Home to the University of Toronto’s Varsity Blues football team for over 100 years, the original Varsity Stadium hosted many of the early Grey Cup and Vanier Cup games. It was the site of countless local, regional, national, and international track and field, soccer, and lacrosse.
The original stadium was demolished over the summer of 2002 after the cost of maintaining the large facility was far more than it generated in revenue. At that time, temporary repairs were holding up several structural sections of the stadium, and its future integrity was in question.
The field and track were retained after the demolition and from 2003–2005, temporary seating of about 1,500 was installed to permit the use of the field for intercollegiate games. The name Varsity Field was used from 2002–2006 during the period when the old stadium was demolished and the new stadium was being built.
The stadium that presently stands is part of a three-phase plan. The first phase, which is now complete, included the construction of a new $21.7 million Varsity Stadium, featuring a state-of-the-art artificial turf playing field, an internationally-certified track, and an air-supported dome, enabling year-round use of the facility. The second phase, now completed as well, was the $9.5 million Varsity Pavilion — the marquee entrance. The final phase, for which the university is currently pursuing capital support, will create the $58 million Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport a multi-storey complex for research and teaching labs set to include: a strength and conditioning centre, a state-of-the-art sport medicine clinic, and the 2,000-seat Kimel Family Field House for basketball and volleyball.
The total projected cost for the Varsity Centre is $98 million, and U of T has committed to launching a capital campaign to raise the remaining funds to complete the project.
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• There are 5,000 seats at the Varsity Centre
• There is wireless Internet access in the stands
• Varsity Centre is one of only four FIFA 2-star fields in North America
• Diamond + Schmitt Architects Inc. in association with Ellerbe Becket of the United States, designed the first phase of Varsity Centre and the Pavilion
• Students are automatically members of the Athletic Centre and Varsity Centre, which gives them access to a range of activities and opportunities
• All students have free access to the golf driving range in the dome during the winter season
• Varsity Blues athletes have been part of the takedown and rising of the dome that covers the field from December until April, using the money they make towards their team’s budget