Rexall Centre a good ‘match’ for York and tennis


Above: The new Rexall Centre at York University    
As construction of the new Rexall Centre at York University nears completion, the excitement about the centre’s inaugural event, the Tennis Masters Canada tournament, continues to grow. From July 24 to Aug. 1, the best in men’s tennis will unveil the Rexall Centre. The international tournament will feature some of the top men’s players on the circuit. Defending champion Andy Roddick, world number one Roger Federer, French Open finalist Guillermo Coria and the legendary Andre Agassi are anticipated in this year’s main draw.

In preparation for the tournament and its star line-up, crews have been working round the clock to put the finishing touches on the centre.


Above: The view from one of the hospitality suites

The official relocation last week of Tennis Canada’s offices into the new centre has established an air of permanence to the facility. The landscaping, paving of the parking areas, testing of the public address system, and final installation of lighting for the grandstand, practice courts and walking paths are all being completed.

With an estimated cost of $45 million, the new Rexall Centre at York University offers a world-class venue with a 12,500 Centre Court stadium that has the flexibility to expand to 14,500 seats. In addition to the Centre Court, there is a grandstand court, 10 outdoor practice courts and the Compass Group Centre of Excellence building, where there are four permanent indoor courts. Four of the outdoor courts can be enclosed in a bubble for winter use. The core 15-acre site will expand to more than 20 acres during the Canadian Open and, in addition to being the home of Tennis Canada, will house the Ontario Tennis Association.

Visitors to the new centre will enjoy some distinct comforts – the Centre Court stadium seats are comfortable with backs, arm rests and drink holders – as opposed to the bleachers used at the former facility. There are 6,000 premium seats in the lower bowl and 48 corporate hospitality suites overlooking the court. “The expected annual tournament attendance is 175,000,” says Isabelle Hodge, coordinator of media and public relations for Tennis Canada. “The tournaments themselves will have an impact of $134 million in economic activity for the Greater Toronto Area.” 

The facility is a crucial asset for the Ontario Tennis Association and a huge boost to the development of the sport in Ontario and for York University. Although the international championships drive the business enterprise each summer, the facility will be the hub for community programs, coaching courses, provincial and national junior and senior championships, local school programs and high-performance training programs during the balance of the year.

The location of the stadium within York’s Keele campus is the culmination of an association of international tennis with the University that began in 1976. For more information on the Rexall Centre at York University, visit the Tennis Canada Web site.