Manulife Wellness Centre finds new purpose


The Manulife Wellness Centre located in the Lyle Hallman Institute is now being used as a multi-purpose weight room and recovery centre.

First opening in 2002, this centre’s initial purpose and goal was to serve as a fitness area that allowed individuals who have previously undergone various cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy and treatments of that nature a safe space to practice evidence-based physical movements. Since opening, the centre has helped over 2,000 individuals in the KW area improve their overall quality of life through participation in supervised exercise. 

Fast forward to spring 2024, the centre is expanding its purpose and use allowing the varsity football and basketball teams to use the space for off-season summer strength and conditioning programs. 

“With summer being such a busy and complex time from a scheduling perspective, it is very hard to find a time that works for our athletes to get in a quality strength and conditioning session as a team,” said strength and conditioning coach Andrew Graham. 

As a result, a few years back the football team took it upon themselves to raise money and purchase various weight-lifting materials, including but not limited to squat racks, barbells and benches. This would ultimately allow the football and basketball teams the opportunity to work exclusively with each other and avoid the overwhelming jam-packed nature of a commercial gym setting like CIF or PAC. 

One issue remained: now that all the equipment was purchased, where is it going to be used? For the past two years, this equipment was stored and used behind the field house located at CIF. 

“Overall it was great that we had this equipment and it allowed us to work out as a unit in our own space, but with this space being outside, oftentimes we would have the cancel workouts or rush/cut our workouts short due to the rain or other non-ideal weather conditions,” said Nick Orr, quarterback for the varsity football team. As a result, Graham was keen on finding a solution to this and was looking to enhance the off-season strength and conditioning experience for football and basketball athletes even more so. 

The Manulife Wellness Centre was the ideal solution. Initially, the centre was more so focused on recovery and good health for cancer treatment patients. As a result, there were not many options as far as free weights and other heavy-duty weight-lifting options go. So, adding the previously purchased weight lifting equipment was the ideal solution to turn this center into a fully loaded fitness setting that could serve the purpose of providing recovery treatment options to individuals, while also providing a strength and conditioning home for varsity athletes this summer term. 

When talking to various football players and basketball players about how they felt about this transition, the common answer was pure excitement. “I’m pumped, having access to a space like this will help us achieve and smash our off-season goals & targets,” Orr said.

With the Manulife Wellness Centre already assisting 2,000 individuals to achieve their fitness goals, that number is expected to go through the roof with its expansion into a multi-purpose fitness centre that is tailored to the needs of recovering patients and also high-level varsity athletes.