City, partners move forward to create vibrant community hub

Posted on Thursday February 18, 2021

This evening, Cambridge City Council approved a partnership framework to guide the design, development and operation of a “vibrant, inviting and multi-generational community hub” in southeast Cambridge.

The new Cambridge Recreation Complex, a public library, two elementary schools and a childcare facility are planned for this site. 

A feasibility study was presented to Council which examined joint-use opportunities between the City of Cambridge, Idea Exchange (Cambridge Public Library), Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB), and Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB). The study explored conceptual design approaches to maximize community benefits, efficiencies and opportunities.

Council agreed with the recommended approach to locate two separate buildings on the joint site with shared amenities. The two schools will share one facility, and the Recreation Complex and Idea Exchange will share the second facility. The two facilities will frame a community park.

The facilities will operate independently, but will be designed to share outdoor space and amenities. This also allows the partners to proceed with design and construction at their own pace.

The future joint-use campus will offer educational, recreational and cultural activities for all ages in a rapidly developing community. The 32.5 acre site is located on city-owned land, north of the intersection of Dundas Street South and Branchton Road.

The site is bordered by Moffat Creek and a vegetated wetland buffer, which allows an opportunity for naturalized play for school students and community trails. At the east boundary of the site, there are plans for a future regional road.

Significant growth is anticipated for the area, including the SouthPoint residential subdivision. Once the area is fully developed, over 25,000 residents will be within a 15-minute walking distance from the site.

To encourage active transportation, the City is planning bike lanes and multi-use trails. As well, Grand River Transit plans to extend its local bus route to this site.

In addition to the library, the Recreation Complex will include a 10-lane, 25m swimming pool and warm water leisure pool, gymnasiums, running track and multi-purpose rooms.  The Recreation Complex is expected to be completed in 2025.

There will be opportunities for public engagement and feedback as the design concept and more detailed site plan are finalized.





The vision for this partnership is to provide a multi-generational community hub for the residents of Cambridge, with one-stop access to education, recreation and cultural amenities. This project is a unique opportunity for all partners to enjoy more amenities and uses over what each partner would have if it was a stand-alone facility.

This commitment to shared use maximizes the benefits to the community and provides better value for each partner’s investment.


  • Create a vibrant, inviting and multi-generational community hub

  • Leverage sharing opportunities to maximize program synergies, to encourage the best utilization of space, and to reduce capital and operating costs for all parties

  • Showcase the main building activities, animating the streetscape and creating a distinct identity for each partner

  • Provide a safe and secure design, both indoors and out, that allows for both separation and sharing

  • Allow for flexibility of use and potential to grow and change over time

  • Maximize the use and amenity of open and green space on the site

  • Encourage active transportation by creating safe and inviting green connections to the neighbourhood

  • Incorporate sustainable initiatives that foster environmental responsibility; improve building performance and energy efficiency; and contribute to the health and well-being of the users



    “This phenomenal partnership allows us to create a true community hub that will meet the current and future needs of our growing City. The Recreation Complex is a critical piece of infrastructure for not only today and tomorrow’s generations, but our economy as we look to future sport tourism opportunities.” - Mayor Kathryn McGarry, City of Cambridge

     “The Waterloo Catholic District School Board has for many years looked forward to building a new Catholic school in this important area of Cambridge. To be able to do that now – in partnership with the City of Cambridge, Idea Exchange and the Waterloo Region District School Board – is a great example of Waterloo Region’s “barn raising” spirit in action. We are honoured and excited to be part of this visionary project.”- Loretta Notten, Director of Education, Waterloo Catholic District School Board

    “With the partnership framework's approval, we are one step closer to a new JK-Grade 8 school in South-East Cambridge, including five child care classrooms that will increase access to quality child care for families. We are pleased to work with our partners on this community hub that will offer facilities the residents of Cambridge will enjoy for generations to come.” -  Joanne Weston, Chair, Waterloo Region District School Board

     "It is very exciting to see this new community hub take shape with all the community partners. It will be a place where lifelong learning, play, and recreation go hand in hand. Our new location will include spaces for reading, studying, making and collaborating while offering innovative programs, vibrant collections, and digital resources for all visitors."  - Gary Price, Chair, Idea Exchange Board of Trustees


BUDGET COSTS PER PARTNER – Approximately $93.2M total

WRDSB school- $13.9M

  • Childcare facility - $2.7M

    WCDSB school - $11.9M

    Recreation Complex - $58.5M

    Idea Exchange Library - $6.2M