Toronto’s construction industry certainly put the pedal to the metal in the leadup to this past summer’s Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. As a result, the city is now home to a host of major new developments, including an airport shuttle service, a full-blown waterfront neighbourhood, and several world-class sports facilities. While many of these venues are now open to amateur community athletes, one particular Pan Am legacy project is a striking design that even the exercise-averse will want to check out.
Kleinfeldt Mychajlowycz Architects’ BMX Supercross Track is Canada’s first Union Cycliste Internationale-certified raceway. Located in Centennial Park, a green oasis in Toronto’s Etobicoke area, the 517-metre dirt road combines the kinds of sharp berms and steep jumps that ensure rip-roaring bike races.
But the course proves to be a draw even when not in use, thanks to the eye-catching steel-and-concrete structure that frames its two start ramp platforms (one is built 10 metres high for pros; the other five metres high for beginners). As sunlight pours in through the pergola-like metal canopy roofs overhead, an elegant striped shadow pattern forms on the surfaces below. A sheltered area built below the highest platform serves as park storage space.
Extending out from this towering new addition, a 27-metre-long concrete retaining wall slopes down from the top of the highest start ramp to meet the neighbouring field at grade and integrate the sports facility into the surrounding park landscape.
Another impressive design feature is easy to miss: a complex underground drainage system ensures that the site dries within 30 minutes of rainfall – meaning motocross riders needn’t wait long to hop back on their bikes and get racing.