Peek inside the world's largest YMCA, recently opened in Calgary's Rocky Ridge neighbourhood

The world's largest YMCA, which opened mid-January in Calgary, drew accolades at its grand opening for its design — and for how quickly it's selling memberships.

Along with fitness facilities, Rocky Ridge YMCA includes theatre and innovative self-serve library

Rocky Ridge YMCA opens in northwest Calgary 0:59

The world's largest YMCA, which opened mid-January in Calgary, drew accolades at its grand opening for its design — and for how quickly it's selling memberships.

"It's so beautiful," Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Thursday as an opening celebration was held at the 284,000-square-foot, $192-million facility, Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge.

"What's more important than how beautiful it is, is how needed it is," the mayor said.

"It's one of four new rec centres that we've built since 2010 in Calgary."

He says the facility, which opened to the public in mid-January, is already making waves.

The $192-million facility includes courts, pools, a theatre and library, among other features. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

"They've already sold two or three times the number of memberships than the Y was expecting to sell here, showing there is an incredible demand here in northwest Calgary for this kind of facility, and I hope that it will serve as a place for community building for generations to come."

The facility was three years in the making.

"There is a theatre, which is an amazing addition to our YMCA family of amenities," said Shannon Doram, the president and CEO of YMCA Calgary. 

"We'll have music performances, theatre performances, dance and all kinds of arts programs.

The building's design was described as 'so beautiful' by Mayor Naheed Nenshi, among others. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

"We have a leisure ice and an NHL-size hockey ice, that we can rent to groups. This is one of the express libraries that allows people to order books to this location and come and take them out.

"There is an eight-lane pool, a wave pool and lazy river."

There are also universal locker rooms as well spaces for men and women.

As extensive as its offerings are, Rocky Ridge will only hold the title of the world's largest Y until later in 2018 — when construction is expected to be completed on the 330,000-square-foot Seton Recreation Facility in southeast Calgary.

With files from CBC's Monty Kruger