Community building recently received a boost in Toronto’s bustling downtown core with the completion of the new $65 million Canoe Landing Campus, a social nexus that combines a community recreation center, public and Catholic elementary schools and a childcare center under a massive shared green roof. Designed by local firm ZAS Architects, the new campus provides a much-needed social infrastructure to CityPlace, one of the city’s most populated residential developments with over 20,000 residents. In addition to its expansive green roof and surrounding landscaping, the project includes solar panels that renewably generate 10% of the building’s energy needs.
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Completed last year, the roughly 158,000-square-foot Canoe Landing Campus was designed to maximize open space and seamlessly merge with the existing Canoe Landing Park. Shared community spaces and programming for all ages include sports facilities, a community kitchen, gardening plots and more. A pedestrian corridor separates the two-story community center from the three-story schools on the ground level, while an elevated east-west bridge connects the buildings above. The schools — which share common areas that include imaginative indoor play spaces with a climbing wall and roller coaster track — are organized with the younger students on the lower level and the older students on the upper two floors.
“The building’s design welcomes neighbours to take part in community activities allowing for a synergistic sharing of spaces between the community centre, schools, and childcare,” said Peter Duckworth-Pilkington, Principal, ZAS Architects. “Ultimately, the way the world approaches community space is forever changed. Now, more than ever, physical space must foster meaningful human connection while also remaining flexible to support communities with evolving hybrid and virtual needs for years to come.”
An active roof tops the campus and features a running track, sheltered outdoor space for yoga and a full-sized basketball court. A series of passive zones and gardening plots surround the “active roof.” The project also commissioned Anishinaabe artist Que Rock and artist Alexander Bacon to create a 90-meter-long mural on the south walls of the schools to celebrate the land’s Indigenous culture.
Photography by Michael Muraz