CentreCorp owns a multi-user facility at the corner of Steeles Avenue and the 404 in Toronto. One of the tenants, Tangerine, had a bit of an unusual request: Tangerine wanted a FIFA standard soccer pitch built in the outdoor courtyard as a play space for its employees.
CentreCorp decided to bring Greenhorizons Sod Farms on board for the job.
“Because of the location, it’s a bit of a centerpiece,” said Steve Schiedel, Greenhorizons CEO. The space allowed for a soccer pitch about a quarter of the size of a regulation field.
“While the field might not get the same number of hours as other soccer pitches, because it was smaller, the traffic intensity would be as great or greater per square foot on this field,” Steve explained. “That’s why we went with essentially a FIFA standard.”
The field was outfitted with our GHG Ultimate Sports Turf System. That includes 12 inches of an engineered sand growing profile for the roots of the natural grass turf to grow into; a good drainage system in the subgrade; and soil-less, or washed sod (which removes the soil that the turf was grown in; otherwise, the soil is compacted when the field is in use and that hinders drainage on the field).
Speaking of drainage, it really is what’s under the surface that matters – in this case, what was under the space we were given to work with was the underground parking. That presented some unique challenges for us to get the drainage to work properly. We didn’t want the field flooded and unusable after a rainstorm.
“We also introduced an additional stabilization product into the engineered sand, which ties the roots of the grass together and minimizes root ripping and divots,” Steve said. One other thing we had to take into consideration the fact that the pitch is framed by busy roads on two sides and the building on the other two sides – none of these being good places for an errant soccer ball to end up.
“We put up safety nets to make sure the balls don’t get kicked into the road or the building,” Steve said.
In the end, this project turned out to be a very special one for us. Tangerine wanted to do something for its employees to show them that their health and happiness are important. Meanwhile, CentreCorp showed Tangerine that it was willing to cater its facilities to suit its tenants. And we got to show both groups what we were capable of: creating a beautiful space that will also perform well. It’s a great day for us when we get a chance to turn wishes into reality.