The Canoe Landing project transformed a brownfield site in Toronto’s CityPlace neighbourhood into a welcoming gathering space. Alleviating growth constraints, the new multiplex is now home to two K-8 elementary schools, a childcare centre, and a 42,000 square feet multi-purpose community centre.
Canoe Landing lies in the heart of Toronto’s CityPlace neighbourhood; a densely populated area that serves tourists and locals alike. Home to attractions and amenities including the Rogers Centre, walking trails, cafés, restaurants and the Canoe Landing Park, the City of Toronto recognized a need to develop a central space to bring the community together.
The city’s vision for the project included developing a multiplex that would inspire a stronger sense of community, transform the land, and provide a sustainable space. It would also incorporate a structure that was climate-change resilient.
Designed to minimize car use and serve a growing population, the new Canoe Landing multiplex offers world-class education, recreation and daycare services. The development features two new elementary schools with capacity for approximately 500-students each, as well as a childcare centre. The multiplex also includes a 42,000 square feet community centre, complete with a double gymnasium, indoor playroom and sculptural green roof.
Given the partnership between the city’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation division; Children’s Services; and the Toronto Catholic and District school boards, the city needed a project management team that could coordinate each party’s unique interests, mandate and vision. To deliver this complex project, our infrastructure advisory team reviewed ownership and shared-use models with stakeholders before leading the development of the capital cost allocation and shared-use operating agreement.
Our multi-disciplined team obtained input, buy-in and approvals from multiple stakeholders with varying objectives and success criteria – particularly surrounding community accessibility and well-being. It was also important to consider the impact the busy downtown location could have on the student and childcare population. The team mediated a collaborative decision-making process by identifying options to address safety concerns while also meeting individual stakeholder objectives.
The shared-use nature of the Canoe Landing facility allowed the design team to reduce the number of parking spaces and eliminate duplicate amenities, saving both cost and space. Overseeing the pre-qualification process for general contractors, our project management team led both the technical and administrative aspects of planning and pre-construction activities. Our clear communication and involvement in this process enabled stakeholders to make informed decisions at each project stage. We aligned the project teams to ensure that the facility met the mandated Tier 1 of Toronto’s comprehensive green standard.
Canoe Landing is a collaborative effort for the city and its partners, and one that will benefit the community for many years to come. The campus design is helping foster true community connections, while also addressing the service and sustainability challenges of rapid urban growth. The multiplex opened fully in July 2020 and is now serving students, daycare users and residents alike.
In January 2021, the project was named OPWA’s Project of the Year and will serve as an exemplar for future developments.
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