As the commercial phase of Daniels Waterfront - City of the Arts gradually joins Toronto's nascent East Bayfront skyline on Queens Quay, new information about the project's mixed-use programming is continuing to emerge. This week, Federal funding announcements for George Brown College and OCAD University revealed new details of the substantial post-secondary facilities that will front the development. 

On Monday, January 23rd, and Tuesday January 24th, the Federal Government announced new funding for the George Brown and OCAD U respectively. With a contribution of $15.6 million geared towards George Brown's $59 million Daniels Waterfront campus, and an of $4.5 million announced today for two OCAD U projects, plans for the expansion of both institutions take clearer shape.

Daniels Waterfront, image courtesy of The Daniels Corporation

With offices, retail, and the Artscape Launchpad complementing the post-secondary spaces, the first phase of Daniels Waterfront is slated to be completed in 2018. By September of next year, the site's 103,000 ft² George Brown campus (seen below) is set to welcome its first students, while the first phase of OCAD's new 'Campus for the Connected World' (CCW) will also be completed next year.  

George Brown will occupy the second and third floors of the south podium, image courtesy of The Daniels Corporation

With a capacity of 1,800 students, George Brown's $59-million facility will be located a block northwest of the school's Daphne Rockwell Centre for Health Sciences, adding another post-secondary presence to what is becoming a de facto urban campus. The new facility will house part of George Brown's School of Design, including the faculty's interdisciplinary design studio. The space will also house GBC's 'Institute without Boundaries,' as well as a so-called 'Innovation Exchange,' which will explore design solutions for the tech-driven era. 

The street level and Sugar Beach North, image courtesy of The Daniels Corporation

Occupying the second and third floors of the first phase—which will rise in 12 and 14-storey towers above the 6-storey podium—the George Brown campus will be accessible from Lower Jarvis Street. Located just above the Sugar Beach extension that will front the corner of Queens Quay and Lower Jarvis, a small campus shop will front the entrance, adding to the new community's retail-dominated street level.

George Brown interior, image courtesy of The Daniels Corporation

The campus will house 9 classrooms, 19 labs, 9 study spaces, and a 135-seat auditorium, as well as the 20,000 ft² Innovation Exchange. The Innovation Exchange will include a 5,000 ft² charrette centre, as well as a variety of labs—focusing on subjects like immersive media and augmented reality—and multiple gallery spaces.  

The Innovation Exchange, image courtesy of The Daniels Corporation

Above the George Brown Campus, meanwhile, the 13,000 ft² first phase of OCAD U's new facilities will be located alongside the 35,000 ft² Artscape Launchpad. According to the school, "[t]he space will be home to the delivery of an expanded university initiative around research, executive training and university accelerator capacity that supports commercialization initiatives and brings design skills to emergent companies." $2.5 million of the Federal funding will be geared towards the CCW, with the remaining $2 million earmarked for the reinvention of the school's main McCaul Street campus. 

Phasing Plan for the CCW, image courtesy of OCAD U

Benefitting from its adjacency to the Artscape Launchpad—which will function as an incubator and co-working location for young arts professionals—the OCAD space will furnish interactions and collaborations with young industry professionals world. Meanwhile, the bulk of the CCW could be housed in the shared podium of Daniels Waterfront's two residential towers, where excavation is now underway.

Known as 'The Yard,' a mews space will separate the commercial and residential components, image courtesy of Daniels

Phase II of the CCW space is proposed to be located on the north side of the retail-lined pedestrian mews separating the commercial and residential complexes. Though approval from the school's Board of Governor's is still pending—with the decision expected in May—OCAD's CCW plan envisions a 55,000 ft² facility occupying the second floor of the north podium. Pending approval and funding, the larger facility targets a tentative May 2020 opening. According to OCAD U President Sara Diamond, both new spaces will supplement existing programs, giving students access to firsthand industry experience, as well as collaborations with George Brown. 

Including the 55,000 ft² OCAD facility, Daniels Waterfront would feature some 171,000 ft² of total educational space. Bringing post-secondary facilities into what is predominantly a commercial and residential development, the integration of institutional and non-instutional uses is a far cry from the ivy-gated cloisters that characterize many older university campuses. While the separation of education and commerce was largely predicated on maintaining the independence of the academia, many of today's more flexible post-secondary programs look for more practical ways to fill the gap between graduates and the labour market.


We will keep you updated as more information becomes available, and the plans continue to take shape. For a more architectural perspective of the project, make sure to check out today's construction update, which provides an overview of recent site activity. Meanwhile, further information is available via our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the conversation in our associated Forum thread. 

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