South Burnaby rec centre celebrates long-awaited grand opening

Click to play video: 'Burnaby residents celebrate new recreational centre'
Burnaby residents celebrate new recreational centre
A big celebration was held for a new facility in south Burnaby that residents have been waiting for. The Rosemary Brown Recreation Centre is officially open, and community reporter Safeeya Pirani was there for all the excitement – May 11, 2024

After years of delays, the new Rosemary Brown Recreation Centre in South Burnaby finally opened Saturday.

A celebration in honour of the occasion included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, family friendly activities, food trucks and more.

The City of Burnaby had previously announced the new facility would open in April.

“This will be a place where families gather to watch their kids take their first strides on the ice. This will be a place where young athletes get their start in sports,” Mayor Mike Hurley said at the event.

Located in the Edmonds area, the 92,000-square-foot rec centre boasts a variety of features.

“We’ve got two NHL-sized ice rinks and so we’ll have skating lessons (and) ice user groups during the day,” said James Lota, the City of Burnaby’s general manager of lands and facilities. “We’re probably going to have dry sports as well, so we can have pickleball, floor hockey, ball hockey.”

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Construction of the facility, which broke ground in 2019, was not without its troubles. It was originally scheduled to open in fall 2021, but supply chain issues during the pandemic forced the date to be pushed back multiple times.

Click to play video: '50 years since BC elected first Black MLAs'
50 years since BC elected first Black MLAs

The facility not only serves as a neighbourhood and sports hub, it also pays tribute to a leader and trailblazer in the community.

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It is named for Rosemary Brown, who was a social justice champion and the first Black woman elected to a provincial legislature in Canada, serving as a local NDP MLA from 1972 to 1986.

Burnaby City Council voted in 2021 to name the facility after Brown.

“I think she’d be thrilled,” said Cleta Brown, daughter of Rosemary Brown.

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“I think she’d be so pleased because she really fought hard for women and children and families. Burnaby is a family town, and this is the epitome of what she strove towards and what she enjoyed: family and community.”


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