Visitor Centre Design Competition/Fort York National Historic Site

The City of Toronto invites design consultant teams, led by a registered Canadian architect, to submit Expressions of Interest (EOI) to participate in a two-stage national design competition for the design of a new Visitor Centre at Fort York National Historic Site.


In 2012, Canadians will commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the subsequent 200 years of peace and prosperity. This milestone offers a timely opportunity to make a significant investment in Fort York, the birthplace of urban Toronto, the site of a turning point in the War of 1812, the city’s oldest establishment, an outstanding resource for learning and discovery, and a cornerstone in the City’s plans for urban revitalization.


The + 25,000-square-foot Visitor Centre, estimated at approximately $15 million (not including landscape and exhibition components) and scheduled to open in June 2012 (the building construction to be completed by December 2011), will function as a “hub,” connecting the visitor to the entire 43-acre (18-ha) national historic site, connecting the site to the neighbouring communities, and contributing to a more coherent identity and improved visitor experience.

The purpose of this call for EOI is to invite design consultant teams with a commitment to design excellence and a proven ability to design, develop and construct such buildings in a manner sympathetic to the surrounding cultural heritage landscape, to submit their qualifications. A Canadian architect should be the lead consultant of the team. International architects may participate on teams led by a Canadian architect. An Ontario architect with OAA registration is required to be part of the consultant team. Landscape architects, heritage professionals, interior designers, structural and/ or civil engineers, mechanical and electrical engineers, lighting designers, exhibition designers and graphic designers are also encouraged as participants on each team of consultants.


Interested teams should submit an executive summary, followed by a folio of relevant design work (i.e., museum, cultural heritage landscapes, exhibition buildings, galleries, similar building types). This should not exceed 10 pages, double-sided, excluding appendices. Appendices should include curricula vitae of the team members.


A selection of up to five (5) shortlisted teams will proceed to Stage II of the competition, which calls for a design concept for the Visitor Centre and the surrounding grounds. Stage II submissions should express outstanding design and program excellence in order to reflect the City’s aspirations that the story of Fort York be told in meaningful and compelling ways in order to emphasize its relevance to both local visitors and tourists today.

Stage II submissions will be judged by a jury. The successful team will be retained to complete detailed designs and working drawings for the project. To obtain a copy of the Request for Expression of Interest (REOI) and more details, please refer to the City of Toronto’s call documents website at (Professional Services link) or


The submission deadline is  12:00 noon (local Toronto time) on March 11, 2009.