and play.  The new centre will also be invaluable in supporting the community-based amateur sport and recreation organisations that make it happen.  I’m excited by the opportunities to strengthen LGBT sport and recreation that this project will offer!”

“The 519 Sports and Recreation Project demonstrates global leadership on LGBT inclusion, building on the success of our internationally-renowned programs and services,” said Tyler Fleming, Chair of The 519 Board.  “The new community centre will be the first of its kind anywhere in the world, providing a welcoming, inclusive space for Torontonians, and particularly LGBT people to participate in sport.”

“This project builds on Toronto’s long history of diversity and community development by providing a truly inclusive place where Torontonians can gather and be active together,” said Maura Lawless, Executive Director of The 519.  “We know that when we address the barriers that LGBT people face, we help to make sport and recreation more accessible for everyone who may feel excluded. We look forward to developing a facility that the entire city can take pride in.”

The centre is estimated to cost $100 million, funded in large part by private donations.  Investments from municipal, provincial and federal governments are expected to account for one-third of the project cost.  Once built, the facility will be owned by the City of Toronto and operated by The 519, which is an agency of the city.

The 519's newsitem can be found at .