The Walker family and Walker Industries, in partnership with the cities of St. Catharines and Thorold, Brock University and Niagara Region, are pleased to announce a substantial contribution that will see the sport and recreation complex at Canada Games Park named the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre.
The agreement, which also names the Walker Founders Plaza located on the site, was announced by Geordie Walker on behalf of his family at a naming event on July 19 near the facility. The generous $3 million donation from the Walker family will ensure the world-class sport facility will be available to all Niagara residents for decades after the games have ended.
The Walker Sports and Abilities Centre, located adjacent to Brock University’s main campus in Thorold, is a 210,000 square-foot facility that consists of a sport performance centre, a health and well-being centre, a twin-pad arena, a 200-metre indoor walking and running track, sport offices, and a multipurpose fieldhouse with a parasport gymnasium. Additionally, six competition beach volleyball courts and a 400-metre international track and field facility will be located outside.
Construction on the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre is progressing well, with substantial completion expected by Oct. 6, 2021 and construction activities fully completed by the end of January 2022.
The Walker family are fifth generation owners of Walker Industries, the 134-year-old Niagara institution. Beginning in Thorold as Walker Brothers Quarries in 1887, the company has grown into a provider of a number industrial products and services. The Walker family has a long history of philanthropy and generous giving in Niagara, including a $5 million donation for the Walker Family Cancer Centre located at the St. Catharines hospital, a $1.5 million gift to Brock University and $1 million towards the Walker Family YMCA in St. Catharines.
The facility is a major legacy piece of the 2022 Summer Games, and in addition to the Walker family’s substantial contribution, the project is jointly funded by the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the Canada Games Park Consortium partners: Niagara Region, City of Thorold, City of St. Catharines and Brock University.
Held every two years, the Canada Games brings together up-and-coming Canadian athletes from across Canada. Next year’s Canada Summer Games begins August 6, 2022 after a one-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sports and recreation play a critical role in the physical and mental well-being of Canadians and is woven into the very fabric of every community in Canada. Therefore, we are very proud to support this unique facility and the long-term legacy it will create in Niagara.” - Geordie Walker
“I would like to thank Geordie Walker and the Walker family for their generous donation towards this world-class facility. The 2022 Canada Summer Games will be a historic event for Niagara and this facility will become part of the lasting legacy of the games for future generations of Niagara residents. This is just the latest example of the Walker family’s generosity, and on behalf of all Niagara residents, I want to express our gratitude and thanks.” – Regional Chair Jim Bradley
“The Walker family and Walker Industries have been generous donors to many community projects helping us build strong, resilient and vibrant communities. This donation further demonstrates Walker’s commitment to community building and making an impact in Niagara. Thank you to Geordie and the entire Walker family. We are very proud of this partnership and of Walker’s continued leadership.” - Mayor of St. Catharines Walter Sendzik
“I cannot thank Geordie Walker and the Walker family enough for their continued generosity and for always keeping the Niagara region at the forefront of their philanthropic efforts. This is a true example of progress, where we as a City are no longer operating in isolation, but are working in collaboration with the private sector, our neighbouring municipalities, post secondary institutions and upper levels of government. The impact of hosting the 2022 Canada Summer Games will not end next summer, but will continue moving forward because of legacy facilities like the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre and the Walker Founders Plaza.” - Mayor of Thorold, Terry Ugulini
“Thanks to the generous support of the Walker family, current and future generations of Niagara residents and Brock students will be the beneficiaries of the Canada Summer Games legacy. As a founding partner of the Games, Brock University is honoured to welcome the Walker family as we work as a community to celebrate these once-in-a-generation opportunities. The Walker Sports and Abilities Centre is a most fitting addition to the Brock campus gateway.” – Lynn Wells, Brock University
“We are very grateful to the Walker family for their generous contribution to this tremendous legacy facility being built as a result of Niagara hosting the 2022 Canada Summer Games. With the Games now only a year away, we are very excited about the opportunity to welcome our country to Niagara and to showcase this new state-of-the-art facility, along with Niagara’s world-renowned hospitality and its rich, diverse, and unique communities on a national stage.” – Doug Hamilton, Chair, Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games Host Society