East Lions Community Centre

London, Ontario
Construction Cost: $21 million (Canadian)
Area / Square Feet: 42,000
Occupancy Date: December 2021

The East Lions Community Centre and Park Master Plan represent a renewal of a mature park site. The approach deviates from the dominant North American trend of consolidation and regionalization of infrastructure — one based on the notion that “bigger is better” — by instead implementing a smaller-scale, second-generation reinvestment into an established and walkable community. 

The community center contains all programs on a single level. The lobby is a true social nucleus, with exterior entries on three orientations that offer direct access to all programs: the aquatics center’s leisure and lap pools, a gymnasium, multipurpose and activity rooms, a reading lounge, a community kitchen, and art studios that include a large weaving studio for the East London Artisans. Replete with natural light from its park-facing clerestory glazing, the lobby is further animated by expansive views into the gym and natatorium. It is a neighborhood “living room” designed for lingering and socializing, with a massive community hearth fireplace as a symbolic and functional focus for gathering. The interior and exterior draw inspiration from the local craft guilds that utilize spaces within the building. 

Working with the community, the design team looked to Anni Albers and her paradigmatic work exploring honest materials. Interiors feature the textures and patterning offered by materials such as wood, concrete and ceramic tile, with the integrity of their raw form highlighted as much as possible. The building’s mass is mitigated and enlivened by a syncopated pattern of vertical standing-seam metal panels in varying shades of gray. On the pool and gym elevations, double-height angled and perforated panels provide shade, reduce glare and contribute a textile-like surface that becomes diaphanous at night, revealing the life within.

Architect of Record

MJMA Architecture & Design 

Toronto, Ont.


Locker/Shower - Shower/Toilet PartitionsBobrick Washroom Equipment Inc. 
Locker/Shower - FlooringDal-Tile
Pools - Deck/Basin SurfaceDal-Tile
Pools - GuttersEmco (grating)
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Wall PaddingForum Athletic Products
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Divider CurtainsForum Athletic Products
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Basketball Backboards/SupportsForum Athletic Products
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Floor CoversForum Athletic Products
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Volleyball Nets and StandardsForum Athletic Products
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Scoreboards/Timing SystemsForum Athletic Products
Locker/Shower - LockersLincora
Pools - Filtration SystemsNeptune-Benson
Pools - Scoreboard/Timing SystemsOES Inc.
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Scoreboards/Timing SystemsOES Inc. 
Pools - Lane MarkersRainbow
Pools - Lane MarkersRecreonics Inc.
Indoor Sports Surfaces - BasketballRobbins Sports Surfaces
Indoor Sports Surfaces - MultipurposeRobbins Sports Surfaces
Indoor Sports Surfaces - VolleyballRobbins Sports Surfaces
Pools - Ladders/Grab BarsSpectrum Aquatics