Could an international-calibre track cycling centre have long-term viability in Canada? That was a subject of hot debate when Southern Ontario was preparing to host the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. Two previous permanent full-size velodromes had been constructed in Canada for major sports events, but neither had proved a lasting success in a country with a relatively small audience for competitive cycling. (The Winnipeg Velodrome for the 1967 Pan Am Games was demolished in 1998, and the velodrome for the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympic Games was converted to non-sports use in 2003.)
Ensuring that facilities built for top-flight track cycling competitive events would meet a wide range of community uses in legacy mode was a key part of B+H Architects’ role as Master Planning and Planning, Design and Compliance (PDC) Sports Venue consultant for the 2015 Games. The specifications that B+H developed in this capacity for the Mattamy National Cycling Centre resulted in a facility with:
- A Siberian spruce wood cycling oval banked to be sufficiently fast for international competition, and yet also safe for less experienced riders
- An infield suitable for recreational basketball or volleyball—or for trade shows or wedding receptions for up to 1,800 people, for that matter—when the surrounding track is not in use for cycling events
- 1,500 permanent seats
- Milton’s first indoor walking/running track
- Two strength training and conditioning centres, both suitable for general community use or for technologically advanced cycling-specific training for top athletes
For the Town of Milton—Canada’s fastest-growing community—the Mattamy National Cycling Centre is a popular new recreational athletic facility. For Canada’s elite cyclists, it represents a homecoming: they now have a place in their own country where they can train for their sport at its highest level, as opposed to having to relocate to the United States or overseas.