Vic Johnston Community Centre/Streetsville Arena
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
n historic Streetsville, Ontario, located along the banks of the Credit River, is a jewel of a facility, the Vic Johnston Community Centre. What began as a simple lacrosse box flooded by community activist Vic Johnston to provide a place for kids to skate was eventually built into an arena, which was completed in 1961. But by the early 2000s, it was in need of a significant overhaul.
Renovations took place over a little more than six snowy months, and the facility now provides greater accessibility, sustainability, ease of maintenance, improved security and circulation and more. Renovations provided new, safer arena boards, glass and netting, new insulation and cladding, new windows that take advantage of the tree-lined view into the adjacent river valley, and restoration of the original wood structure of the barrel roof. In addition, the changing rooms were made larger and more accessible, public spaces were enlarged and made brighter and more inviting, and the viewing facilities were enhanced and made more transparent. Circulation was also redesigned, providing better sightlines and allowing for an optional separation of arena and community center circulation.
Numerous community groups took part in helping make the project successful. The concept was to continue the strong legacy of the city to expand universal access, improve energy efficiency, quality and maintainability of public spaces, and to provide a first-class facility that embodies the architectural heritage of Streetsville.
The result is the emergence of a modern facility that preserves the original arena structure and maintains the historical vernacular. The use of open spaces and windows, and the resulting flow and transparency, offer a unique hockey experience, with natural light drawn deep into the public spaces. The exposed wood structure in the atrium and deep, inviting canopies rekindle the warmth of the arena's original wood structure.
Because it is situated along the top bank of a protected conservation area, measures had to be taken to preserve the surrounding environment. Landscaping uses native species, and the sod mix was carefully formulated to suit the Conservation Authority requirements, so as not to introduce invasive or cultured species. The outdoor melting area was also redesigned with permeable paving to deter erosion, which was previously a problem. All of these steps add up to a facility that fits into its landscape and serves as an example for the larger river rehabilitation scheme.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.vicjohnston.ca