Playing the name game

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By Mariana Ionova

News EditorBesides having brand new athletic facilities, Maple Leaf Gardens will also be equipped with a new name to reflect the partners involved in the project, according to Ryerson president Sheldon Levy.

The name will still incorporate the history of the building but it will also reflect the contributions that Loblaw and Ryerson have made to transform the site.

“There will be three names. Ryerson and Maple Leaf Gardens will be connected, that’s for sure,” Levy said, adding that the third name will give a nod to Loblaw.

But the exact name has not been decided upon yet, mainly because the university is focusing all its energy on completing the renovation.

“That hasn’t been exactly determined yet, how the alignment of the names will go,” said Levy.

“We are so occupied with getting it done that we find it has not been made a priority.”

He added that, while Ryerson is hoping to make MLG an identifiable part of the university, changing the exterior is a complicated process.

“To touch the outside of that building requires heritage approval,” Levy said.

The MLG renovation must be completed by March 31, 2011 since the federal government provided one third of the funding for the $60 million project with the condition that it is done by then.

“We are still planning substantial completion by the end of March and we anticipate that the arena will be in a few months later,” Levy said.

But no decision has been made as to when the completed MLG will be unveiled to the public.

Levy notes, however, that it will be a “major event” when it does happen.

“It involves whoever the sponsor is, the federal government, the provincial, municipal — this is the main, big event for the city.”

The renovated MLG will house a 70,000 square foot Loblaw store, a Joe Fresh studio and other retail on the ground floor and 150,000 square feet of sports and recreation space on the upper floors of the building. The athletics facilities will include an NHL-sized skating rink, a 200-metre running track, basketball and volleyball courts with approximately 1,200 seats, studios and a fitness centre. The centre will be open to Ryerson students, faculty and the general community.

Photo: Marta Iwanek

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