MAPLE LEAF GARDENS
The Eyeopener • 3Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Maple Leaf Gardens (MLG)is built.Loblaw Companies Limited moves to buy theGardens for a rumored $16 million. Monthslater, the property is for sale again becausedevelopment seems too expensive. Ryerson isinterested, but backs out due to cost. Loblaw later purchases the property.The potential project isestimated to cost Ryerson$60 million. Loblaw willhelp fundraise $20 million,$20 million will comefrom student fees and theuniversity asks the feds forthe rest.The Eyeopener releases its MLG specialedition, investigating a possible partnership with Loblaw for shared use of the Gardens.Later that day, Ryerson and Loblaw announcethey’re in talks.
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Sheldon Levy becomesRyerson’s president andshows an interest in theGardens.
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Ryerson students pass an athletic referendumto raise fees in support of a new athleticfacility. 74 per cent of the voters said “yes” toa $126 fee hike once the centre is built.
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The federal governmentannounces its support forthe project.Toronto is declared host of the Pan AmericanGames.
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Fal b al Mapl Laf Ga al
Rrson rs o uzzr on Grdns rnoon
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Hockey ans will once again walk through the turnstiles and ll the seatso Maple Lea Gardens. But instead o Leas, they’ll root or the Rams.On. Dec. 1, the ederal governmentannounced they’d chip in the nal $20million needed to start construction onRyerson’s new athletic centre in the his-toric arena.“A year ago we had a dream... now wehave a dream come true,” said PresidentSheldon Levy at the press conerence.The athletic centre, to be designed by Turner Fleischer Architects Inc., mustbe completed by March 2011. Ryerson’sathletic centre will be on the secondand third foors o Maple Lea Gardens with a Loblaw’s store on ground level.The rest o the $60-million project will be covered by $20 million rom theathletic reerendum, a $5 million con-tribution rom Loblaw Companies Lim-ited and $15 million rom a joint und-raising campaign between Ryerson andLoblaw. According to Levy, Loblaw ap-proached the university ater the reer-endum passed.Last week, as Levy walked in the rainon his way rom Queen’s Park, he re-ceived the call he’d been waiting or.“I remember almost like walking above the rain,” said Levy.“You have the whole o Toronto watching over your shoulders so you were either going to be a public ailureor a public success,” said Levy, atermonths o government silence. An emergency Board o Governorsmeeting held via teleconerence onNov. 26 approved Gardens plans.“They’ve demonstrated beore thatthey can get things done,” said Jim Fla-herty, Minister o Finance, about Levy and Galen Weston, Loblaw executivechairman. According to Galen Weston, there willbe a memorabilia shop in the Gardens.The athletic building will include anNHL-sized rink, a 200-metre track andother tness acilities.
(From left) Galen Weston, Jim Flaherty, John Baird and Sheldon Levy at MLG.
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t in the Gardens, said Alan Shepard, provost andvice-president academic.The decision to mix academics with athletics isan attempt to draw more oot trac to the Gar-dens, said President Sheldon Levy, adding that thebuilding is or the entire Ryerson community, not just varsity athletes.One o the ways Levy would like to incorporatethe landmark building with the rest o campus ispaving a passageway rom Ryerson to the Gardens.The path could wind around the theatre building and cut through McGill and Granby streets.To make the school’s brand more noticeable enroute to the Gardens, the school has consideredmore signage and distinctive landscaping.“I could see us doing a type o landscaping thatis a signature Ryerson landscaping that gets to thebuilding easily,” said Levy. “As important as whatgoes in there is how to draw people to the place.” Around exam time, Ryerson students could ndthemselves sitting under the Gardens’ historicraters instead o the Metro Toronto ConventionCentre’s forescent lighting.Despite Ryerson’s push to make the Gardenshome, the school intends to preserve the build-ing’s signage.“The building is Maple Lea Gardens and MapleLea Gardens will stay,” said Levy.
President Levy (right) must renovate the Gardens by 2011.
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Ryerson doesn’t have much time to celebratetheir joint ownership o the historic Maple Lea Gardens.The school has just over a year to convert one o Toronto’s most iconic buildings into a multi-unc-tional athletic and recreation acility. The Gardensrenovation is part o Canada’s Inrastructure Stim-ulus Fund, which means the project’s deadline isMarch 31, 2011.“They assured me that they can get it done inthat period o time and they’ve showed me theplan,” said Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.Now that the government has chipped in thenal third o unding, it’s Ryerson’s responsibility to breathe new lie into the Gardens. Part o theschool’s vision involves a passageway leading tothe site. The building itsel might house a studentcoee shop and academic programs alongside theplanned athletics acilities.Galen Weston, executive chairman o Loblaw Companies Ltd., said the new Gardens will be aplace where students can “lit a ew weights” and“do a little shopping at a Loblaws store.”In the next ew weeks Ryerson executives willstart thinking o which academic programs could