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Woolwich Memorial Centre

Elmira, Ontario, Canada

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects in Toronto

Size: 117,500 square feet

Project Cost: $22 million

Quick Tour:

  • Fitness
  • Pool hall, including six-lane, 25-meter pool and leisure basin
  • Twin-pad arena facility, including one 1,300-seat spectator arena
  • Indoor track
  • Multipurpose rooms
  • Seniors facility
  • Main concourse/viewing area
  • Office administration
  • Site, including public park, playing fields and track


ymbolizing strength, resiliency and generosity, the Woolwich Memorial Centre (WMC) in Elmira, Ontario, Canada, is more than just a recreation facility for residents. The WMC is the result of the Woolwich community's intent on celebrating the life of one of its hometown heroes—Dan Snyder.

Snyder was an NHL player killed in a car accident involving his friend and teammate, Dan Heatley, in 2003. The $22 million recreation facility turned tragedy into inspiration and was made possible in large part through fundraising initiatives and generous donations. The facility's spectator arena was named in Snyder's honor: the Dan Snyder Memorial Arena.

The WMC site is an open green zone directly west of the center of Elmira, overlooking a playing field and running track shared by the local high school. The twin pad arena component has a multipurpose, 1,300-seat arena that is home to the Elmira Sugar Kings Junior B Hockey Club. The area also can double as a convention and entertainment venue.

Located north of the playing field and running track, the aquatics and fitness areas overlook terraces shaded under a large-scale overhanging "verandah" roof. The pool hall houses a six-lane, 25-meter pool and a leisure basin with wide, shallow water steps.

The fitness component of the facility benefits from views to both the pool hall and the field to the south, and connects to the concourse/running track that forms the circulation system of the main arena. A major multipurpose room and senior facility form the civic corner to the facility.

The 117,500-square-foot recreation facility relied on a simple material palette of corrugated metal, wood, stone and colored glass to define spaces and enhance users' recreational experience. Transparent glazing and a simplified concourse organization provide great sight-line opportunities throughout the complex.

Sustainable design also played a critical role in the project's development. For example, large south-facing windows reduce lighting loads in the pool, while the roof overhang blocks the bright summer sun. The surplus heat from the arena refrigeration system and pool dehumidification systems are shared with other areas of the building through an energy-conserving loop system.


W H A T   T H E   J U D G E S   S A I D

"Partnerships are growing and certainly can be a prudent use of capital funds. Indoor aesthetics are pleasing."

Susan Wallover

"Very functional plan. There is a wonderful sculptural quality to the building, both exterior and interior. Strong visual composition in the interior spaces. A sense of openness from one activity to another."

Frank Beans

"Great use of a simple palette of materials inside and out. Use of color glass is exceptional."

Erik Kocherr

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