Canada Games Centre targeting students

Facility officials hope trek to Bayers Lake won't be a problem for car-less people

Canada Games' mascots pose at the grand opening. (Photo: Laura Conrad)

University students now have a reason to spend more time in the neighbourhood of Clayton Park  - the new Canada Games Centre officially opened last weekend.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the complex on Saturday to watch the official cutting of the ribbon. With measurements hitting 176,000 square feet, this new sports centre offers many different recreational resources. Despite its Halifax West location, locals say the new facility will be especially appealing for students.

Stephen Smith, a fourth-year commerce major at Saint Mary's University, plans to spend time at the new centre, both during and after the games.

"This is a historic thing," says Smith. "People are coming here from all over Canada. For people who didn't make it out to the (2010) Olympics, this is a great opportunity to be a part of something national."

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The new Canada Games Centre is located at 26 Thomas Raddall Drive. (Photo: Laura Conrad)

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A map showing the Canada Games venues most accessible to university students. (Map: Samantha Durnford)

Recognizing that this isn't the easiest facility for university students without a car to get to, Smith fears that they will refrain from using it.

Getting there

Students can travel from campus to the centre using Metro Transit. The fastest way from Dal and SMU is taking route one to the Mumford terminal and transferring to route 52. This takes approximately 40 to 60 minutes.

"A lot of students probably aren't familiar with this part of the city. I'm not familiar with it either," he says. "I had to find my way here using Google Maps. But I made it out here even though I had no idea. I see no reason why this shouldn't be a popular thing."

Halifax MP Megan Leslie agrees that a lot of students may be unfamiliar with the area. She sees the opening of the new Canada Games Centre as an opportunity to change this.

"This is a whole new area of the city for some people, but it's good to see what the rest of the city is all about," Leslie says. "It's a fascinating part of the city because it has the highest density of newcomers in Nova Scotia, and also the most languages spoken of any part of Nova Scotia. It's a great place for people to explore."

Leslie says the centre is a good resource for students for many reasons.

"I had a lot of friends in university who were competitive athletes," she says. "Depending on the university, it was usually a struggle for them to find high-quality facilities that would help them be competitive. This is a world class facility, it will definitely benefit students positively in that way. Also, it's right next to a library."

The complex offers a number of resources, including but not limited to, multi-sport gymnasium courts; a health and fitness centre; an eight-lane, 25-metre indoor competition pool; an indoor running track; and numerous multi-purpose rooms.

Gary Furlong, the general manager of the Canada Games Centre, says this facility will pay special attention to students. In addition to specific programs targeting young adults, they plan to offer a student rate in the membership options.

"It's a great resource (for students) because we have all the amenities in one facility - a fitness centre, a pool, a track and a field house," said Furlong. "They can utilize them all under the same roof."

Memberships will be available to the public starting Wednesday. They can be purchased at the centre on 26 Thomas Raddall Drive between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.


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