The children in the audience fidgeted in their seats Saturday morning, waiting anxiously for the speeches to end so they could be one of the first to enjoy the newly renovated Victoria Road Recreation Centre.
Eventually they did, jumping into the Victor Davis Pool in unison for a free swim after a countdown from Mayor Cam Guthrie.
After being closed for 15 months the recreation centre reopened to the public on Saturday following a $15 million renovation.
A new main entrance, new lobby, meeting rooms, revamped pool and change rooms, refurbished pool area, brighter rink with new boards and an elevator are all part of the upgrades.
"I think everyone will agree, the word renovation just does not do it justice. This is way more than a makeover. It reminds me of the tv show 'Extreme Makeover,'" said Guthrie prior to the doors sliding open to the public to enter and check out the changes.
"It's a well-loved and well-used community facility," the Mayor said, praising former longtime mayor Norm Jary who helped get the original facility built 43 years ago.
Jary was in attendance on Saturday, reading a letter he wrote to the people of
"We built it because we believed in the future," Jary told the gathering.
Guthrie said the city knew it was time for a renovation and it was important to get it right.
"Today we can say 'mission accomplished,'" Guthrie said.
"This renovation project today is also about people and the citizens of our great community. It's about the moms and the dads who will actually be warm now when they watch their kids' hockey games," Guthrie said.
"It's about seniors who will meet up with their friends in a truly accessible and barrier-free facility."
City Chief Administrative Officer Derrick Thomson thanked the community for its patience in the project.
"After two and a half years of planning and of work, we now have a newly-renovated and expanded recreation centre that we can all be proud of."