As the biggest city of the country and home to numerous education institutions, it is somewhat natural that Toronto totals more than 187,000 undergraduate students in its universities and colleges. Over the course of the past several weeks, a number of major academic institutions in the city have announced their plans to expand their facilities in order to accommodate the growing numbers of scholars clamouring to join their ranks.

Rendering of the future Downsview Park Aerospace Campus looking northeast, by DTAH

On Monday, February 9th, an application was filed to permit the Centennial College Downsview Park Aerospace Campus to come to life in a 12,324 square metre facility at 65 Carl Hall Road, more precisely in the former de Havilland Building, home of the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd., in Downsview Park's Chesswood development parcel. Built in 1929, the edifice that was until recently a museum will be expanded to become part of the Downsview Park Aerospace Campus and will provide educational, training, research and business opportunities while strengthening Ontario’s ranking in the fast-growing aerospace industry. As of today, the Province of Ontario has already committed $26 million to this enterprise. 

Rendering of the future Downsview Park Aerospace Campus looking south, by DTAH

This project, for which a preliminary study was led by DTAH, responds to the growing demand for a specific training in the assembly and maintenance of aircraft; an industry that faces important demographic changes as the babyboom generation has started to retire, putting hundreds of skilled jobs on the market. Centennial College currently trains more than 300 aircraft technicians and avionics technicians annually and expects enrollment to grow to more than 900 students once the new campus is completed. It will provide a much larger teaching space with access to working runways and will seed a global aerospace hub in Ontario.

Rendering of the future Downsview Park Aerospace Campus from above, by DTAH

The creation of the Aerospace Hub at Downsview Park is projected to facilitate the development of up to 14,400 sustainable jobs over the next 20 years, with DAIR—Downsview Aerospace Cluster for Innovation and Research—looking to secure funding of up to $60 million over 5 years ($12 million per year for 5 years) from the Federal Government in support of the development of an Aerospace Hub at Downsview Park. Other partners at DAIR will include Bombardier, Honeywell, MDA Corporation, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Ryerson University, Sumitomo Precision Products Canada Aircraft, Inc., University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, UTC Aerospace Systems, and York University.

The Centennial College Aerospace Campus will be walking distance from Downsview Park Station, now under construction on the Spadina subway extension and the GO Barrie line. The plan for the redevelopment of this former military base also includes the construction of new neighbourhoods, the preservation of the employment lands and the creation of a major urban park.

UrbanToronto will keep a close look at this project as more renderings and information become available. Meanwhile, if you wish to engage in the conversation, you can checkout the dedicated forums linked below or leave a comment in the section provide at the bottom of this page. 

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