RYERSON UNIVERSITY IN TORONTO’S DOWNTOWN CORE IS “COALESCING” ITS SPRAWLING CAMPUS

Over several years I’ve watched Ryerson University assemble an assortment of buildings in TORONTO’s core, along Gerrard, Gould, Yonge, Church and Victoria streets. It’s a campus built mostly in an incremental manner, adapting nearby buildings one after another as the student population grew and grew.STORM CUNNINGHAM, author, publisher, advisor and a Ryerson lecturer in 2010, is often called the guru of the trillion-dollar global renewal trend. He has this to say about RYERSON – “It’s a campus that has profoundly revitalized a run-down section of TORONTO’s downtown, and they’ve done it without the destructive blank-slate approach so common amongst planners.”ABOVE – for instance, the Ontario Pharmacy Building on Gerrard Street East has now become Ryerson’s Centre for Urban Innovation. “That’s unique, especially when one considers how many universities (mostly here in the United States) purposely allowed—even encouraged—surrounding neighbourhoods to go into decline, so they could scoop up cheap real estate to expand their campus.” – Storm Cunningham<ABOVE – a photo taken by Storm Cunningham in 2010, shows a derelict building making way for a student technology centre on Yonge Street.>Cunningham began writing ‘The Restoration Economy’ in 1996 when brownfields redevelopment, regenerative agriculture & restoration ecology emerged. It’s available on AMAZON.<GOULD STREET rendering – a permanent pedestrian-only zone is now being built from O’Keefe Lane to Bond Street.  It’s always been the centre of Ryerson’s campus.  WAY TO GO, RYERSON!>

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VERY MUCH A DOWNTOWN UNIVERSITY, RYERSON IS PLANNING YET ANOTHER TOWER

<IMAGE – an aerial rendering showing the 202 Jarvis neighbourhood; City of TORONTOOver the past few years RYERSON UNIVERSITY has been building and rebuilding a number of architecturally significant additions to its downtown core campus.  The latest – and possibly last because of a land squeeze – will be a 41-storey tower designed by Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen Architects & TORONTO’s Zeidler Partnership Architects. The address, if approved, will be 202 Jarvis Street.

PHOTO ABOVE by steveve – another of Ryerson University’s projects is the Centre for Urban Innovation, still under construction.

The Centre combines old and new structures fronting on residential McGill Street and Gerrard Street East. The designers – Moriyama and Teshima Architects.

<PHOTO ABOVE – the Ontario College of Pharmacy, 1887, once occupied the Innovation Centre site.  It was demolished. City of Toronto Archives>

PHOTO ABOVE was taken by Craig White in 2018. It’s an aerial view of the 27-storey Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex under construction on Church Street, north of Dundas.  Among its features – an 8th floor green roof, which will triple the Ryerson Urban Farm’s yield of vegetables; a much-needed student residence expected to be finished by March/2019, with accommodation for 332; podium levels dedicated to nursing, nutrition, midwifery, occupational and public health.

FOR 5 YEARS NOW RYERSON U. STUDENTS & STAFF HAVE BEEN FARMING UP ON A ROOFTOP

You’d never guess it was there, but four storeys above busy Church Street at Gould, the Ryerson University Urban Farm (RUF) is turning out thousands of pounds of fresh, organic and local produce.  The farm is a student-run initiative to grow fresh food atop the George Vari Engineering & Computing Centre in the middle of the concrete jungle.

RUF produces an amazing 10,000 pounds of produce annually, and distributes it among Ryerson Eats, the Gould Street Farmers’ Market and a Community Supported Agriculture Program. On the ground level the Ryerson campus also hosts a food forest, flower farm, two rain gardens (under development) and a pollinator plant garden.

All of this is within a 15-minute walk of downtown’s epicentre.