DESIGNED FOR DIVERSITY
With 58 percent of its residents identifying as immigrants, Markham is one of the most diverse cities in Canada, and the Aaniin Community Centre was built with that in mind. The name “Aaniin” [pronounced ah-nee] means “hello” or “welcome” in Ojibway. The name was chosen to welcome Markham’s many diverse communities, to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, and to honor First Nations people. The facility was specifically designed to meet the needs of the diverse community, and features a broad array of fitness, wellness and community spaces including a business hub, a community hub, a makerspace, a branch library, a fitness center, an indoor playground, an indoor track and, of course, an aquatics facility.
The 122,000-square-foot, fully accessible LEED Gold facility is located on more than 13 acres of land and has state-of-the-art amenities and features. Anchored on either side by generous public plaza spaces and connected to a large district park along its eastern boundary, the center encourages a more urban and sustainable pattern of growth within this rapidly burgeoning part of the city.
The use of wood plays an important role in the project’s broader sustainable objectives. It was chosen for its renewable properties and its ability to be regionally sourced. It was also seen as the best choice of material given its low embedded energy, its clear benefits from a life cycle assessment perspective, and its ability to sequester carbon as a means of reducing and offsetting harmful carbon emissions.