A Brant County couple with a long history of generously supporting their community has donated $1 million to the new Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletics & Recreation Centre. Donors Roger and Edith Davis attended the gift announcement on Tuesday, March 18 at the Brantford Family YMCA on Wellington Street along with family members, representatives from the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford and Wilfrid Laurier University, local dignitaries and community members.

Roger and Edith Davis are the founders of Davis Fuels, a family-owned and operated fuel distributor serving Brantford, Brant County, Simcoe, Hagersville, Tillsonburg, Woodstock and London for almost 60 years. “We are grateful to Roger and Edith for this generous gift, which will support construction of a state-of-the-art aquatic centre as part of the new Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletics & Recreation Centre,” said Jim Commerford, President and CEO of the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford.

“The support of the Davis family for the project shows incredible leadership for our community,” said Brian Rosborough, Senior Executive Officer of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus. “Their gift today will have a positive lasting impact on the student experience at Laurier for years to come.”

The facility’s aquatic centre – to be named in honour of the Davis Family -- will consist of two pools for teaching, fitness, competitions, therapy and leisure. The six-lane, 25-metre lap pool will accommodate up to 180 swimmers while a second, 60-person pool will have a movable floor so that it can transform from very shallow to 2.1 metres deep, making it ideal for everyone from young children to adults. The aquatic centre will also feature a 12-person therapy pool. The aquatic centre, including all three pools, will be wheelchair accessible.

The YMCA has a long history in Brantford that included swimming at its former Queen Street location. In 2005 the YMCA relocated to its current Wellington Street location that has a gym and fitness centre, but no pool. The Wellington Street location was considered temporary, until a new larger YMCA with a pool could be built. Laurier’s current facility, Wilkes House, is insufficient for the expanding campus enrolment, which this new centre will accommodate and allow for expanded athletics and recreational programming.

“The partnership between Laurier and the YMCA allows the two organizations to bring a much-needed athletics and recreation facility to downtown Brantford, with a state-of-the-art aquatic centre,” said Commerford. “The YMCA is known nationally and internationally for its exceptional aquatic programs including potentially lifesaving swimming lessons, and we are looking forward to once again offering these high-quality programs locally. Roger and Edith’s gift will provide Laurier students and community members from Brantford, Brant County and Six Nations with the opportunity to enhance their health and wellness through an extensive selection of aquatic programming.”

The Davis couple’s five children all learned to swim at the old YMCA on Queen Street, which has since been converted into apartments and a Laurier student residence. “Edith doesn’t swim and I’m not a strong swimmer so as parents we were determined that our children learn this vital and potentially life-saving skill,” said Roger. “We look forward to bringing this aquatic centre to the community, so that children for years to come will have the opportunity to learn this essential skill.”

The Laurier Brantford YMCA highlights what is possible when we work together in true partnership,” said Rob Donelson, Vice-President: Development and Alumni Relations at Laurier. “Through their gift, the Davis family is entering into this partnership. Their actions demonstrate the vital role philanthropy plays in bringing communities together.”

The new Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletics & Recreation Centre, to be located in Brantford’s downtown core, is a joint venture between Laurier and the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford.The complex will also include multi-purpose spaces for group fitness classes, social, educational and cultural programming, a health and wellness centre with treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, weights and more, and a large gymnasium with retractable seating for 1,200 spectators for sport and recreation training, competitions and functions.

Construction on the $58.4 million facility is scheduled to begin this summer.

Media Contacts:

Lise Diebel, Media Relations Specialist
YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford
T: 905-529-7102 ext. 5001
C: 289-925-5030

Kevin Klein, Associate Director: Communications and Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford campus
T: 519-756-8228 ext. 5753
C: 519-802-5447