Community recreation meets leading-edge technology at Legend Recreation Software Inc., an Ottawa, Ontario company launched in January 2016 by its U.K.-based parent company, Legend Club Management Systems.

Running a recreation facility is no walk in the park – just ask the local governments that oversee these community resources. From processing swimming lesson registrations to ensuring efficient energy use, the day-to-day tasks of managing a community centre or park present ongoing challenges for Canada's municipalities.

Fortunately, there's an app – or several apps, rather – for that. Since January 2016, an Ottawa, Ontario software company with roots in the United Kingdom has been helping recreation facilities across the country streamline their operations and improve customer service.

In its first year of operations in Canada, Legend Recreation Software Inc., a subsidiary of U.K.-based Legend Club Management Systems, has installed its technology in more than 300 municipal recreational facilities. The company's solutions automate various aspects of operation, including administration, energy management, maintenance, marketing, and customer relationship management.

A big leap forward with Legend software is the ability for recreational facility users to register and book for services and activities – such as swimming lessons or use of party rooms – through a mobile app.

"It's quite transformative," says Sean Maguire, CEO of parent company Legend Club Management Systems. "Legend gives people access to an app where they can book everything they need to do in a particular facility. At the same time we offer recreation operators an inexpensive solution which is standardized globally. This means even the tiniest operator has access to the same technology we provide to our largest customers."

Sean Maguire, CEO of Legend Management Systems in the U.K.
Sean Maguire, CEO of Legend Club Management Systems, describes the company's software as "quite transformative."

Proximity to North American market makes Ontario an ideal site for first international subsidiary

Screen shots of mobile apps that allow recreational facility users to register and book for services and activities – such as swimming lessons or use of party rooms – right from their mobile device.
With Legend software, recreational facility users can register and book for services and activities – such as swimming lessons or use of party rooms – through a mobile app.

While Legend has been operating globally for many years, the Ontario office is the company's first and only international subsidiary. Mr. Maguire cites proximity to the North American market as one of the reasons Legend chose to build its international location in Ottawa, Ontario.

"We wanted to be in Ontario because of a significant amount of interest among operators in the province," he says. "It's a very populous province and we've already won a lot of business in Ontario. I think that if we had been based in another part of the country we wouldn't have accomplished as much as we have today."

The Ontario office currently serves Canadian customers. As Legend builds its operation in Ontario, the company continues to examine the possibility of serving the entire North American market from its Ottawa location.

"Going forward, if it turns out that it's acceptable to the U.S. market for us to service their operators from Canada, then I can't see why we wouldn't do that from our Ontario office," says Mr. Maguire. "We are replicating everything we're currently doing in our U.K. operation and applying it to our Ottawa location."

A technology hub with a highly skilled talent pool

Legend opened its Ontario office with three U.K. employees. Since then it has added four more members to its team and expects to have at least a dozen employees by the spring of 2017. Mr. Maguire says Legend has had no problems finding the skilled workers it needs to fill roles in software engineering, technical support and customer service.

Indeed as one of Ontario's technology hubs, Ottawa has the highest concentration of engineers and scientists in Canada, and nearly 68,000 technology industry workers, including about 22,000 employed by the region's 560-plus software companies.

"We've found it easy to recruit qualified engineers with experience in applications or software systems, and great graduates who can grow and develop their careers with us," says Mr. Maguire.

A great place to live and do business

Ottawa's great quality of life gives Legend an added edge as an employer, he adds. The city boasts beautiful neighbourhoods with resident-friendly features such as walkways, bicycle lanes and natural waterways.

Ottawa is also notable for its business-friendly environment and support infrastructure, says Mr. Legend. In particular, he points to Invest Ottawa, a non-profit organization that acts as the Regional Innovation Centre for the Province of Ontario and is a member of the Ontario Network for Entrepreneurs. Invest Ottawa helped Legend establish its Ontario operation and provided guidance on various matters, including finding the right accounting and law firms.

"We were so impressed with Invest Ottawa," says Mr. Maguire. "Everyone was so proactive and always willing to help."

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June 21, 2017

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