August 6-21, 2022
Meridian Credit Union fr

7/22/21

by: Niagara Host Society

Sports and Abilities Centre at Canada Games Park named in honour of Walker family

At a naming event this past Monday, the Niagara Region, in partnership with the City of St. Catharines, the City of Thorold, and Brock University, celebrated a substantial investment made to Canada Games Park (CGP) by the Walker family. In recognition of a generous $3-million donation gifted on behalf of the Walker family, the 210,000 square foot sport-and-recreation complex at CGP has been named the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre. Additionally, the entry plaza found right outside the facility will be known as the Walker Founders Plaza.

Joining Walker Industries CEO Geordie Walker at Monday’s event was Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley, Mayor of Thorold Terry Ugulini, Mayor of St. Catharines Walter Sendzik, Brock University’s Interim President Lynn Wells, and Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games Board Chair Doug Hamilton. Adam van Koeverden, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Canadian Heritage and a MP for Milton, along with Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, were also in attendance.

The Walker Sports and Abilities Centre at CGP is a state-of-the-art facility designed to be accessible for everyone, no matter their ability. “Through this facility, all Niagara residents will have access to world-class sports and para-sports facilities which will be used for generations to come,” declared Regional Chair Bradley. The inside of this complex will consist of a sport performance centre, a health & well-being centre, a twin-pad arena, a 200-metre indoor track, sport offices, and a multipurpose fieldhouse that will feature a parasport gymnasium and a combative sport centre.

Outside of this facility at CGP will be six competition beach volleyball courts, a cycling and storage pavilion, and a 400-metre track-and-field facility. Five of Niagara 2022’s sports (athletics, box lacrosse, wrestling, beach volleyball, and indoor volleyball) will be held at CGP, including the first women’s lacrosse competition to ever be held at a Canada Games.

CGP, situated on the south end of Brock University’s campus, is one of the key legacy projects being built as a result of Niagara hosting the 2022 Canada Games. It’s been designed and completed with environmental sustainability in mind, as the structure is set to be 35% more efficient and generate 45% less greenhouse gas emissions than a standard Canadian building. Ultimately, CGP is expected to be substantially completed this fall, while construction activities are scheduled to conclude by the end of January 2022.

The Walker family are fifth generation owners of Walker Industries, a 134-year-old Niagara institution. The family has a rich history of philanthropy and generous giving in this community, which has included a $5-million donation for the Walker Family Cancer Centre at the St. Catharines hospital, a $1.5-million gift to Brock University and $1-million towards the Walker Family YMCA in St. Catharines.

The Walker family was motivated to give these funds to the Sports and Abilities Centre in order to help support the Niagara community’s health and wellness. “Sports and recreation play a critical role in the physical and mental well-being of Canadians and is woven into the very fabric of every community in Canada. Therefore, we are very proud to support this unique facility and the long-term legacy it will create in Niagara,” said Walker.

“The impact of hosting the 2022 Canada Summer Games will not end next summer, but will continue moving forward because of legacy facilities like the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre and the Walker Founders Plaza,” added Thorold Mayor Ugulini. 

“Facilities like this create opportunity. They create legacy for communities and they truly do change lives for the better,” mentioned van Koeverden, a four-time Olympic medallist who competed at the 1997 Canada Summer Games in Brandon, Man. “I’m also thinking back to my experience at the Canada Games. This morning I went through an old shoebox looking for my Canada Games bronze medal that I won when I was 15 years old. I didn’t find my medal, but I did find the canoeing and kayaking program of events.

“I kind of thought about how Brandon has benefitted from the infrastructure that was built there. So, as we look forward to next year’s flagship, Canada’s flagship sporting event in the Canada Games coming here to this region, I think we can all agree it’s going to have long lasting impacts.”

Held every two years, alternating between winter and summer, the Canada Games are the country’s marquee event for amateur sport representing the highest level of national competition for thousands of up-and-coming Canadian athletes. More than 5,000 participants and close to 4,500 volunteers are expected to take part in Canada’s largest multi-sport event in the Niagara Region from August 6-21, 2022.

Additional Quotes:

“What a tremendous gift [the Walker family] is giving not only to the Niagara Region, but to Canadian athletes who will once go on just like MP van Koeverden to compete for Canada, whether that’s at the Olympics or other events, and that will be part of your legacy as your family but also part of the sporting legacy in this great province.” - The Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

“The Walker Family and Walker Industries have been generous donors to many community projects helping us build a strong, resilient, vibrant communities. This donation further demonstrates Walker’s commitment to community building and making an impact in Niagara. Thank you to Geordie and the entire Walker family. We are very proud of this partnership and of Walker’s continued leadership.” - Walter Sendzik, Mayor of St. Catharines 

“Thanks to the generous support of the Walker family, current and future generations of Niagara residents and Brock students will be the beneficiaries of the Canada Summer Games legacy. As a founding partner of the Games, Brock University is honoured to welcome the Walker Family as we work as a community to celebrate these once-in-a-generation opportunities. The Walker Sports and Abilities Centre is a most fitting addition to the Brock campus gateway.” – Lynn Wells, Interim President of Brock University

“We are very grateful to the Walker family for their generous contribution to this tremendous legacy facility being built as a result of Niagara hosting the 2022 Canada Summer Games. With the Games now only a year away, we are very excited about the opportunity to welcome our country to Niagara and to showcase this new state-of-the-art facility, along with Niagara’s world-renowned hospitality and its rich, diverse, and unique communities on a national stage.” – Doug Hamilton, Board Chair of the Niagara Host Society

About the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games

At the peak of Niagara’s boldest summer yet, more than 5,000 up-and-coming athletes, their coaches and support staff will gather to compete for the podium in Canada’s largest multi-sport event. From August 6 to 21, 2022, Niagara will surge stronger than ever on the national stage. The 2022 Games, made possible thanks to funding and support from the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the Niagara Region, and the Canada Games Council, will give rise to new legacies of ambition, confidence, and compassion that will inspire generations to come. 

For further information, visit us at niagara2022games.ca or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (@2022canadagames).

Media Contact:

Christopher Séguin, Media & Communications Manager

cseguin@2022canadagames.ca

289.880.4005

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