If you had to pick one particular square kilometre of Toronto that had more interesting architecture in it than any other in the city, it would likely include the University of Toronto's St. George Campus. The sprawling grounds of the country's largest post-secondary institution features of a wealth of buildings, in a wide range of architectural styles from imported traditional ones to global modern, that would fill a good day's walking tour for the wide-eyed aficionado. Give it a couple of years, and that aficionado will have another handful of buildings to consider… two of them with nearly the same name.
Blake and Judy Goldring, siblings and CEO and COO of AGF Ltd. respectively, are both graduates of Victoria University at the U of T: the two appreciate what the school did for them, and they are giving back. The Goldrings have made a gift of $15.1 Million to the U of T, where the total is being split three ways. $100,000 is going to the restoration of the Soldiers’ Tower at Hart House, while $4 Million is going to expand the Wymilwood student union building at Vic, and $11 Million is going to a new centre for sports excellence across from Devonshire Place from Varsity Stadium. Both new buildings will be named after their lead benefactors, and as the second has now broken ground, we thought we would take a quick look at what is happening to sort it all out for you.
Well into its construction on Charles Street east of Queens Park is the Goldring Student Centre. This building is a three storey addition to and renovation of the student services building at Vic, sitting to the east of the existing building, and completing a quadrangle with the 1959-built Margaret Addison Hall, the Victoria University student residence seen most prominently in the photo below.
The Goldring Student Centre will boost the amount of space at Vic for all things "student life" related. The three-storey building designed by Moriyama & Teshima Architects will extend east along Charles Street from the existing 1952 mid-century modern structure, one of a very few by the famed U of T architecture prof and Toronto architectural historian Eric Arthur. Doubling the square footage of the building, the new space will include meeting rooms, offices for student government and more than 20 student clubs, a renovated café, a two-storey lounge, an assembly space, and the addition of much-needed lockers for commuter students. It will give students, especially those who don’t live on campus, the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities, to join a student club, socialize with friends, and engage in all the activities that make for a well-rounded student experience.
The Goldring Student Centre should be fully operational mid-2013. To the west, the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport has just gotten underway with a groundbreaking ceremony that took place on January 31st. The striking, modern six-storey structure, designed by Vancouver based Patkau Architects and local sports facility specialists MJMA Architects, is replacing a parking lot on the west side of Devonshire Place south of Bloor, and just across the street from the recently rebuilt Varsity Stadium.
The Goldring Centre will feature both a lounge area and a fitness training area will a view over Varsity Stadium's field, providing additional opportunities to get in on some spectating when games are played there in the future. Expected to open in 2014, that spectating will include soccer matches at Varsity during 2015's Pan American Games in Toronto, and in fact the Goldring Centre itself will host Pan Am Futsal matches in its own new indoor arena.
The Goldring Centre's facilties will comprise international-level basketball and volleyball courts, a strength and fitness centre accessible to all U of T students, and an expanded David L. MacIntosh Sport Medicine Clinic with a range of sport and exercise research labs. The centre will also have space for U of T sports partners including the Canadian Sport Centre Ontario, Swim Canada and the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport can meet in support of some of Canada's top athletes.
Both new facilties promise to significantly enrich the university experience for future students, and the Goldring family is to be congratulated for their generous philanthropy. UrbanToronto's new dataBase entries for both projects include more information, and more views including close-ups for your edification. You can check them out by clicking the links below, or if you wan to get in on the conversation, choose the associated Projects & Construction Forum threads.