Toronto City Council voted unanimously at its recent meeting to rename the Regent Park Aquatic Centre after the late Pam McConnell, former deputy mayor and councillor for Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale.
The renaming honours McConnell and her many contributions, with a career spanning seven terms as a city councillor. She served as Deputy Mayor, South and was selected by Mayor Tory in 2015 as the champion of the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. She also served as a member of the Government Management Committee, the Affordable Housing Committee, and the Toronto and East York Community Council as well as several other boards, committees and business improvement areas. She also was instrumental in getting the Regent Park Aquatic Centre built.
“The renaming of the aquatic centre honours Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell’s legacy,” said Mayor John Tory. “Pam McConnell was a diligent advocate for Toronto’s most vulnerable residents. She advocated for social justice, education and literacy and poverty reduction throughout her career. That’s why I was proud to appoint her as deputy mayor and the poverty reduction advocate to help us successfully implement the poverty reduction strategy. Her work helped move the city forward and keep the city affordable for all residents. She is missed immensely.”
“Pam made so many contributions to our communities. She was committed to building recreational opportunities for children and youth and keeping them affordable for low income residents, and I believe it is fitting that we name this aquatic centre after her,” said Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth). “In keeping with her work, this centre is a crucial part of the social infrastructure for the Regent Park neighbourhood and acts as an important hub for the community and builds bridges into the surrounding neighbourhoods.”
McConnell was a school teacher before becoming a school trustee in 1982. In 1994, she became a City councillor and spent countless hours working with residents and groups to build healthy communities for all Torontonians.
Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell passed away in Toronto at the age of 71 on July 7, 2017.
The Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre features a lap pool, leisure pool, therapy pool, Tarzan rope, diving board, modesty blinds, universal change rooms, green roof, waterslide, large sliding glass doors that open onto a sun terrace, and the first ultraviolet sanitation system in Toronto. The centre also provides the community with year-round access to swimming. Swim programs are geared to meet the community’s needs, with options for preschoolers to older adults.
Each year since its opening in 2012, the centre offers over 750 programs and 5,000 registered spaces including learn to swim programs, aquatic leadership and lifesaving programs, with more than 140,000 visits made by drop-in and registered participants within the community. All programming at the centre is available free of charge for residents. Staff will implement the renaming, including the installation of new signage, in the coming months.