Gushing spouts of water were filling the pool at Crescent Town Club last Thursday. It’s a welcome sound.
Closed for nearly 11 months after a fire destroyed its electrical system, the club is finally getting set to reopen on June 1. All but six of the club’s 40 part-time workers are returning.
“I can’t wait to be open,” says Kristal Arseneau, who coordinates fitness and community programs at the non-profit club.
“I can’t wait to see all our members, all our staff.”
Most of Crescent Town Club’s 5,000 members live in the surrounding high-rises owned by Pinedale Properties or the YCC 76 condo corporation, which have included a club membership since they opened in 1971.
But ever since the electrical fire last July 9, the once lively Crescent Town Club has been unusually empty and dark.
Until three weeks ago, the only lighting in the club came from a string of bare light bulbs hanging from the hallway ceilings.
It felt “like you were in a coal mine or something,” said Tom Kilburn, the facilities manager.
Reconnecting the club to the city’s main power grid took far longer than anyone expected.
First, the club’s electrical system uses an uncommon voltage, which made it hard to find parts.
“The whole thing had to be custom-made,” said Kilburn.
Second, the fire spread up the club’s underground power lines, which happened to run under the squash courts.
Rather than dig up the courts or the concrete slab below, engineers decided to reroute new lines through the building — a move that took months to design and approve.
In the meantime, with most of the club’s temporary power going to the upstairs daycare and reception area, Kilburn said there was little power left for smaller repairs.
But all that changed May 2, when the club finally got its power restored.
“It was strange, I’ll tell you, walking around different areas and suddenly it was all lit up,” said Kilburn.
“It was a real positive feeling.”
Arseneau said lots of parents have already signed up their kids for the club’s summer day camp.
Even after the fire last summer, the camp kept by renting classes at George Webster Elementary and the swimming pool at West Scarborough Community Centre.
But Arseneau said she is thrilled to be back at home base, and with so many of her old staff returning to work as counsellors, lifeguards and swim instructors. When they walk in the door, she will have a stack of new T-shirts waiting that say, I Heart The Club.
“They’re committed,” she said, noting that some of her counsellors grew up as campers, and they took a leaders-in-training course at the club that teaches all the skills needed to make the jump.
Anil Narayan, the club’s general manager, said there is still lots of work to do before the June 1 opening, but the end is in sight.
That day will come on Saturday, June 13, when Crescent Town Club hosts a grand reopening party with games, prizes, a flea market, and program demos that range from the Karate Club to seniors’ Tai Chi, yoga to fitness classes using kettle balls or Indian Clubs.
For more information on the programs or club memberships, visit crescenttownclub.com.