The Province of Ontario has announced plans for a new York University campus in Markham, to be developed in partnership with Seneca College. An anticipated 4,000 students will be accommodated within the new campus which will be located just west of Kennedy Road and north of Highway 407 in Markham's City Centre. It will also be integrated with the Markham Pan Am Centre, a multi-sports facility which will host water polo, badminton and table tennis during the games. 

A 13-storey tower is planned at Rivis Road and Enterprise Boulevard, image courtesy of York University

York Regional Council is committing up to $25 million for the project, which will now enter planning and implementation stages. The partnership between York University and Seneca College will result in joint programs designed to foster learning, innovation and research in business, social sciences and the arts. “Seneca has enjoyed a strong relationship with York University, including a joint campus in Toronto, for more than 15 years,” said Seneca President David Agnew. “More students move between our two institutions than any other college and university in Ontario and our academic collaboration on the new campus in Markham will allow us to provide even more joint programming and pathway options for students.”

Concept plan for York University Markham Campus, image courtesy of York University

The plan for the site calls for three buildings at 13, 5 and 3 storeys south of Enterprise Boulevard. A 3-storey podium will anchor the each of the two tallest buildings, which will be separated by a pedestrian avenue. The shorter, 3-storey structure will be located just to the south of a new public park. A temporary parking lot and potential future development site forms the southern terminus of the site at YMCA Boulevard. 

The announcement comes after the province released a call for proposals in March of 2014 targeted at creating new projects within post-secondary campuses in future growth areas. Certain locations were targeted as a way of filling in the gaps due to an anticipated demand in these areas for undergraduate studies. Currently, there are 60,000 18-21 year olds in the region, a number expected to grow to 71,000 in the next decade. A panel of deputy ministers assessed 13 submissions, with the York-Seneca proposal coming out on top. Another call for proposals, this time targeting Peel and Halton, is expected to be released next spring. 

Concept plan for York University Markham Campus, image courtesy of York University

“We are delighted that Premier Wynne and the Ontario government have recognized the strong merits of building a York University campus in York Region. We are particularly pleased with this recognition of York’s considerable strengths as a driver of Ontario’s knowledge economy and its position as a global innovation leader,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, President and Vice-Chancellor of York University. “This new campus in Markham Centre solidifies York’s reputation as one of Canada’s leading multi-campus universities, poised to meet the increasing demand for high-quality education and workplace-based learning opportunities, and well-positioned to spur economic growth in one of the fastest growing major urban areas in the province.”

The campus will be well-served by transit, including Unionville GO Station and the Viva Pink, Purple and Green lines. The Stoufville line will also see all-day 15-minute GO Train service as part of the province's plan for Regional Express Rail. 

Context map showing the new campus in relation to downtown Markham, image courtesy of York University

No timeline has been given and no architects have yet been announced as the development is very much in its infancy. When that information is made public, UrbanToronto will be sure to let you know!

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