Grand opening for Casa Loma gym

Huskies’ legacy passed to the next generation of athletes at the renovated gym

Staff and students at Casa Loma campus celebrated the grand opening of their newly renovated gym on Oct. 15.

“The gym got its first renovation since 1972 and after another 40 years people will remember what we did,” said Gerard Hayes, director of student experience at George Brown College (GBC)

Located in  C Building at Casa Loma the new gym has been in works for two years and has had a cost over $2 million for its construction, design and facilities.

GBC president Anne Sado said, “The Huskies teams of the men’s basketball in 1974-75 won gold at nationals and after 40 years of use it was time for an upgrade.”

Sado said the renovation was funded by student fees collected over eight years and has been designed to meet the needs of college community as a brighter, more spacious gym with better equipment

“I remember when I was a kid 25 years ago and playing in this gym with Albert Da Silva,” said Jonathan Smith, the coach of the men’s basketball team. “It gives me great pleasure to come back to George Brown where I started to continue to value traditions and set forth for to create new fantastic athletes.”

Image of Anne Sado, Melaine Gerin-Lajoie and Albert DaSilva holding the basket ball up together

Grand opening of new gym at Casa Loma by Anne Sado, Melaine Gerin-Lajoie, Albert DaSilva | Photo: Aloke Anand / The Dialog

Instead of the standard ribbon-cutting Sado opened the gym by passing a basketball to Melaine Gerin-Lajoie, the new manager of athletics at the college.

Gerin-Lajoie passed the ball quickly to Albert DaSilva the men’s basketball and intramural co-ordinator at Casa Loma. Da Silva started his association with GBC as a student athlete in 1973 and after 42 years of service was recognised as the “Amigo” of Casa Loma.

Da Silva handed the ball to Val Pozzan, who was the co-ordinator for athletics and recreation from  1976 to 2010. Pozzan played basketball for GBC in 1973-75 and was a member of the 1975 national championship team. A member of the Ontario Colleges Athletics Association (OCAA) hall of fame Pozzan was named to the OCAA all-millennium basketball team in 2000.

Pozzan flipped a no-look pass to long-time GBC staff member Deanna Oliver, who was part of George Brown’s Ontario championship teams in 1977-78 and 79-80 for women’s basketball and was named athlete of the year in 1980. Today Oliver serves as the co-ordinator of women’s sports and fitness department.

Oliver passed to Akai Nettey who played for five years as the co-captain, MVP, provincial athlete of the week and east-region all-star with the Huskies and is now the men’s basketball team’s assistant coach.

Nettey  tossed the ball to Melissa Vilar, a Huskies women’s basketball player for five years, and women’s college athlete of the year in 2012—the same year the Huskies won bronze in the OCAA.  Smiling, the a two-time provincial all-star,  dribbled the ball towards the net making the lay-up and officially opening the gym.

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Grand opening for Casa Loma gym