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  • Writer's pictureDave Cottenie

Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre - Ontario Tech Ridgebacks

Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86

Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre

2000 Simcoe St. N

Oshawa, ON L1G 8C4

Year Opened: 2007

Capacity: 2,000

New Dawgs on the Block

Canadian University basketball welcomed a new entry in 2019. The newly rebranded Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, Ontario sent a basketball team to the court for the first time ever and the Ridgebacks became the 18th team in the OUA. Ontario Tech is a small school of around 10,000 undergraduates and is relatively young among Ontario universities. Ontario Tech joined the OUA as the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and iced a hockey team for the first time in 2006. The university has grown significantly over the years becoming more prominent in academic fields. They share facilities with Durham College, most specifically the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre. Opening in 2007, the Campus Centre is spacious and bright and a good place to attract a whole host of new fans to Ontario University Athletics basketball.

Food & Beverage 2

Concessions at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre are extremely simple. Inside the gym, a tent has popcorn, soda and candy for sale. Prices are low but selection is very limited. For a little larger selection, vending machines can be found outside the gym area. Other than a quick snack, don’t expect anything huge.

Atmosphere 3

The Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre is one of the newer basketball facilities in the OUA. It was built in 2007 and has a capacity of approximately 2,000. Like nearly all of the other basketball facilities in the conference, the CRWC doubles as the recreation facilities for Ontario Tech University and Durham College. There are many other parts to the facility rather than simply the gym for basketball. The exterior is inviting yet not overwhelming. Large windows welcome natural light into the atrium entrance and team markings build team spirit quickly.

Upon entry to the main gym, fans will immediately be struck with how wide open and spacious it is. The court runs from west to east with bleacher seating on the south side. Overflow bleachers are available for the west and east ends however for the most part they are not necessary. The gym has a hanging track around the gym, high above the floor which is where the student run media are setup. The east endzone also features an excellent kids club complete with giant checkers, Jenga, connect four, cornhole and basketballs. The west end has the main scoreboard hanging on the wall with the ability to track player fouls and points also. There is a secondary scoreboard on the east wall.

The gameday atmosphere is fairly simple for an OUA basketball game, and Ontario Tech is no different.

Neighbourhood 2

The Ontario Tech Campus Ice Centre is located on campus, which is in the north part of Oshawa, a fair distance from highway 401. The Ice Centre is also at the north end of the shared campus of Ontario Tech and Durham College. In the immediate area, there is not too much that will interest travellers. On Simcoe St, just south of campus, there is a St. Louis Bar and Grill. Fans are better off heading further south on Simcoe Street. Shoeless Joe’s and other chain restaurants can be found at Simcoe and Taunton Road.

Being so close to Toronto, there are not a ton of exciting entertainment options in Oshawa. Hitting Simcoe Blues & Jazz for some live music may be of interest. Checking out the Canadian Automotive Museum might also be of interest. The other sporting option in Oshawa is of course to take in an Oshawa Generals game at Tribute Communities Centre. Ontario Tech also ices a hockey team. The hockey Ridgebacks call the Campus Ice Centre home, just across campus.

There is not much in the way of accommodations near Ontario Tech. The best bet for travellers would be to head to downtown Oshawa where there are a few options, including a Holiday Inn Express.

Fans 3

It is very difficult to assess OUA basketball fans. More often than not, attendance figures for basketball are not published and it is difficult to see attendance trends in OUA basketball. Combine that with the Ontario Tech program being so new that it is even more challenging to assess. The number of fans that were in attendance for the game that was reviewed was not out of line for most OUA basketball programs. The fans were into the game, but fairly quiet, like most Ontario fans. It will be interesting to see what the long-term support for the Ridgebacks looks like. The hockey Ridgebacks have done fairly well in their tenure so hopes are high for the basketball Ridgebacks as well.

Access 4

Ontario Tech University is located in the north end of Oshawa. Although the campus is not very large, the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre is fairly central to campus as well, making it easy to find. Essentially between highway 401 and the express toll road 407, Ontario Tech will require a very significant drive through Oshawa to get to campus. The 407 is a better option, but as far as toll roads go, it is very expensive.

There is plenty of free parking available at the CRWC. North and south there are large parking lots where fans can park for free. For fans looking to get to the arena with public transit, route 401 of Durham Transit brings patrons to the Ontario Tech campus. Check out the Durham Transit website for maps, fares and schedules.

The CRWC can be entered from the north and the atrium is large with plenty of natural light. Considering the number of fans in attendance, getting around the arena is not a big challenge. The washroom facilities more than adequate for the facility

Return on Investment 4

As with most University Sport experiences, a trip to see the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks is a very affordable scenario. Tickets to see the Ridgebacks go for $10 for adults with a 50% discount for seniors, students, staff and alumni. Ontario Tech students and kids are free, so the opportunity for family friendly entertainment at a very affordable price is definitely on the menu. Parking can be found on campus for free and concession prices are pretty good. As far as the product on the court, the Ridgebacks are essentially an expansion team in their first season, but they play hard and it won’t be too long until Ontario Tech enjoys some more success in the win column. The game that was reviewed saw the Ridgebacks keep pace with the perennial powerhouse Carleton Ravens.

Extras 2

An extra mark for starting up a new basketball program at Ontario Tech.

An extra mark for all of the extra things for kids to do while at the Ridgebacks game.

Final Thoughts

The Ontario Tech Ridgebacks are definitely the new kid on the block in the OUA. Their home in Oshawa at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre is a good one. It is bright and spacious and relatively comfortable. Ontario Tech seems to be taking the right steps towards ensuring a strong product and one that is family friendly. It will be interesting to see where the journey takes the Ridgebacks in the future, but so far, they appear to be on the right track.

Follow all of Dave’s sporting adventures on Twitter @profan9 and on Instagram.

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