Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood has long been a welcoming starting point for immigrants to Canada. Now, IMARA National, on behalf of the city's Ismaili community, is proposing to replace their existing facilities on Overlea Boulevard with an architecturally adventurous redevelopment that better suits the growing community's needs. On their behalf, designers architects–Alliance have submitted a Site Plan Approval application for a new Don Mills Ismaili Community Centre and Jamatkhana at the same site, 80 Overlea Boulevard East, west of Don Mills Road.

Looking north from Overlea Boulevard to the Don Mills Ismaili Community Centre and Jamatkhana, as designed by architects-Alliance for IMARA National

The site where the current Ismaili Community Centre and Jamatkhana occupies a one-storey building is found in a vibrant multi-cultural neighbourhood north of the Don Valley Parkway and south of Eglinton Avenue. There is sprawling ravine park space to the east, and the Ontario Science Centre northeast on Don Mills Road.

Looking northeast to the one-storey building at the subject site, image retrieved from Google Street View

The proposed redevelopment calls for the current building to be demolished and replaced with a new building standing three storeys or 13.1m in height. The building would have 4,454m² of gross floor area, and feature meeting rooms, offices, a community facility, gym, library, and prayer hall. The proposed structure would also feature 802.7m² of landscaped open space, and shorter setbacks from the lot line compared to the existing building.

Sky-lit interior hallway of the Don Mills Ismaili Community Centre and Jamatkhana, designed by architects-Alliance for IMARA National

Pedestrians would enter the building from Overlea Boulevard, with the loading area found at the back at William Morgan Drive. In stark contrast to the simpler structure currently at the site, the proposal calls for an elegant and striking design with its exterior walls acting as screens, with the bricks laid in patterns to as to bring more light into certain areas.

Looking southeast from William Morgan Drive to the Don Mills Ismaili Community Centre and Jamatkhana, as designed by architects-Alliance for IMARA National

In addition to the three storeys, the proposal calls for two levels of underground parking. There would be 166 parking spaces for vehicles, of which six would be accessible. Furthermore, the proposal also entails two spaces for minibuses, as well as a drop-off zone. For those visiting by bicycle, there would also be 14 bike parking spots.

The development would result in numerous facilities for the residents of a community that features many newcomers to the country. The Transportation Impact Study included in the proposal estimates that nearly 500 people would attend the prayer hall daily during three-hours prayer periods at 3:00 AM and 6:00 PM. These visitors are expected to use the other facilities one hour before and after each prayer time. During the daytime hours, it is estimated that over 1,000 people would use the office space.

An aerial view of the subject site and surrounding area, image retrieved from Google Maps

The proposed building would significantly enhance the services provided by the Don Mills Ismaili Community Centre and Jamatkhana. It would offer great benefits to a neighbourhood known for welcoming many waves of immigrants.  

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, linked below. If you'd like, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Related Companies:  architects—Alliance, EQ Building Performance Inc., Grounded Engineering Inc., LEA Consulting