SUDBURY — The proposed Greater Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame would be an interactive tourist destination focused not only on locals, but on prominent athletes from across northern Ontario, city council was told Wednesday.
Dave Petryna, chair of the hall of fame, said expanding the focus will not only help attract tourists from outside the city, but will help attract funding from upper levels of government.
“We're going to concentrate on sport from across Northern Ontario,” Petryna said. “We want to offer visitors an experience they will want to come back again. It's designed so you can't see it all in one visit.”
And the hall will be changing regularly, so it wouldn't be the same the second time someone visits.
An animatronic sculpture designed and built by a local robotics company will greet visitors as they enter the 8,000-square-foot facility.
"It comes to life and, in one of the official languages, greets you as you enter,” he said.
Another section will be devoted to Sudbury hall of fame athletes, with videos, news clips and other memorabilia. Another area will be devoted to the 70 locals who have competed in an Olympics.
In all, there will be nine “fun and educational” exhibits aimed at tourists. There will also be a 33-seat theatre that can expand to 100 for special events, a section on sports science, and an area where visitors can simulate playing a variety of sports.
Petryna said they plan to work with Science North to promote the science centre at the hall of fame, and vice versa.
“They are very committed and that's a partnership we're really looking forward too,” he said.
Ward 5 Coun. Bob Kirwan said he was impressed.
“This is absolutely what the city needs,” Kirwan said. “What is the total cost?”
Petryna said they went through that with KPMG and pegged the budget at $7.5 million.
“A large part of that can come from our government funders,” he said.
Costs will be shared between the city, the federal and provincial governments and local fundraising.
“There should be four people financing this,” Petryna said.
“This is one of the more exciting initiatives we have seen,” said Ward 11 Coun. Lynne Reynolds, who wondered how the facility would be integrated into the arena.
Petryna said there would be entrances inside the facility, as well as outside.
Mayor Brian Bigger said Sudbury has been trying to build a sports hall of fame for decades. With the events centre being built in the new Kingsway entertainment district, it becomes a more viable project.
“The challenge was with the other levels of government,” Bigger said. “The game-changer now is to have an events centre that will drive large numbers of people from all the venues on that site to your destination.”