After years of construction and delays, an east-end Toronto community is looking forward to the opening of a new YMCA.
The Steve and Sally Stavro Family YMCA is located on Kingston Road at Balsam Avenue — the former location of East City YMCA, which served the community for decades.
“I would like to appreciate the patience of the community,” said Mehdi Zobeiry, general manager of the new facility.
Construction on the site started in 2015, and residents were frustrated when the initial 2020 opening date was delayed.
WATCH | CBC’s Talia Ricci toured the site to find out what the new YMCA has to offer:
“It has taken a long time, obviously COVID-19 really delayed us because there was a lot of equipment that needed to be installed,” he said.
The nearly 64,000-square-foot space boasts the latest gym equipment, a pool, fitness studios and a universal change room, Zobeiry says.
Accessibility was a big part of their plans, he adds. The 25-metre pool has a built-in ramp and a special wheelchair for assistance getting into the water.
“We want to make sure that everybody can have access to a good workout,” he said, demonstrating how a piece of equipment can be modified for someone who uses a wheelchair.
Above the facility is a condo building, which the area’s councillor, Brad Bradford, says is a good use of the land.
“We know we need more housing options for people, so to bring it together with a community amenity like the YMCA is a fantastic solution. It represents the best of city building, and I know people are really excited for them to throw open the doors and see what the new space is like,” Bradford said.
Doors officially open to the public on Aug. 15 but the facility is already offering tours to the community, which dozens of eager east-enders signed up for right away.