Clarington’s Tourism Information Centre getting new life as recreation facility


Published April 13, 2022 at 9:47 am

Clarington’s Tourism Information Centre, shuttered since the pandemic began in March 2020, will be getting new life soon as a multi-use indoor and outdoor recreation centre and as a mobile playground for children’s summer camps.

The building and its surrounding land became redundant two years ago due to the pandemic and because of a new tourism delivery model which saw Clarington – which outsourced its tourism services to the local Board of Trade – bring those services in-house, at an annual cost savings of $50,000.

Tourism information and assistance is now being provided at the major indoor recreation facilities throughout the municipality, providing a “broader reach” with residents and visitors, due to the volume of visits to these facilities, expanded hours and larger number of customer service staff available to assist.

Other than operating as a flu vaccination clinic for a brief time, the building at 181 Liberty Street has been closed ever since.

The municipality considered razing the structure, but a staff report that stated Bowmanville, Clarington’s largest urban centre, is “severely lacking in programmable space” caused it to take a closer look at how the building could be re-purposed.

“The Tourism Information Centre provides an opportunity for recreational opportunities both indoors and using the adjacent outdoor space,” George Acorn, Director of Community Services, said in his report to the General Government Committee Monday. “The outdoor space will lend itself to outdoor fitness activities, starting in June as a tie in with ‘June is Recreation and Parks Month.’ This location will also be a great addition to the Mobile Playground summer camp program and provide the opportunity for gardening programs.”

Other programs also being planned within the building include:

  • Preschool programming
  • Babysitting/Home alone
  • Youth Arts Nights
  • Yoga classes
  • Nutrition Workshop
  • Intergenerational Programming
  • 55+ Activities such as euchre and socials

To make the space flexible to offer a range of activities, staff have removed the interior partial partition walls, replaced some flooring and doors. Additionally, accessibility improvements have been made including power operated entrance doors. By removing the interior partition walls, the space is fully opened and functional for the variety of activities that staff are planning.

Most of this work has been completed in-house by staff to keep costs down to a “minimum,” Acorn noted.

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