Ryerson University Announces $15 Million Donation From Philanthropist Peter Gilgan For Athletic Centre At The Gardens

One of the largest gifts ever received by Ryerson University

TORONTO, Nov. 29, 2011 /CNW/ - Sheldon Levy, president and vice-chancellor of Ryerson University announced today that philanthropist and business leader Peter Gilgan, Founder and CEO of Mattamy Homes, has contributed $15 million to Ryerson University for its new state of the art sports facility currently in construction at the historic site of the former Maple Leaf Gardens. Mr. Levy and Mr. Gilgan were joined by John Carmichael, Member of Parliament for Don Valley West, representing the Government of Canada, and Ryerson students, who have contributed significant funding to the project.

At over 220,000 square feet (20,000 square metres) the new Peter Gilgan Athletic Centre more than doubles the amount of athletic and recreational facilities on Ryerson's campus. The facilities will feature a full-sized ice rink to be known as the Mattamy Home Ice, a multi-purpose court for basketball and volleyball, a fitness centre, studios, and a high-performance gym. The facilities will be accessible to both Ryerson's students and the local community.  Construction is expected to be completed in spring 2012.

"The vision of transforming this historical, iconic building -- affectionately known as the Gardens -- began with the generosity of Ryerson's students and the Government of Canada," said Levy. "I know that two of Peter Gilgan's children are graduates of Ryerson, two more are current students, and I'm very pleased that Peter has chosen to support Ryerson in this way. Peter's wonderful generosity will benefit Ryerson students, our community and our city for years to come."

"The Gardens holds such wonderful memories and historical significance for Toronto and Canada," said Peter Gilgan.  "I am delighted to play a part in the transformation of this iconic treasure that not only respects its rich heritage but also ensures the next generation will enjoy it all over again as a much needed community hub of sports, activity and fitness."

"Our government is proud to invest in the revitalization of this important historic building," said John Carmichael, Member of Parliament for Don Valley West, on behalf of the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. "Thanks to Canada's Economic Action Plan and our committed partners, this project created jobs and economic growth in downtown Toronto, and will strengthen our community for many years to come."

The renovation of the Gardens was made possible in part by funding from the Government of Canada.  Federal funding for one-third of total eligible project costs will be contributed through the Infrastructure

Stimulus Fund, to a maximum federal contribution of $20 million, for costs incurred up to October 31, 2011.  Ryerson students will also contribute $20 million through a student levy approved in 2009.

Of the "Original Six" NHL hockey arenas, the Peter Gilgan Athletic Centre is the only facility to retain a skating rink. Four of the original six rinks have been demolished (Boston, Chicago, Detroit and New York). The Montreal Forum was converted into shops, restaurants and a movie theatre.

The Mattamy Home Ice rink, on the third level of the Peter Gilgan Athletic Centre, is 100 feet below the iconic dome of the Gardens and 50 feet above street level, making it the highest elevated skating rink in Toronto. The ice surface is comprised of two slabs, a heating layer and an insulation layer, which can maintain separate, optimal temperatures for ice hockey and for figure skating.

For dozens of Ryerson Rams athletes, the new Peter Gilgan Athletic Centre at the Gardens will mean easier access to an ice rink on campus where they can practice and play. Currently men's and women's hockey teams, as well as the figure skating team, have been travelling to George Bell Arena in the city's west end for practices and games.

"For as long as I've been at Ryerson, our hockey and figure skating teams haven't had ice available near our campus for practice or for games, and our varsity gym is cramped," said Carli Yim, a senior member of Ryerson's women's varsity volleyball team. "All of the athletes cannot wait to work out, practice and play in this amazing new facility. We'd like to extend our thanks to Mr. Gilgan for his generosity. It's going to be a thrill to play in such a historic building."

Peter Gilgan has a long history of philanthropic initiatives in support of health and wellness, recreation and athletics, and higher education.  He has donated millions of dollars to many charitable institutions including the Oakville YMCA, Sheridan College, George Brown College, Trillium Health Centre, William Osler Health Centre, Markham Stouffville Hospital, and the Wellspring Cancer Support facility.  Last year, Mr. Gilgan was the lead donor to the new Oakville Hospital with a $10 million donation for the new hospital.

Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 28,000 students, including 2,300 master's and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more than 140,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada's leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca

SOURCE Ryerson University

For further information:

MEDIA CONTACT:
Michael Forbes, Ryerson University
416-979-5000, ext. 4282
cell: 416-999-3069
michael1.forbes@ryerson.ca

If you require this in another format, please contact Ryerson University Public Affairs at 416-979-5000 x 7134.


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