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 Leaside Memorial Gardens Arena Update




The Leaside Curling Club is very supportive of the addition of new recreational facilities in our community. However, we want to ensure that changes to the Leaside Memorial Gardens Complex do not encroach upon our members' access and enjoyment of our club.

Regular updates about the arena expansion will be published here.

Please send any comments or questions to the LCC Arena Expansion Committee at arenaexpansion@leasidecurling.ca

Updates from the Leaside Arena board will be found on its website at leasidearena.com.


A message from Brooke Biscoe, Leaside Arena Board Chair

18 January 2012

 Last night Toronto City Council approved the Leaside Arena Expansion Project as part of the 2012 city budget.  The $12.5 million project includes a $7.5 million loan from the city and a $1.5 million loan from the province against future operating revenues, $1 million from the city in accelerated capital improvements, and $2.5 million raised by the local community.  

As you know we undertook to have met this local fundraising target by the time city council voted on the budget.  
And I am pleased to say that we succeeded!  Yesterday Expansion Committee Chair Paul Mercer and Fundraising Committee Chair Charlene Kalia confirmed that the $2.5 million cash-in-hand local fundraising target "to get a shovel in the ground" was achieved on Monday and that this information was formally passed on to city officials.

Meeting our community fundraising goal represents a huge achievement and I want to thank all those who have been a part of making it happen.  To Paul and Charlene and the members of the fundraising committee who have worked so hard for the past eighteen months, to the families and volunteers associated with our three main user groups the LHA, LSC and TLGHA, and to all those local businesses, families and individuals who have contributed financially to this effort, I extend a big and heart-felt 'Thank You!'  This is a community achievement and we couldn't have done it without everyone working together.  It doesn't mean that our fundraising efforts are finished.  We will still need to raise funds to finance aspects of the project that are not part of the tender and will provide more information on this later.  In this regard, I encourage you to attend 
"Laugh out Loud in Leaside -- Act Three".  This event has been a great success the past two years and promises to be another enjoyable evening of good food and drink, comedy and music, with great silent auction items.  A flyer for the event is attached.

I would also like to thank Councillor John Parker for all his hard work behind the scenes in bringing the various city departments together when required and in guiding the project through the approvals process at City Hall.  We can now focus on getting the project out to tender, awarding the contract and beginning the construction phase as quickly as possible.

So, while there is still a lot of work ahead of us, I want to again emphasize that yesterday represents a huge achievement on the part of the Leaside community and a major milestone in the long process of getting our second rink at Leaside Gardens.  As Paul Mercer said, "January 17th is a day worth remembering!  Congratulations to all board and committee members.  And a big 'thank you' to the over 900 individuals and corporations that have made a financial contribution."

 Brooke Biscoe, Arena Board Chair

Leaside Memorial Community Gardens.

 Flyer for Laugh out Loud in Leaside -- Act Three


Arena Expansion Update – Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There is no word at this time as to a start date for the construction.  The City has agreed to let us continue to use the old Film Board parking lot until it is needed for the construction. 

A notice will be posted here as soon as we know we will be losing access to the Film Board parking lot. 

It is not too early to start carpooling!

Stay tuned!



Arena Expansion Update – Friday, September 16

There is not a lot new to report at this time, but here is some information to keep in mind once construction starts.

-          We will lose access to the old Film Board parking lot.

-          Access to the Club will be through the Arena.  You will need to enter at the Main Arena entrance, walk through the arena and then across the front of the pool building to get to the Club.  The route will be well signed. 

-          Wheelchair access will be maintained throughout the construction (the arena passageway will have ramps where needed)

-          Parking on site will be extremely limited.

Check out the Carpool service link on the website main page, start early, avoid the rush.




The City Committee of Adjustment approved the site plan with 288 parking spaces, which is a win for everyone (one proposal had only 260 parking spaces).

Latest word on the project is that they plan to have the RFP for the construction of the new Arena  sent out in September, with the hopes of having ‘shovels in the ground’ around the end of October.  Once construction starts, parking on site will be VERY limited.  Information on alternative parking sites, street parking and carpooling will be posted on the website soon.

Demolition of the old Film Board building is complete.   Access to the old Film Board Parking Lot will depend on the construction schedule (stay tuned for more information as it becomes available).



We had a joint meeting with the arena expansion group this week and have the following updates.

  • They are making good progress with their fund raising and still have $600K to raise by this summer. A community request will be distributed in the surrounding area in the next couple of weeks.
  • The plans for the arena are still working their way through the various approval processes and will probably go to Committee of Adjustment in June. They will need a variance for parking spaces. As reported earlier, the site requires 306 spots but currently has 280 – 290 spots. The number of spots is partially affected by the trade off of 1 versus 2 entrances/exits from the property.
  • The arena expansion group will host a June meeting with representatives from all user groups (hockey, skating, pool, curling, bridge etc.) to discuss how each group will manage the reduced on site parking during the construction period.
  • The film board building demolition will start within 30 days. The current schedule for the arena building is to have the shovel in the ground in September.

Gail Walker





Parking for the completed site remains projected at 280 spots, which is +70 spots versus the current combined parking of 1073 and 1075 Millwood. There will be 2 exits - the current one at the lights and a “right in/ right out” close to the film board driveway.

I expect to have the current drawings available for our AGM on April 21st.

Gail Walker

VP & Director of Community Relations




Representatives of LLC’s board are working with the arena board to co-ordinate major events dates for the 2011-12 season. Our objective is to have only one major event at any given time to minimize the strain on the parking demand.

Fund raising for the arena continues as they still need to raise $1M before August in order to proceed with the project.

There has been no further news on the approval process for the designs 

Gail Walker

VP & Director of Community Relations




The key challenge as the arena designs move towards approval is that the parking spaces required for zoning (which matches the parking being requested by LCC) is being challenged by various review groups.

To maximize parking, we require a large parking lot with none of the “humanizing” features such as breaking the expanse of pavement with groupings of trees and bushes. Groups such as the Design Review Panel or the Toronto Green Standards may request that parking be reduced in favour of trees etc. If this happens, the design will go to Committee of Adjustment and the membership of LCC will once again be called upon to support adequate parking for our facility.

I will keep you posted!

Gail Walker

VP & Director of Community Relations




City Council has improved funding for the Leaside Arena Expansion project. In summary, Council approved the project at an estimated cost of $9.5 million of which $7 million will come from a loan from the city to be repaid through future operating revenues, and $2.5 million must be raised by the community. The fund raising committee for the arena announced that they are 50% of the way to their goal but will still need substantial support from the Leaside community to complete fund raising by August.

The project is continuing to proceed through the various levels of the planning process and is expected to go through the Committee of Adjustments before getting the green light.

Gail Walker

VP & Director of Community Relations




We have good news to report. On February 2nd, the LCC Arena Expansion Committee met with Peter Klambauer. Peter works for Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation and is the project manager for the Leaside Memorial Gardens Arena expansion. The two key areas of discussion were parking for the new complex and the possible eastward expansion of the curling club.

Current parking plans should generally meet the needs of complex. The concerns of the curling club have been heard and the city is taking steps to increase the parking capacity over the plans presented in November. Moving some locker rooms and other facilities to the lower level has reduced the footprint for the new ice pad. Peter shared some interim drawings that dramatically increased the amount of parking spots. While he cautioned that the plans must go through several departments for review, he believes that we will net a minimum of 280 spots – a 33% increase over today. (The current combined 1073 & 1075 properties have 211 spots.) A city funded parking study is currently being conducted to confirm the needs of the future complex.

There will be more of a community feel to the new complex. City planners have requested two major changes to enhance the community feel to the complex. First, the arena will have an entrance that opens onto the courtyard with the curling club and pool entrances, providing the feeling that all of the facilities are equals in the complex. Second, there will be an indoor hallway from the main arena entrance to the back courtyard entrance, providing better access for people arriving on foot or by TTC 

LCC will not be able to expand on the east or west sides of our building. Peter reviewed the current regulations for building adjacent to railway tracks. Basically, you must have a set back of 100 feet from the property line. If you wish to build closer, you must erect crash barriers strong enough to deflect a derailed rail car. These barriers are prohibitively expensive. The curling club is built right to the southern property line, which abuts the railway property. The 100-foot setback would mean that any possible expansion would be restricted to the area opposite sheets G and H that is currently the entrance/foyer and the office.  Should we wish to expand our locker rooms in the future, we would need to develop plans to expand to the north side of our building, wrapping behind the swimming pool for one locker room with the current facilities being redesigned into one larger area. Such an expansion is not currently being considered.

Gail Walker

VP & Director of Community Relations




LCC has had a good conversation with the City Zoning Examiner to highlight our concerns surrounding the most recently presented arena plans. The examiner was not previously aware of the use of 1075 Millwood for overflow parking.  We have initiated the appropriate communication from the Parks, Forestry & Recreation department to confirm our use of 40 spaces. This will help us to ensure that accurate figures are being used to calculate the required number of incremental spaces for the new ice pad.

The PF&R Project Manager for the arena will be meeting with the LCC arena sub-committee on Feb. 2nd to provide more updates on the current plans.

Gail Walker

VP & Director of Community Relations




There has been no news to report over the Christmas period. The arena architects have been revising the plans in light of the public meeting and subsequent discussions with City departments.  The key changes will be:

1) The new construction will have a slightly smaller footprint, which will be achieved by moving some of the facilities, such as locker rooms, underground. This should increase the parking area but we do not know how significant this change will be.

2) The design should reinforce a community feel for the complex by embracing the access to the pool and our club. We expect an interior corridor from the main entrance, between the rinks, leading to a second door onto the court where our main door is located.

The architects are scheduled to present revised plans to the arena board this week.

 The arena is running a “Laugh Out Loud in Leaside” fundraising event on January 28th. Details are available at www.leasidearena.com.

 Gail Walker

VP & Director of Community Relations




On November 30th, there was a well-attended public consultation meeting about the proposed second ice pad for Leaside Memorial Gardens. Our club was well represented and I thank everyone that was available to attend. The Arena Board & City have selected an architect and are preparing to move this project through the planning process. They hope to start construction in August 2011 with completion 12 months later. More information about the project is available at: leasidearena.com.

Several concerns were raised and answered as follows:

  1. Adequate Parking - The architect is looking at ways to maximize the number of parking spots. He stated that the new arena would require an additional 100 spots. There are currently 171 spots on the 1073 Millwood property and a further 40 at 1075 Millwood for a total of 211.  The current plan has 240 spaces. This leaves a shortfall of 71 spaces or 23%.  However, the architect & city planner had not taking into account the parking at 1075 Millwood and projected a shortfall of only 31 spaces or 13%. They were advised that the curling club had been parking at 1075 Millwood for at least 10 years. A formal parking assessment is a necessary step for the approval of this project and your curling representatives will be taking an active part.
  2. Access From The Leaside Community And TTC Stops – A request was made to minimize the walking distance from the starting point of the driveway to the entry to the pool and curling club with a possible route being inside the arena, between the 2 ice pads. This was duly noted.
  3. Access To The Curling Club During Construction – Actual construction logistics will be planned after the builder is selected. However, we will experience disruptions next year and likely will not be able to drive to the door. Access will be open for emergency vehicles.
  4. Expansion of the Curling Club Facilities – Several curlers expressed concern that the current plans would preclude the future expansion of the curling club either for a second ice shed with 8 sheets or a wider lounge and enlarged locker rooms. Unfortunately, the current building code precludes new construction within 100 feet of rail lines without very expensive crash barriers. An alternative expansion option would be the green space behind the swimming pool. Councilor Parker also reminded the audience that most of the funding for the new ice pad was coming from private sources (fund raising and future cash flow projections) and not from the city. If the curling club wants to expand, the source of funds would need to be addressed and we would need to go through city assessments to confirm the need for these changes. It has taken the arena 10 years to get this far.

Next Steps – The Board has formed a committee to specifically keep a close watch on this process and represent the concerns of the member of the Leaside Curling Club. This Committee is comprised of Neil Anderson, Donna Mayer plus Board members Gail Ann Ferguson, Rob Harling and me. Watch for regular bi-weekly updates both on the website and on the office bulletin board.

Gail Walker

VP & Director of Community Relations