Burnaby names sports facilities after Christine Sinclair and Rosemary Brown

·2 min read
The former Fortius centre in Burnaby has been renamed the Christine Sinclair Community Centre.    (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press  - image credit)
The former Fortius centre in Burnaby has been renamed the Christine Sinclair Community Centre. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press - image credit)

Christine Sinclair's on-field heroics have earned the soccer star countless honours. And now the City of Burnaby is bestowing another on its native daughter, renaming the recently purchased Fortius Sport and Health facility the Christine Sinclair Community Centre.

City council approved the change unanimously on Monday, with Councillor Sav Dhaliwa calling the 37-year-old soccer player the best known Burnabyite of the last three decades.

In a statement, Sinclair said she was thrilled by the recognition and couldn't imagine a better location.

"I've been in this facility many times over the years and played on the turf fields. I look forward to seeing the next generation of athletes come through these doors," she said.

Earlier this year, Sinclair became the most prolific goal scorer in the history of international soccer — women or men. To date she has amassed 186 goals in 297 games.

This summer she will again captain the Canadian national team at the Tokyo Olympics, where Canada is the two-time defending bronze medallist. It will be her fourth Olympic Games.

The City of Burnaby bought the Fortius facility on Kensington Avenue in January for $26 million, a few months after the private owners closed the doors due to financial and pandemic concerns.

Rosemary Brown is pictured speaking at a protest in 1984. Burnaby city council voted this week to name a yet-to-be-completed sports complex the Rosemary Brown Arena.
Rosemary Brown is pictured speaking at a protest in 1984. Burnaby city council voted this week to name a yet-to-be-completed sports complex the Rosemary Brown Arena. (Chuck Stoody/The Canadian Press)

The complex houses two gyms, fitness studios, a weight room, a FIFA-standard turf pitch and had served as a training site for Sinclair and the Canadian women's soccer team in past years.

At the same meeting Monday, Burnaby city council also voted to name an under-construction south Burnaby sports complex the Rosemary Brown Arena.

Brown, a social justice advocate, became the first Black Canadian woman to be elected to a provincial legislature in 1972, representing the ridings of Vancouver-Burrard and Burnaby-Edmonds until 1986 as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. She passed away in 2003 at the age of 72.

"Rosemary Brown was an incredible icon in our community," said Mayor Mike Hurley. "It is indeed a great day for Burnaby when we can name two facilities after incredibly inspiring women."

Official naming ceremonies for both facilities will be held at a later date, according to a release from the City of Burnaby.

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