$10-million upgrades at Welland Pan Am Flatwater Centre include
multi-sport training tank
WELLAND, ON, July 10, 2013 /CNW/ - With packed stands and fans cheering
them on, Canadian Olympian Mark Oldershaw and defending Pan Am champion
K.C. Fraser raced down the canal at the Welland Pan Am Flatwater Centre
today, officially opening the site of canoe sprint races for the
TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games.
The athletes, who both hope to compete for gold here in 2015, also took
part in the ribbon cutting for the $10-million facility, which will be
the first venue completed for the Games. The improvements to the venue
were jointly funded by the Government of Canada and the City of
"It's wonderful to be back racing on the water here and see all the
amazing upgrades for the Games. Welland was great before but now it's
truly a world-class facility," said Oldershaw, who won bronze for Team
Canada at the London 2012 Olympic Games and eagerly looks forward to
competing in front of hometown fans in 2015.
During the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games, up to 5,000 spectators will watch
120 top athletes as they take to the exceptionally calm waters of the
canal, originally used by massive ships transporting goods between the
Great Lakes of Ontario and Erie.
"Today, with two years to go to the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games, we're
officially opening our very first venue," said Ian Troop, chief
executive officer of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games
Organizing Committee (TO2015). "This is an incredibly exciting day for
the residents of Welland and our partners—we're witnessing the
beginning of a remarkable legacy for this city and Canadian athletes."
"Our Government proudly supports the 2015 Games, including the
redevelopment of the Welland Pan Am Flatwater Centre," said the
Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "This world-class
facility, one of several we're helping build for the Games, will leave
an important sport legacy that will assist in the training and
development of top Canadian paddlers, while also promoting the growth
of sport tourism in southern Ontario."
In preparation for the Games, TO2015 widened a section of the canal to
meet international competition standards, built two new buildings,
including a timing tower and the athlete centre, and added a plaza,
start towers and permanent seating for 500 spectators.
In addition, a state-of-the-art, multi-sport training tank has been
installed in the new athlete centre. The tank will enable Canadian
high-performance athletes and fledging local paddlers to perfect their
strokes in the off-season in a controlled testing environment against a
The tank is built to handle training for sculling, sweeping, canoe,
kayak and dragon boat. With two channels, which are separated by a
concrete divider that houses the shells for the different boats, the
tank can hold two canoes at a time, enabling athletes to train and race
against each other.
Given its uniqueness, the tank is expected to also draw international
teams to train in Welland during the winter months, an important
addition for enhancing the facility's international reputation and
drawing even more international competitions to the city.
This summer, Welland is hosting the 2013 International Canoe Federation
(ICF) Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships. In 2015, along
with the Pan Am Games, it will host the International Dragon Boat
Federation World Championships.
"Today marks a new beginning for the re-developed Welland Pan Am
Flatwater Centre. Welland will not only host exciting canoe sprint
events during the Games in 2015 - but these improvements will also
attract many other world-class international competitions to the
region," said Michael Chan, Ontario Minister Responsible for the 2015
Pan and Parapan American Games. "The Centre is a key part of the Games
legacy in Ontario serving as an excellent training facility for our
future stars and athletes."
Through its funding of the Games' operational budget, the Province of
Ontario is supporting short-term facility improvements (overlay) and
equipment at the venues.
Welland Mayor Barry Sharpe added: "I'd like to thank all of our partners
for making today possible. The canal is central to our history and with
these amazing enhancements, it's also the key to our future as an
international sport tourism destination and a vibrant, healthy, active
community. We're looking forward to welcoming the athletes of the
Americas when they compete here in 2015."
In 2015, Team Canada is expected to have a good showing at the Welland
Pan Am Flatwater Centre. At the Guadalajara 2011 Pan Am Games, Canadian
paddlers brought home four gold medals, two silver medals and a bronze.
Cuba was the top country in overall medal standings for canoe sprints.
The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015)
is tasked with the responsibility of planning, managing and delivering
the Games. Its mission is to ignite the spirit through a celebration of
sport and culture. The TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games will take place
July 10−26 and the Parapan American Games August 7-14.
The 2015 Games are funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of
Ontario, as well as other partners and sponsors. CIBC is the Lead
Partner of the Games.
For more information about the Games, please visit TORONTO2015.org.
SOURCE: Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games
For further information:
Director, Media Relations and Chief Spokesperson, TO2015