Sylvania Tam-O-Shanter was the outgrowth of an initiative of private investment by seven local friends to construct an ice arena and outdoor tennis courts in 1971. Four physicians, Read Backus, John Gibbs, James Phillips and Gerald Sutherland joined with three businessmen, James Brennan, John Hoover and Bill Purcell to develop and fund the facility. Opening in 1972 the fledgling company welcomed the Toledo Slo Puck Senior League and Sylvania Metropolitan Amateur Hockey League (SMAHL) as the first tenants.
High School teams from Sylvania, Bowsher, Springfield, Lake, St John’s and Ottawa Hills called the rink home in the early years of its existence. With operations becoming increasingly difficult due to the economic downturn of the late 1970’s the facility operations were taken over by Sylvania Savings Bank and a board of commission established to oversee the operation. This group of commissioners successfully lobbied Sylvania City Council and the mayor to establish a board of trustees and assume the operation from the bank.
Under the leadership of Tom Crothers and the board, Sylvania Tam-O-Shanter hosted events ranging from Big Time Wrestling and BMX to Tier III Junior National Championships and Ohio East/West All Star Hockey games. The tennis courts were replaced with outdoor sand volleyball courts in the 80’s and these volleyball courts were replaced in 1993 with the addition of the second rink. The rink was built with city issued bonds repaid by the operations of the rink as the facility continued to operate without the use of any taxpayer funding which continues today. This same year saw the facility come under the umbrella of the Sylvania Area Recreation District, an agency whose concept and design was developed by the original board of trustees of Sylvania Tam-O-Shanter working together with other area community leaders.
With a growing demand for indoor space for dry floor athletic events, SAJRD developed the field house adding another 40,000 square feet to the footprint of the facility in 2001. Home for Sylvania Recreation’s indoor soccer program, program offerings soon expanded to include indoor lacrosse, flag football, volleyball, basketball and myriad other activities. In 2004 it hosted a campaign stop with Vice President Dick Cheney speaking to a crowd of over 2,500. Through creative and diverse use of the facility it plays host to over 300,000 patrons each year.