George Brown on the waterfront

George Brown College is ready to break ground on a dynamic new home on Toronto’s waterfront. All the elements are now in place to aggressively move forward with excavation of the site, slated to begin in late October.

EllisDon, a Canadian-owned construction engineering and project management firm, joins the wider team of architects and designers that will support the expansion of the college as it enters one of the most dynamic periods of expansion in its history.

The groundbreaking is just one in a series of key milestones in the campus development over the next 60 days. The college and its architectural joint venture partner Stantec Architecture/KPMB kicked off the process by presenting their preliminary design concepts to the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel last week. They will be engaging in a series of stakeholder meetings over the coming months and will be seeking Toronto City Council approval of the project in October.

“With the project, design and construction teams now in place, George Brown College’s new campus is on an accelerated path to completion,” says Anne Sado, the college’s president. “We are a matter of weeks away from beginning construction of a state-of-the-art facility that will help students study in one of the city’s most beautiful, modern and relevant learning environments.”

Designed to house George Brown’s burgeoning Centre for Health Sciences, the waterfront campus will be among the first in Canada to be purpose-built for inter-professional health care learning, a cross disciplinary approach to education in the health sciences that mirrors the current transformation of healthcare delivery in the province. The expansion will add 3,500 student spaces and free up room across the college’s existing campuses to allow for greater capacity in other high-growth programs, such as Construction and Apprenticeship. Phase one of this two-phase project will ultimately add 300,000 square feet to the college, with a full complement of student services. The facility will also spur an environmental transformation of the area, bringing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards to a currently undeveloped site.

“We are so pleased to be involved in the revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront and particularly to be partnering with George Brown College, an institution that is imbedded in the social, cultural and economic development of the city, in building a whole new community dynamic along the eastern bay-front,” says Bruno Antidormi, senior vice-president, area manager, EllisDon. “As a long-time employer of George Brown College graduates, it is especially gratifying to be leveraging its intellectual and skilled capital for the long-term good of the college and community.”   

The campus will also play a pivotal role in the revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront neighbourhood, providing the new East Bayfront community with a new public landmark and year-round student life. Phase one of the project, the Health Sciences building, will cost approximately $175 million to build. The province of Ontario has invested $61.5 million and the government of Canada, through its Knowledge Infrastructure Program, has donated $30 million. Waterfront Toronto is also a partner in the development.

The new George Brown College campus will sit lakeside on two blocks of land just south of its St. James campus, on Queens Quay between Lower Sherbourne and Lower Jarvis streets. It will face the new Sherbourne Park at the foot of Sherbourne Street to theeast and the new Corus Entertainment building near Jarvis Street to the west.