Canadian Architect


CS&P Architects and partners unveil design for Columbus Centre/Dante Alighieri Academy

May 31, 2017
by Canadian Architect

Rendering by Caramel Inc.

Rendering by Caramel Inc.

With a vision towards the future of urban space, Villa Charities Inc., and the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) have unveiled the updated designs and a 3D model of the new shared-use facility for the Columbus Centre/Villa Charities and Dante Alighieri Academy Redevelopment. The new intergenerational community hub is considered the largest and only co-development project of its kind currently underway in North America, and will better meet the needs and expectations of future generations and the communities they serve.

“The partnership of the Columbus Centre and Dante Alighieri Academy is a unique model of collaboration, efficiency and innovation,” says Anthony DiCaita, president and CEO, Villa Charities Inc. “This reimagined space has been designed to honour our legacy and heritage, while providing a more contemporary and progressive vision for the community. A space more vibrant, multi-dimensional and intergenerational than ever.”

The project, which was announced in December 2012, marks a major milestone in the renaissance of the Columbus Centre, the cultural heart of the GTA’s Italian Canadian community, and Dante Alighieri Academy. CS&P Architects, Pillon Architect, Global Architect and Gatzios Planning + Development Consultants are partners on the project.

The new joint-use facility will feature a dramatic, three-story glass façade along Lawrence Avenue, a 435-seat performing arts theatre, new contemporary music, dance and fine arts studios and significantly enhanced athletic facilities with state-of-the-art fitness studios for spin, aerobics and yoga. The shared complex will also have a half-kilometre outdoor circuit around the site with a parkours for community use.

Rendering by Caramel Inc.

Rendering by Caramel Inc.

“This reinvigorated facility will enable us to provide a collaborative, inspiring and 21st century learning environment for our students, in addition to a variety of educational, cultural and volunteer opportunities,” says Angela Gauthier, the Director of Education of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. “We’re excited about the future of Dante Alighieri and continuing our partnership with Villa Charities.”

Rendering by Caramel Inc.

Rendering by Caramel Inc.

Villa Charities received both positive and negative feedback following an Open House hosted with the TCDSB for the community last month. The primary concern of members and residents was that there was not going to be a swimming pool in the new shared-use facility. Anthony DiCaita immediately engaged with the project consultants to re-examine the design plans for the new building, and after some deliberation, Villa Charities announced that there will now be a swimming pool added to the new building. Key features include:

  • A proposed size of 8.5m x 17.5m  (the existing pool at the Columbus Centre 8.5m x 18.5m)
  • Swimming pool with resistance jets – lap swimming, aquafit, lessons and leisure activities
  • Exclusive Columbus Centre use change facilities with private showers, sauna and whirlpool
  • Message and therapy clinics, child-minding and other programs
Rendering by Caramel Inc.

Rendering by Caramel Inc.

Villa Charities has also responded to community feedback on the Indoor Running Track and are in the final stages of providing a solution. They will be expanding the existing indoor walking/running track (currently 105 metres) to a proposed 130 metre indoor walking/running circuit.

Construction is set to begin in February 2018. For more information, click here. 

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