2009 BCRPA Provincial Awards
Facility Excellence


Burnside Gorge Community Centre
City of Victoria



The imagination of a group of partners in Victoria has transformed what was once a construction dump and underused park into a thriving centre of the community. The features of the Burnside Gorge Community Centre make it a facility that everyone can learn from.

The community had known for a while that it needed to consolidate recreation and some social support services into one facility. Being near to a bus stop and attractive natural features, the site beside the gorge was chosen. Funding for the project came from within the community and all three levels of government. The City of Victoria and the Burnside Gorge Community Association held consultations with area residents to find out what features they wanted in the building. There was even a session where children and youth were asked for feedback.

The partners then enlisted the help of Garyali Architect Inc. and began to design the facility. To preserve the beauty of the landscape, the centre was built into the side of the ravine. One of its most impressive features is a “green” roof – one of the largest in Western Canada that’s accessible to the public. Hearty native greenery that doesn’t require irrigation was planted. The location also allows for the centre’s major rooms to get a lot of natural light from the ravine. It has an outdoor play area. And the parking lot has been designed with an open grid paving system and other features to absorb and treat all stormwater on-site, thereby protecting nearby Cecilia Creek. Combined with energy and water-efficiency features inside and its construction and cleaning standards, these measures have earned the building a LEED Gold green designation.

Inside, the facility has been designed to be accessible to people of all physical abilities, with an elevator and signage in Braille. It also has a state-of-the-art youth drop-in centre with an “internet breakfast bar”, a mini-movie style theatre and a Dance Dance Revolution system. The building has a large area for exercise classes and banquets, as well as a community kitchen.

With its attention to the needs of the community and the imperative of preserving the environment, the Burnside Gorge Community Centre is an impressive addition to the city. BCRPA is pleased to present it with the 2009 Facility Excellence Award.