Located in downtown Toronto, Regent Park is Canada's oldest and largest social housing project, built in the late 1940's. The community has historically been viewed as a transitional community for new immigrants, but due to social and physical planning ills, has contributed to the concentration of a socially marginalized population.
In 2005, a Regent Park Revitalization 12-year program began to redevelop the 69-acre site to be a vibrant mixed-use, mixed-income community. Completed in 2012, the Aquatic Centre is the key civic amenity and social heart of the new development; providing a year-round indoor pool complex that will serve the revitalized community, and surrounding established neighbourhoods.
Regent Park Aquatic Centre has been conceived as a 'Pavilion in the Park', very open at the base, and bisected lengthwise by a 'dorsal fin' of aquatic hall sky-lighting. It is a multi-purpose swimming pool facility that includes a 25m, 6-lane pool, leisure pool, tot pool, hot tub, slide, tarzan-rope, and diving board. Replacing an existing outdoor pool, the project was mandated to capture a feeling of transparency and connection to the outdoors.
The Aquatic Centre is the first facility in Canada to adopt the singular use of universal changerooms, no longer separating males and females, rather common changerooms with private change cubicles; addressing cultural and gender identity issues, while also enhancing the openness, safety, and visibility throughout the complex. The facility also offers a new level of accommodation with the addition of a complete system of aquatics hall screening for those cultural groups interested in privacy swims. The adoption of this new progressive feature along with the universal changerooms, the combination of fitness, leisure, and therapeutic aquatic uses, and the open and inviting design have greatly increased interest in the City's aquatic facilities and provides an important civic amenity to a once marginalized neighbourhood.