Markham residents will soon be running, splashing, laughing and enjoying a beautiful new state-of-the art community centre, uniquely planned to incorporate a significant variety of activities for all ages.
Designed by Perkins & Will and built by Bonfield Construction, the 122,000 square foot Aaniin Community Centre is located on over 8 acres on the north side of 14th Avenue just west of Markham Road. The name Aaniin (pronounced Ah-knee), meaning hello / welcome in Ojibwe, has significant meaning for the centre, which will be a welcome place for families to congregate and play, as well as a place for residents to become engaged in their community.
“The design of the new Aaniin Community Centre + Library is inspired by its diverse community and was generated through extensive consultation with community stakeholders and the general public. The design is conceived around a massive wood roof which pulls together the various diverse programs and uses in one bold and unifying gesture,” said Perkins+Will principal Duff Balmer.
The unique design element within Aaniin CC is the presence of an atrium, outfitted with the state of the art audio and video equipment and can serve as a gathering space where the community can watch sporting events occurring within the community and worldwide. The atrium can also be used for performances. Space can be customized with a circular centre stage, where audiences can view the performance around the stage and also from above the atrium, where an overhang perimeter supports audiences to view the atrium from all angles within the community centre.
“At the heart of the design is an open stage that enables the main common space to be transformed into a flexible event space,” Balmer added.
“Designed with amphitheater style seating steps, enhanced AV equipment, and acoustics, this space exemplifies the main purpose of the facility,” he said.
Elsewhere in the community centre, the swimming area will include a 25 meter, 6 lane swimming pool, a warm leisure pool and whirlpool with a capacity of 30 people.
Several additional unique features are sure to delight adventurers, including a rock climbing wall built into the main pool. The indoor playground and multi-sensory room will appeal to children of all ages. Featuring 4,000 feet in size, it will have slides, climbing stations, tunnels, and riding toys. The triple gymnasium space will be home to a variety of active sports and activities including both registered and drop-in. The youth room will be open immediately after school and have 60” televisions, multiple PS4 Playstations, computers, Wi-Fi access, and a group study area. A teaching kitchen will be home for a variety of general and specialty cooking classes for all ages.
The older adult room will be the host for a variety of older adult-friendly activities including Tai Chi, line dancing, card playing, mild mobility exercises and socializing. The 150 meter walking and running track will overlook the triple gymnasium. The fitness centre will feature all the strength, cardio and supporting fitness equipment.
Since 2013, there have been over 100 people working on the project. Once it’s opened, the Aaniin Community Centre will employ 12 full-time staff and over 250 part-time staff.