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Courtesy of ZAS Architects


The new Canoe Landing Campus by ZAS Architects houses a $65 million community recreation centre, public and Catholic elementary schools and a childcare centre within one innovative campus. The masterplan development recognizes the need for a missing social and educational nexus in downtown Toronto. 

Canoe Landing Campus was conceived to provide CityPlace—one of Toronto’s most populated residential developments—with the social infrastructure it needs. The City of Toronto and two publicly funded school boards collaborated to create better facilities than could have been built individually. Community engagement, urban design excellence, and sustainability have been integrated in a partnership model, providing a new solution to address the urban intensification. 

Extensive planning and design options were explored, ensuring the new facility seamlessly merges with the existing, widely popular Canoe Landing Park. The result is a layered site with multiple public zones and play areas. The new campus provides opportunity for shared community spaces, and programming offers expanded possibilities for all ages. 

Visible from the residences above, the dynamic roof is a vital element, both from a programming and sustainability perspective. Programming includes a running track, sheltered outdoor space for yoga and a full-sized basketball court. Neighbours in the adjacent residential towers now enjoy a remarkable view, similar to that of an open-air stadium. 

Embedded within the outer frame, the “active roof” is complemented with passive zones, such as allotment gardens that serve the general neighbourhood and dense vegetation to control and improve water quality. Sustainability and resiliency are prominently integrated, including the introduction of photovoltaic panels that generate 10 percent of the building’s energy, meeting the highest level of the City of Toronto’s Green Standards. [1]

Serving an important social function, the campus architecture supports a new platform for connection. In a vertical, urban community where neighbours often experience solitary lifestyles, this interaction is vital. Conceived as a social condenser, the building program was developed through multiple community meetings attended by hundreds of residents. Community input generated innovative spaces such as indoor play areas geared to enhancing children’s gross motor skills and the creation of multi-purpose rooms that adapt to both active and passive uses. 

Sustainability and resiliency are prominently integrated, including maximizing green roof opportunities and an introduction of photo-voltaic panels to generate 10% renewable energy to meet the highest level of the City of Toronto Green Standards. Above, the building features a dynamic, “active” green roof – complete with a basketball court, jogging track and urban gardens. Functioning as a natural extension of the adjacent Canoe Landing Park, the sloping green roofs sculpturally address both aesthetics and functionality, creating a “fifth elevation” rather than a typical roof. [2]


[1]      “Canoe Landing Campus, Toronto, Ontario.” Canadian Architect, March 16, 2021. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/torontos-new-masterplan-brings-social-infrastructure-to-downtown-neighbourhoods/.

[2]       “Publication- ZAS.” ZAS Architects + Interiors. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://www.zasa.com/canoe-landing-project.


Additional information:

“Canoe Landing Campus by ZAS Architects.” Inhabitat Green Design Innovation Architecture Green Building. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://inhabitat.com/green-roofed-campus-brings-a-sustainable-social-nexus-to-toronto/canoe-landing-039/.


Rae, Eleanor. “CityPlace & City Space: An Investigation into Toronto’s Changing Skyline,” 2021.


“Toronto Green Standard Version 3.” City of Toronto, March 6, 2020. https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/planning-development/official-plan-guidelines/toronto-green-standard/toronto-green-standard-version-3/.


“Toronto’s New Multi-Use Social Nexus Fosters Recreation and Education.” Archinect. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://archinect.com/news/article/150248370/toronto-s-new-multi-use-social-nexus-fosters-recreation-and-education.


Yolevski, Alexander. “Alpolic ACP in Toronto’s Canoe Landing Campus.” Exterior Technologies Group – Smart Architecture. Exterior Technologies Group – Smart Architecture, June 4, 2021. https://www.exteriortechnologiesgroup.com/blog/2021/4/26/alpolic-acp-in-torontos-canoe-landing-campus.


Project Title: Canoe Landing Campus
Artists:  ZAS Architects
Year: 2020

Place: Toronto, Ontario

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