The Caledon Equestrian Centre

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HFH Inc. updates site to accommodate PanAm Games, provide lasting community legacy

GTA Construction Report staff writer

The Town of Caledon, located in the Regional Municipality of Peel, is home to the newly upgraded world-class Caledon Pam Am Equestrian Park. Designed to support the 2015 PanAm Games, the park will continue to serve the community long after the games conclude, expanding and improving community services as it continues to host prestigious international annual equestrian events.

Constructed by HFH Inc., the Town of Caledon along with its partners, TORONTO2015, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and the Equestrian Management Group (EMG), have retrofitted and redesigned the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park to host the equestrian portion of the TORONTO2015 Pan American Games including dressage and jumping. . The park additions include five all-weather sand/fibre rings, a new grand stand and pavilion, judges’ tower, indoor FEI stable, indoor competition/training arena, and community and administrative areas.

Sherry Brake, project manager with the Town of Caledon, says the site previously housed a single pavilion and typical exterior riding rings. She says, while the park has always been able to accommodate large numbers of riders, horses, and spectators, upgrades will now accommodate 3,700 spectators during the games, and much of the exterior-use space has been brought indoors, to allow for larger shows and an extended show season. “For the PanAm Games we committed to providing indoor space for 200 horses, which previously could be accommodated only in exterior stabling.”

Because of the project’s specific nature, Brake says the town invited bids from contractors with equestrian or barn backgrounds to ensure a quicker learning curve. HFH won the competition. “Not only did they have the experience we sought but in the end, they were able to provide us with a lot of advice and guidance along the way.”

HFH Inc. project manager Jordan Cellucci says the pre-engineered steel structure used for the indoor riding ring was critical to the project’s success, so his company searched province-wide for a company that could supply the needed material and handle the erection in a timely manner. Comsteel Building Solutions Inc. provided the solution.

Comsteel general manager Garry Carrier says the timelines were the most challenging aspect of the large pre-engineered building, which included the steel frame, grey metal cladding and painted roofing. “From sign-off on the job to actually shipping the steel we had less than 10 weeks and knowing this is a project the world will be seeing, you want to ensure everything is top notch.”

He says the required charcoal grey colour in itself proved a challenge as it had to be shipped in batches by the supplier as it was manufactured so it could be applied as it arrived.

Carrier says the town and project partners confirmed the building had to be functional for many future uses. He said the roof has been insulated to R20 because that would be more difficult to achieve later, while the walls had less stringent requirements.

“From design to construction we were working within a very tight timeframe because the project had to be done in time for the games,” Cellucci said. “We started Oct. 1 and it was a challenge to keep up to the schedule, especially during the winter months.”

He said the concrete work needed to be completed and floors poured before the winter freeze and then building components had to be closed in quickly to allow the large amounts of required lighting and fire suppression equipment.

“Everyone involved took the schedule and all of the specific requirements seriously because there were no options and it had to be done,” he said.

He says the large area required for the construction and upgrade efforts required close co-ordination with trades and material deliveries.

Carrier says his crews had to install the roof in the winter and were saved by pure chance. “We had a really bad storm that pushed work back and then a beautiful week of mild temperatures and no wind. We got 20 guys going and covered 75 per cent of the 65,000 sq. ft. roof done on one side and 70 per cent done on the other side during that week.”

The site has been designed to provide community value once the Pan Am Games conclude.

“The main stadium is 78,000 sq. ft. and offers great opportunity for legacy community use,” he said. “There are opportunities here after the games for an indoor riding arena to extend the season, and also for barn space to keep the horses safe and sheltered and where other complimentary services such as blacksmithing and veterinary could also be offered.”

Other features include a new Grand Prix ring that meets International Equine Federation (FEI) standards, top-of-the-line footing in the Grand Prix and warm-up rings and improved stabling.

Brake says the park already had systems and processes in place to handle related issues like manure. However, contractors hooked-up the previously well-water site to regional municipal services to accommodate the large crowds, and the septic system has been enlarged.

Brake says the town of Caledon, TRCA, EMG and TORONTO2015 were always at the table for the P3 project. “The Equestrian Management Group was very helpful and shared an important knowledge and background of equine that was important. The town also involved all to ensure processes moved along quickly.”

She says with the extra due diligence the town undertook to ensure everything was done properly, everything moved expeditiously to meet deadlines and there were no surprises along the way. “It was important that everyone at the weekly meetings had the authority to make decisions when changes had to be made and to accept new propositions. That kept the discussions and work moving forward.”

Before the park’s official turn-over on June 15, Brake said there had already been many tours. “Everyone is amazed that this has all come together so quickly and how it has transformed the property.”

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