When Ryerson University announced plans to convert Maple Leaf Gardens into a sports and recreation facility, the institution called on Delvinia—its key industry advisor at the Ryerson Digital Media Zone—to help it identify opportunities to incorporate digital media into the physical space.
The $60-million project involves the revitalization and conversion of part of Maple Leaf Gardens into a 150,000-square-foot athletic centre that will include a hockey rink, basketball and volleyball courts and other recreational and academic spaces.
In addition to serving as a student facility, the Ryerson University Sports and Recreation Centre at Maple Leaf Gardens would be accessible to the community and would include a Loblaw grocery store and a Joe Fresh Style retail outlet.
Ryerson’s challenge to us: to complement the student experience through the use of digital tools while celebrating the building’s heritage and showcasing the capabilities of the university’s Digital Media Zone—a workspace where students and alumni innovate, collaborate and market their products and services, and where commercial enterprises can turn for progressive and creative digital solutions.
Delvinia collaborated with BBB Architects—the architectural firm designing the new facility—to explore the vision for the venue and to better understand how digital could enhance the environment.
We adopted a customer-centric approach to identify the core groups that will use the venue—including the Ryerson student community, individuals attending student and sporting events, visitors shopping in the retail stores and tourists interested in the history of the site. We then created a series of personas to illustrate the types of experiences people will have at the venue, as well as their expectations of the facility.
Based on the insights work, Delvinia recommended a series of digital applications. Given that Maple Leaf Gardens is a heritage site and a Toronto landmark, Delvinia recommended the project include a mobile application designed to complement a self-guided tour that would enable visitors to interact with markers (highlighting historical facts and trivia about the venue) throughout the building.
We also recommended the installation of an interactive video wall; touch screen and hologram kiosks—featuring information about the venue’s history—in the main lobby. Additional recommendations included an interactive projection on the ice in the arena and kiosks enabling visitors to interact with the Ryerson University/Maple Leaf Gardens website.
Delvinia shared the strategic framework with students at DMZ throughout the process, providing them with real-life consulting experience, and inviting them to develop technologies that realized the objectives of the framework.