Fort York National Historic Site Visitor Centre Design Competition

Toronto Mayor David Miller will be joined by Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone (Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina) and Stephen Otto (founder of the Friends of Fort York), to officially launch the public viewing of the final designs for the Fort York National Historic Site Visitor Centre. The public is invited to view and comment on the designs submitted by the competition finalists from12:00 noon to 6:00pm from December 4 to December 6, 2009, in the Members’ Lounge at City Hall, located at 100 Queen Street West in Toronto.

Fort York National Historic Site, the birthplace of urban Toronto and the site of Canada’s largest collection of 1812-era military structures, will be getting a new Visitor Centre in 2012. The Visitor Centre is key to the revitalization of the entire 43-acre site, and is scheduled for completion for the Bicentennial Commemoration of the War of 1812.

Five design teams were selected from a field of 31 participants. The teams selected were: Baird Sampson Neuert Architects, Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc., du Toit Allsopp Hillier/du Toit Architects Limited, Patkau Architects with Kearns Mancini Architects Inc., Raw Design with Gareth Hoskins Architects.

The new $18-million Visitor Centre will be designed to:

• be a major new physical presence to capture the attention of residents and visitors by showing that there is something new at Fort York National Historic Site
• orient visitors and show them how best to interpret what they will see on the site through the presentation of an audio-visual program and other media
• provide visitors with a better facility equipped with washrooms, a gift shop, food service, multi-purpose rooms and other services to enhance the visitor experience
• meet broader community needs by providing space that can be used during Fort York’s non-public hours (multi-purpose space, theatre experience, community meeting room space)

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth-largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto’s incorporation as a city.