Skating, swimming, fitness and fun. The Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre has been the primary sports and leisure facility in Brantford for over 40 years. With 4 ice rinks, several large pools, diving boards, a waterslide, and even a gym, this location features so many activities it's hard to keep track! Let's take a look at the history of this state of the art complex we're so lucky to boast.
The Centre originally started out as the North Park Recreation Centre, and opened to the public in 1972. At that point it was 2 rinks. In 1974, a 65 metre pool and diving facility were added with the creation of the Brant Aquatic Centre. The Aquatic Centre went on to host the Canadian National Diving Championships, a true testament to the quality of the facilities. The name Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre was given to the complex in 1982 as a tribute to our city’s own hockey legend and hometown son, the "Great One" - Wayne Gretzky. To accommodate the facility's demanding growth, a third ice rink was added in 1999.
In 2007, Brantford City Council approved a 37 million dollar renovation that would see the three rinks replaced with a four-pad arena complex, along with several other new additions to the Centre. The new upgrade included a 1,100 seat NHL regulation size arena with three additional NHL size ice pads, 39 change rooms, 65m pool, 25 m pool, diving boards, 150 foot water slide, aquatic climbing wall, fitness studio, fully equipped weight room, dry land training room, indoor track, gymnasium, football field, breezeway, and so much more. Another key addition came in the form of the Sports Hall of Recognition, an area that recognizes the accomplishments of athletes on a local and global scale. The 3,000 square foot space pays tribute to such legends as Toronto Maple Leafs players Syl Apps and Jeff Reese, Olympian Swimmer Tanya Hunks, and of course, Wayne Gretzky himself. In total, the renovation saw the facility triple in size!
The official re-opening of the reconstructed Gretzky Centre (as locals call it) took place on September 29th, 2013, with Wayne and Walter Gretzky both present as attendees. Out front of the Centre stands a statue of Wayne Gretzky lifting the Stanley Cup facing statues of younger versions of himself with his parents. This statue exists as a constant reminder for the youth that if you dream big and work hard, you can accomplish great things.
As we approach the 5th anniversary of the grand re-opening, The Gretzky Centre has planned a great celebration. Opening their doors to locals and tourists alike, they have planned an afternoon of family fun that includes free activities such as public swimming, family skates, fun fitness classes, a scavenger hunt & prize ballot, face painting, fresh popped popcorn, giveaways, and more! Join us in Brantford on Saturday, September 29th from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. at 254 North Park Street for this awesome way to explore the centre and take advantage of all the free access. For more information on this event, you can visit their Facebook page here.
Inspiring Greatness is the theme of the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre and is a place that will provide a legacy of health, fitness and fun. The City of Brantford is fortunate to have the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre as the crown jewel of the Tournament Capital of Ontario.
For a full list of activities, classes and events, you can visit The official Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre Facebook Page, or click here to open the program page on their website.