New Westmount sports centre boasts first underground rinks

Canada’s first underground skating rinks will be open to the public next month, on the island of Montreal.
The Westmount Recreation Centre will have an outdoor underground pool. Instead of building an indoor pool as well, the city decided to invest in the nearby YMCA pool. ((CBC))

Canada’s first underground skating rinks will open to the public next month, on the island of Montreal.

The City of Westmount today inaugurated the two NHL-sized rinks, which are the centrepiece of a new $40-million sports complex set to open in October.

Two NHL-sized skating rinks in the new Westmount Recreation Centre will be the first underground rinks in Canada. (CBC)

There’s still sawdust on the floors, unpainted walls and an outdoor swimming pool remains unfinished, but Westmount Mayor Peter Trent still led reporters on a tour of the facility as part of the Westmount Recreation Centre’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“I can’t wait to show Westmounters what we’ve done,” Trent told Daybreak this morning.

Boasting a gold LEED certification for its sustainable construction, the athletic complex features a stormwater retention basin and, according to the city, requires little electricity to heat or cool because of its underground construction.

That was the point, the city said.

“At 10 metres underground, the temperature is a constant 15 C year-round,” reads a detailed description of the project.

Westmount Mayor Peter Trent unveiled the new sports complex today. (Leah Hendry/CBC)

Trent said the fact that the underground project freed up 1.5 acres of greenspace in the Westmount Park above was a major bonus.

Partial funding for the project came from the federal and provincial governments in the form of grants worth $20 million, while $6 million came from donations.

The remaining $14 million will be borne by Westmounters via a two per cent tax increase over the next 10 years.

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