Eight participants discussed possible names for the new rec centre
MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES Coun. Ralph Cipolla and Orillia resident Ken Hammond talk about possible names for the new rec centre and its various sections.
Wet weather put a damper on city staff's attempts at warming residents to the idea of naming the recreation centre.
Only eight participants showed up at the open house held Thursday evening between 6 and 8 p.m. at city hall. Out of those, two residents had come prepared to put forth their ideas on what the new facility should be named.
"I'm here with the idea the complex/facility be called Mariposa Place," said Ken Hammond, who used to be a teacher and principal at the former Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute.
His suggestion is based on the nickname Stephen Leacock adopted for Orillia.
"It's a short, nice and clean name and it is sunshine-y," said Hammond. "I see it as a place where all ages will gather and enjoy good fun and good health."
Heather Bertram came to the meeting with suggestions that give a nod to the area's industrial history.
"Because it's in the foundry area, I was thinking of names of local manufacturers in the past," said the Orillia resident, who is also chair of the municipal heritage committee. "It should be a referral to the heritage. The site could be named Foundry Park, because it is on foundry land."
Staff had prepared an application package that asked residents for their stories and ideas and name suggestions for the West St. S. site, the building, the gymnasium, the fitness centre and the aquatic centre. Residents were also given a "tour" of the facilities with the help of mock-up photos of the rec centre, while a timeline video reviewed Orillia's history, hoping to give name inspirations to those attending.
"I like the name Mariposa because it goes back a few years when Leacock made it famous," said Coun. Ralph Cipolla, who is also chair of the rec centre advisory committee, adding he was disappointed such a small number of residents showed up. "I was hoping 50-something people would show up, but it is what it is -- thanks to the people who did come."
He was hopeful other residents would still contribute by picking up the form at city hall or the Orillia Public Library, or submit suggestions online at orillia.ca under the Have Your Say section. All forms must be returned to city hall by May 10, after which the rec centre advisory committee will present top selections to council, which is set to vote on it in August.
"I think it should reflect the character of the city whether that's historical or social commentary, but it should be meaningful," said Mayor Steve Clarke. "This place will have a social heart and community spirit and the name should capture that."