Villa Charities Inc. and the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) have unveiled updated designs and a 3D model for the new shared-use facility for the Columbus Centre/Villa Charities and Dante Alighieri Academy Redevelopment. Considered to be the largest cultural/academic community hub currently under construction in North America, the project will be constructed at the intersection of Dufferin St. and Lawrence Ave. in Toronto.
“The partnership of the Columbus Centre and Dante Alighieri Academy is a unique model of collaboration, efficiency and innovation,” said Anthony DiCaita, president and CEO of Villa Charities, in a press release. “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 community hub will be an important space for Italian-Canadians in the GTA and others who wish to explore Italian culture. It will replace the current Columbus Centre, which is considered the cultural heart of the GTA’s Italian-Canadian community.
The energy-efficient complex, which was announced in December 2012, is currently estimated to cost between $60 and $70 million. The fully accessible, joint-use facility will feature a three-storey glass façade along Lawrence Ave. to bring in natural light, urban green spaces for outdoor activities and a green roof, a 435-seat performing arts theatre, new event/banquet space, new music, dance and fine arts studios and athletic facilities with state-of-the-art fitness studios for spin, aerobics and yoga, among other amenities. CS&P Architects, Pillon Architect, Global Architect and Gatzios Planning + Development Consultants are all partners on the project.
“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,” added 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.”
Construction on the shared-use facility is set to begin in February 2018, with an expected opening date in 2020.