New public-Catholic school to be built at City Place

Vertical community will be getting an integrated complex including a daycare, community centre and two schools.


Architects Peter Duckworth-Pilkington and Paul Stevens, of ZAS Architects + Interiors, stand in Canoe Landing Park, where a new public/Catholic school, community centre and daycare will be built, just west of Spadina Ave. on Fort York Blvd.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, yet people living in the forest of condo towers at City Place have found their vertical village lacks one thing: a school.

Last week, local parents who are forced to put their school-age kids on buses every day heard about a plan to remedy the situation, with the downtown core’s first split public/Catholic school. The schools will be part of an innovative complex that integrates them with a community centre and daycare, to form a hub that planners hope will become the centre of life for all residents, young and old alike.

Many of the thousands of units in the City Place towers are so small they weren’t intended for families. But the city’s skyrocketing real estate prices have kept many who moved in years ago from being able to afford to move out as their families grew. The 500-square-foot family is now a reality, and the city must find a way to provide more community spaces to accommodate parents and kids.

“This community is space-challenged,” said Peter Duckworth, a principal at ZAS architects, who helped design big, multi-use spaces for people to meet, hang out, check their email and hold meetings. “It’s all that stuff that would have happened in a suburban rec room.”

Lacking backyards, the 20,000 residents of City Place have flocked to Canoe Landing Park, with its signature oversized red canoe, to walk their dogs, work out and host picnics. When it opens in September 2019, the adjacent community hub, tentatively called “Block 31” will form the heart of the new neighbourhood, where people can hang out informally, take classes or organize events.

“It’s the kind of thing they’ve been doing in London, New York and Chicago forever,” said Duckworth. “You’re sharing space, but you’re also sharing programming opportunities and bringing together community.”

Each school will be big in its own right, with an estimated 550 students, and the daycare will host 52 children, bringing the daytime population to more than 1,100 kids — all of them close enough to home to head upstairs for lunch.

Source: Chown Oved, Marco “New public-Catholic school to be built at City Place” The Toronto Star, 2015-06-29

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