Marvelously renovated Mountainside recreation complex now open. Well worth the ten year wait.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 26, 2014



It was pretty close to a ten year project but John Taylor, Councillor for Ward 3 knew that he would eventually be able to deliver for the residents of the Mountainside Community – and he has.

Mountainside entrace BEST Johnson and planner

Project Manager Jennifer Johnson point out a detail in the entrance area of the rebuilt Mountainside Recreation Centre that is now open to the public.

Last week the marvelously renovated Mountainside Recreation Centre was quietly opened for people in the community. Early in January there will be a public opening – but Jennifer Johnson, city Project Co-ordinator already knows how well the place is going to work.

While she was checking on some last day details she put on her figure skates and tested the rink. It has been some time since Jennifer has skated and gone up on her toes and used the picks to twist and turn on the ice. She had the sheet of ice all to herself – and made the best of it. She did not tell us if she took even one small fall on that perfect sheet of ice.

Mountainside -  Corridor - from reception to pool area

The corridor that integrates the swimming – splash pad areas with reception and the ice rink is finished in material that has the look and feel of wood.

Johnson was Project Manager for the Haber Recreational Centre in Alton where she worked with the Board of Education to bring in one of the few fully integrated collection of a high school, a recreational centre and a public library in a community that is in the process of finding itself. There are those in Alton who refer to that part of the city as the NEW Burlington.

After 18 months of construction, the newly renovated Mountainside Recreation Centre is completed. It is not your typical recreation centre with that cinder block look to it.

Mountainside outdoor side view driveway

There are parking lots at the bottom of the slight grade leading to the entrance of the Recreation Centre; a drop off bay and a small parking lot at the top of the site. The architects chose a very fitting blend of stone, brick and paneling that fits in with the wooded location.

ZAS Architects did the design work and produced something that looks and feel a little more like a mid-level resort location than a community centre with both outdoor pools and an ice rink.
The use of building material that has a finish resembling natural wood gives one the impression, and a look and feel of natural wood is everywhere.

The contract to build was awarded to Bondfield Construction Company Limited in May 2013. The cost for the project totaled $9.3 million, which included all the hard costs (construction) and soft costs, architect fees, permits, project administration, contingency and furnishings.

Mountainside - concession area

The concession area is set up so that hockey players and those using the pools and splash pad outside have access.

The job amounted to a complete revitalization and connection of the existing arena and pool house buildings into one integrated recreational complex that has two community rooms with screens and projection equipment, refrigerators and micro-wave ovens. These are rooms that small dances could be held in.

The customer service area is very pleasing – the concession is set up so that it can serve the people using the pools and splash pad area in the summer and the people using the ice rink in the winter.

Mountainside - ice rink with chnage rooms BEST

Change rooms on the left and a brand new sheet of ice.

The change rooms in the ice arena are as upscale as most of the golf clubs in the community. Hockey referees have their own change room with lockers.

The centre is built into the side of a small mountain. Tree planting, re-forestation, trail installations were part of the revitalization.
The facility is now open for ice rentals and community room rentals. The grand opening will take place on January 2, 2015.

The Mountainside community now has the recreation centre it has waited for – Councillor Taylor just might burst with pride when the place is officially opened.

Mountainside outside entrace - public rt spot

Entrance to the Mountainside Recreation Centre. Public art is being done.


It was not an easy project to bring to fruition.  Parks and Recreation wasn’t all that keen on the idea and a former city manager tried to kill the project at one point.  They don’t call John Taylor the dean of city council because he has a pretty face.  He slugged away to keep the project in the budget – next week his constituents   can celebrate his perseverance with him.

In the months ahead, work on the public art that Simon Frank, the Hamilton artist selected, will be going forward – it will be interesting to see how this addition to the city’s bank of public art works out.

There have been some clunkers in the past.

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1 comment to Marvelously renovated Mountainside recreation complex now open. Well worth the ten year wait.

  • D.Duck

    Haber centre encompasses a high school, public library, multiple gyms, out door playing fields and a skate park. Amazing facility. Brings the community together at all age levels………year round. About time someone brought to this all together in one location. Now, how about Aldershot transforming their high school into this kind of community centre?? Too bad a new public library was recently built on plains road.