Maple Leaf Gardens project to cost $60M

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By Amit Shilton

The transformation of Maple Leaf Gardens into Ryerson’s new athletic centre will cost $60 million if approved, the Eyeopener has learned.

Should Ryerson be successful in acquiring part of Maple Leaf Gardens as the site for a new sports and recreation facility, Loblaw Companies Limited and the Weston family have agreed to work with the University on a joint private sector fundraising campaign to raise $20 million. That contribution would match the $20 million the school will get from the referendum question on a new athletic centre that passed last year.

“We still don’t know the answer to the third leg of the story,” Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said.

Ryerson is still waiting to hear how much money they can score from the federal government.

“We’re not really negotiating. It’s like we’re prodding,” Levy said. “We’re sitting on the edge.”

Under the current renovation plans, the school would take residence in the top two levels of the three-storey building. A Loblaw supermarket will take up the entire main floor of the Gardens.

Ryerson’s hockey team will play their games on the building’s third floor under the historic rafters. The rink will be accompanied by championshipsized volleyball and basketball courts.

The Gardens’ second floor will house student facilities like a women’s only gym, high performance centre and studios.

Former Toronto mayor and Maple Leaf Gardens advocate John Sewell doesn’t think the building will lose its integrity if the ice isn’t at its original level.

“I think the rink would be put right under the dome where it’s traditionally been. The fact that it’s up a floor or two, I don’t think it matters at all,” he said.

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