Rideau Canal Skateway shelters

Rideau Canal Skateway shelters

Yesterday’s controversy is today’s pride, as the NCC’s $750,000-a-piece shelters on the Rideau Canal Skateway won the bronze award for specialized sports, leisure and recreation facilities from the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities and the International Olympic Committee

That’s a mouthful of a title with a heavy emphasis on sports, leisure and recreation facilities, and they believe the NCC and CSV Architects, the architectural firm behind the design, were right on the mark:

“These removable changing and washroom facilities impressed the jury with their design simplicity and attractiveness,” the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities and the International Olympic Committee said. “They show perfectly that even in sensitive environments it is possible to find solutions that make leisure activities more attractive.”

“The jury congratulates the NCC and the city of Ottawa for realizing this project (and) creating a place of healthy living. This example invites other cities around the world to follow this path of enhancing seasonal recreational activities in dense urban environments.”

From the Ottawa Citizen article:

The NCC installed the chalets at the cost of $5.24 million – or about $750,000 for each shelter — four years ago to replace the dilapidated wood structures that had been used since the 1970s.

At the time there was some controversy about the price, with some objecting that the money, which came from the Conservative government’s infrastructure stimulus fund, could have been better spent elsewhere.

The NCC, however, defended the spending, saying that the structures, with their four change rooms and three washrooms, would last 35 years and require lower maintenance costs.

At six-metres wide and 18-metres long, the glass-walled, curved-roof shelters were certainly roomier than the old ones. More than 40 people could sit on the benches inside to put on skates or to defrost. The open porches outside provide seating for another dozen skaters.

Energy-efficient design features included radiant heating panels in the ceilings, fluorescent and LED lighting, and suction system toilets such as those on planes and trains that use minimal amounts of water.

Veteran canal skaters, while nostalgic about the old shacks, appreciated the new shelters, finding them warm, spacious as well as attractive.

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