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Harper helps open Ryerson athletics centre in former Maple Leaf Gardens

Prime Minister Stephen Harper stands at the podium as he addresses guests at Ryerson University's Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto on Monday, August 13, 2012. The Prime Minister was joined by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty as the ice at the former Maple Leaf Gardens was illuminated for the first time. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper stands at the podium as he addresses guests at Ryerson University's Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto on Monday, August 13, 2012. The Prime Minister was joined by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty as the ice at the former Maple Leaf Gardens was illuminated for the first time. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO - Prime Minister Stephen Harper was on hand today for the opening of Ryerson University's new athletics centre in the former Maple Leaf Gardens.

The Mattamy Athletics Centre, on the upper levels of the former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is the new home of the Ryerson Rams.

The federal government committed up to $20 million through the Economic Action Plan for the project.

The new athletics centre features a full-size skating rink, a court for basketball and volleyball, a fitness centre and a gym.

Harper says the building that once housed Maple Leaf Gardens is the only Original Six rink still standing and with ice, and in addition to the Mattamy Athletics Centre, it is now also home to a Loblaws grocery store.

Harper calls the building a historic hockey centre and cultural landmark, and says Ryerson students will "breathe new life into one of Canada's most cherished buildings."

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