New Recreation Facility

The City of Dawson and Yukon Government are co-managing the planning for a new recreation centre in Dawson City at lot 1059 (Base of Dome Road, across from Crocus Bluff Ballfield & C4 Subdivision). Our current recreation facility, the Art and Margaret Fry Rec Centre, has severe structural issues, which are threatening its stability and long-term future. The goal is to build a multi-sport facility that has feature and appeal to all ages of our community.

Where We Are At:

December 21, 2023 - Schematic Design, Class C Capital and Operational Estimates - Contractors provided City of Dawson and Yukon Government with new Schematic Design and Class C Capital and Operation Estimates, based on the direction received in April 2023, to include the following amenities: Recreation Office, Skating Rink, Curling Rink, Fitness Centre, Bouldering Wall, Sauna, Gymnasium, Walking Track, Indoor Playground, and concession area. The estimates came in higher than anticipated (approximately $95 million with a 25% +/-  differential). A presentation was made to Council on December 5, 2023 with the drawings and cost estimates, that presentation is below. 

Following this presentation, mainly as a result of the cost estimates, Council passed a resolution at Meeting C23-19 Council Direct Administration to develop a work plan for a new recreation centre within the $65 million budget.  

Next Steps for this project:

  • Project Management Team to meet, discuss options for next steps, and return to City of Dawson Council to discussion and approval. Expect to present at January 16 Council Meeting.

City of Dawson received new schematic drawings, to explore the 

April 5, 2023 - Schematic Design and Class D Capital and Operational Estimates have been provided to the City of Dawson for review and direction from council. A summary and presentation were prepared which can be viewed below. The two design options were reflective of the amenities drafted by council and administration at a working group meeting. What has been provided remains conceptual. Once direction is received, consultants will refine and finalize the schematic drawings, after which detailed design would occur, followed by tendering for construction.


In winter 2020-21, a Feasibility Study was undertaken to determine the scale, scope and location of a new recreation centre; estimate the capital costs for different versions of this building, as well as the operational and maintenance costs which may be incurred. These options were shared with the public, and reviewed by administration and council.

It was ultimately decided that Lot 1059 (Base of Dome Road) was the preferred location to build. It was also decided that Option 1 should be pursued at the preferred scale and scope for this building. The plan for Option 1 included a skating rink, two curling sheets, a gymnasium, indoor play space, canteen and office space.

Dawson City Recreation Centre Feasibility Study

The plan for Option 1 can be seen below

 * NOTE: This gives an overview of the major components that are envisioned to be included. The Schematic Design (May-September 2022) will be the initial design, which will refine the size and features included in these spaces, based on a similar scope and scale of the plan provided in the Feasibility Study

Next Steps / Potential Timeline
*Note: This is a best outlook schedule. Delays due to review and approval timelines, funding or environmental approvals, may occur.

  • SCHEMATIC DESIGN (May 2022-May 2023)
    • Refine design of facility components and programming
    • Complete additional data gathering: survey, Geotech, etc.
    • Review existing background data (including previously completed: geotech, ESAs, HRIA, etc.)
    • Complete Preliminary Design Drawings and reporting
    • Class C cost estimate (including capital and O&M, completed by quantity surveyor)
    • Targeted Community engagement
    • Include review of rec facilities that are working well in the North
    • Include consideration for pre-eng components and engage pre-eng. specialist.
    • Detailed review of servicing requirements.
    • Energy modelling.

    • YESAB may be required. Engage consultant at the beginning of schematic design phase. Application to be submitted at the end of Schematic Design
    • Review if Fisheries or Water Board approvals required.

  • FUNDING APPLICATION & APPROVAL (October 2022-May 2023)
    • Federal and YG funding approvals required
    • Development of Service Agreement between CoD and YG.

    • RFP to hire detailed design consultant, construction admin and site inspection.

  • DETAILED DESIGN (August 2023-December 2023)

  • CONSTRUCTION TENDER & AWARD (January 2024-April 2024)
  • CONSTRUCTION START (Spring 2025)

Background Information/Documents

2000-2017- Construction of the Art and Margaret Fry Recreation Centre and years of challenges
Since its construction in 2000, the Art and Margaret Fry Recreation Centre has been an unfinished building. This was mainly due to mismanagement of funds, and improper construction. It was designed to be a multi-sport facility, built in phases to address the needs of the community, however this vision never came to fruition. Since 2000, it has operated, mainly as a hockey and curling facility, with unfinished components left unusable by the public. It also became apparent following the opening of the building that there were concerns with its structural integrity of the building as a result of improper construction and melting permafrost. As a result of these concerns, the building has been scrutinized by the community, as well as City of Dawson administration and Council. The building underwent numerous engineering assessments, potential re-design consultations, and innumerable infrastructure upgrades have been implemented to shore up the building. This scrutiny also fuelled the discussion on whether a new recreation centre should be built, or if the Art and Margaret Fry Recreation Centre could be rehabilitated to become the multi-sport facility it was envisioned to be. In October 2017, Council directed administration to hire a consultant to determine the best course of action to reach the goal of a proper multi-sport facility.

2017- AMFRC Future Direction: Rehabilitation vs. New Facility (C17-29)
Document prepared by City of Dawson Project Manager to determine whether the City should invest in the existing facility, if so how much and over what timeframe, or does the City invest in a new facility and how much. 

  • Outcome 
    1. Document: AMFRC – Rehabilitation vs. New Construction (November 27, 2017)
      • New facility chosen as best option moving forward
    2. (Resolutions C17-29-12 & C17-29-13)Council indicates their preference for the design and construction of a new recreation centre of a scope, location and size to be determined.


2018 – (Meetings CW18-22, CW18-22):
Council and Administration determined the Scope for Terms of Reference relative to a Facility Pre-Planning Contract

  • Outcome: 
    1. Administration tasked to find consultant to create Pre-Planning Document

2018-2019- Pre-Planning Consultation
(Meetings/Resolutions: CW18-22, CW18-26, C19-03. C19-05-10, June 12 Workshop, C19-23-15)
 In 2018, Council and Administration determined the Scope for Terms of Reference for a Facility Pre-Planning Tender and Contract. Stantec Architects were then hired by the City of Dawson to determine the vision for a new recreation facility and look at five potential building sites. Based on this work, the document recommended that the Dome Road and The Gold Rush Campground be further investigated for further study and gave guiding principles to be used by future consultants based on a council workshop on June 12, 2019.

2019-2020- Project Management Team Created
Relative Meetings/Resolutions: C20-02-29
A project management team was created to manage the planning and implementation of this project. The team comprised of City of Dawson Administration (CAO, Parks and Recreation Manager) and Yukon Government Infrastructure Branch Representatives. Based on the scale and work involved in the building of a new recreation facility, the City of Dawson Administration recommended that a third-party project manager be hired Colliers Project Leaders to ensure project stayed on proper timelines and adhered to standard infrastructure development practices.


2020 – Project & Communication Plan Created
(Meetings/Resolutions: C20-05-08, C20-15-10, C20-17-04)
The Project Management Team created two documents (The Project Plan & Communication Plan) to assist in the management of this project and assist consultants in the decision and communication process desired by the City of Dawson on this project.


  1. Document: Project Plan (April 9, 2020)
    • Describes the objectives and the process by which the project will be managed.
    • (Resolution C20-05-08): Council discussed, approved and extended contract with Colliers Project Leaders
  2. Document: DCRC Communication Plan (September 22, 2020)
    • Outlines the necessary communications to achieve understanding and engagement of all stakeholders throughout the Project lifecycle

2020- Republic Architecture Hired
(Meetings/Resolutions: C20-06)
The scope for a tender was discussed, tendered and awarded to Republic Architecture to oversee the next steps in the project relative to engaging and consulting with Administration, Council and the Community to create a Functional Space Program and Feasibility Study.


2020-2021: Functional Space Program
(Meetings: Council Workshop – August 20, 2020)
Document created to summarize the wants and needs for a new recreation centre. Republic Architecture met with City of Dawson Administration, Council, Yukon Government and Colliers Project Leaders on August 20, 2020 to identify functional needs for the space, described how they envisioned the building to function for our community. 


  • Outcomes: 
    1. Document: Functional Space Program (August 31, 2020)
      • Act as a living document that would give direction in the development of three schematic options for two sites (Dome Road & Gold Rush Campground) as part of the Feasibility Study and Community Engagement portion of this project.


2020-2021 Recreation Centre Engagement Plan & Delivery
(Meetings/Resolutions: CW20-18)
Community Engagement was undertaken based on the Community Engagement Plan. Surveys and feedback were collected utilizing in-person engagement sessions, web and mail surveys, and user-group meetings. Participants were asked to assist in prioritizing spaces to include in rec centre, choose a preferred location and general design (Option 1, Option 2 or Option 3)

2020-2021: Site Evaluations – Geo-Technical Reviews, Phase I & II Environmental Assessments at Gold Rush Campground and Dome Road
Throughout this time, multiple Geo-Technical Reviews, and Environmental Assessments were undertaken by Engineering Firms to ensure proper information was gathered on the ground stability, mineral content, and proposed foundation development of both potential sites (Gold Rush & Dome Road). This information was shared with Project Management Team, Council and Republic Architecture to assist in the planning and decision making on this project.

2020-2021: Feasibility Study
(Meetings/Resolutions: C21-13-18)

The most comprehensive document to date, aimed to: Present regulations that may affect the design; Study the physical and cultural context of the building; Explore the two sites: Dome Road and Gold Rush Campground; Provide three functional programs of varying scales for each potential site; Test fit the three functional programs on each site, for a total of six design options; Recommend appropriate structural, mechanical, electrical, civil, and communications designs; Perform energy analysis on the six base options, and two other energy targets for each option for a total of eighteen energy models; Present the feasibility of the six proposed options; Present the report to the community and council to obtain feedback; Provide a recommendation of which option presents best value.

  • Outcomes:
    1. Document: Feasibility Study (May 7, 2021)
    2. Site selected and administration directed to continue to next steps in planning of centre
      • (Resolution C19-23-15): Council direct administration to determine the next steps in pursuing the design, funding and development of a new recreation centre, to be located at Dome Road (Lot 1059 QUAD 116 B/3) and provide recommended plan of action to Council.


2021: Joint TH/CoD Letter to Yukon Government
 In March 2021,  
Tr'ondëk Hwëchin and City of Dawson Councils sent a joint letter to the Minister of Community Services requesting a clarification on funding commitment from Yukon Government towards this project.

2021: Rec Centre Project Advancement 
(Meetings/Resolutions: C21-13-08, CW21-19-09)
Firm direction was still required to proceed with planning on this project. The Project Management Team tasked Colliers Project Leaders to create Rec Centre Project Advancement Memo, to highlight the proposed next steps for the New Recreation Centre in Dawson City. This document was discussed at Council and the resolution below was created.

  • Outcomes: 
    1. Document: Rec Centre Project Advancement Memo (July 23, 2021)
    2. Dome Road Site Chosen and Option 1 identified as preferred option to pursue.
      • (Resolution C21-13-08): Council direct administration to determine the next steps in pursuing the design, funding and development of a new recreation centre, to be located at Dome Road (Lot 1059 QUAD 116 B/3) and provide recommended plan of action to Council. 
      • (Resolution CW21-19-09): Forward to Council: 
        • 1) Selection of amenities identified in Option 1 Dome Road Site from the Republic Architecture Final Feasibility Study Report 
        • 2) Direct administration to finalize reserve funds available for this project for internal contribution, and 
        • 3) Direct administration to set a meeting with Council and Yukon Government Minister of Community Services.