Hockey teams are seen skating on the ice-rink at Gary W. Harris Canada Centre.

Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre


Red Deer, AB

When offered the opportunity to host the Canada winter Games in 2019, Red Deer College took advantage of the chance to build an innovative and inclusive recreation facility, combining the technical requirements of hosting high-level sport with the promise of a legacy campus amenity that would further the education, health, and wellness goals of the school.

Working closely with Stantec and hcma, Red Deer College envisioned and built a facility that not only linked into the existing campus infrastructure but provided formal and informal spaces for students to grow, develop, learn, and play.


Areas of impact

"The opening of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre is a defining moment for Red Deer College, symbolizing our future path and demonstrating our commitment in supporting our community. Every detail of this building was carefully considered based on our goals and needs, and the execution of this vision is awe-inspiring."

Joel Ward, President & CEO, Red Deer College

Design Challenge

With the opening ceremonies of the Canada Games set for February 2019, the project took on a tight timeline and the added pressure of welcoming more than 20,000 spectators, coaches, and athletes from across the country.

Close collaboration between the architectural and engineering teams was crucial to ensure seamless delivery a year before the competitive events, a mandate of the organizing committee to ensure the facility’s engineering systems worked as intended and that competition areas could be certified as compliant with the Games’ technical specifications.

As one of the main venues for the Games, the project was anticipated to generate an economic impact of over $130 Million for the province. But perhaps more importantly, the design needed to see Red Deer College beyond the Games, marrying form, function, and flexibility for future student and community use.


Initially, Red Deer College’s diverse and growing student body lacked sport and wellness facilities to contribute to their educational, mental, and physical wellbeing. This project not only addressed these gaps, but shifted the College closer to its goal of achieving university status.

We worked closely with the College and Stantec during concept development to ensure the success of the design-build project. This included workshops with the larger design and construction team, as well as end users, to achieve the project’s collective sustainability, functional, and aspirational goals for competitive and legacy use.

Design Response

The facility provides a critical link between existing arts and campus buildings adjacent to the site. Due to the local extreme winter climate, indoor circulation spaces were key, providing warm spaces for students to maneuver around the campus at large, as well as gather and study and play is a priority.

An axis provides circulation space and ‘hang out’ for students, as well as views and connection to high-level training for kinesiology and therapy students, and access to fitness, gymnasiums, and formal or informal ice sports.

Other Projects