Downtown Toronto and the city’s students just got a green upgrade in the form of a $65 million dollar project called Canoe Landing Campus! This structure is now a social nexus that acts as a community recreation center as well as an educational institute divided into public and Catholic elementary schools plus a childcare center – all of that under one gigantic green roof! ZAS Architects designed the campus to provide a much-needed social infrastructure to CityPlace which is one of the city’s most populated residential developments with over 20,000 residents. So a facility the size of Canoe Landing Campus was needed to cater to everyone while also being functional. Given the scale of the campus, it was important to make it energy-efficient and therefore the team added solar panels that generate 10% of the building’s total energy needs – a small start with the potential to grow a lot more!

The 58,000-square-foot facility was completed last year and maximizes open space while seamlessly blending with the existing Canoe Landing Park. It is a place for people of all ages and includes sports facilities, a community kitchen, gardening plots, and more amenities to foster a strong community. The two-story common center is separated from the three-story schools on the ground level by a pedestrian corridor and an overhead east-west bridge connects the buildings above. The schools are organized with the younger students on the lower level and the older students on the upper two floors. They also share common areas, imaginative indoor play spaces, a climbing wall zone, and a roller coaster track to encourage intermingling.

“The building’s design welcomes neighbors to take part in community activities allowing for a synergistic sharing of spaces between the community center, schools, and childcare. 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,” said Peter Duckworth-Pilkington, Principal, ZAS Architects.

Canoe Landing Campus’s main attraction is its active rooftop that has 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” to make most of the outdoor space without expanding the campus horizontally further into the city. 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. This campus is truly a place that will build a stronger community in this bustling city by giving people from all walks of life a place to bond, stay stimulated via activities, learn and relax.

Designer: Zas Architects

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