How top Canadian architects designed a Pan Am district from scratch

How top canadian architects designed a pan am district from scratch

Take a crowd of Canada’s top architects, put them in a room and ask them to design a dense city neighbourhood – working with a 1,000-page book of rules and requirements. This was how the Canary District in Toronto, which will be the athletes’ village for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games this summer, was created.

Surprisingly, this city-by-committee is coming out well. The $514-million, 14-hectare complex is walkable, sustainable, contemporary but respectful of history, and economically diverse. It will efficiently house 10,000 people for Pan Am and then serve different users, in about 1,650 units, over the long term.

If that sounds like a recipe for virtuous blandness, it is. These are seven buildings in 50 shades of grey. But the four architecture firms involved – KPMB, architectsAlliance (aA), MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller (MJM) of Toronto and Montreal’s Daoust Lestage – set out to build an ensemble.

“How do you define a new district, a new community?” asks architect Renée Daoust of Daoust Lestage. “It can’t always be with a ‘wow’ building. The richer communities reflect some elements of continuity within their urban fabric. It’s a fine thread.”

In this case, the thread runs along Front Street in Toronto, which has been extended east from downtown as a grand boulevard. A generous plaza, designed by Vancouver landscape architects PFS, stretches all along its sunny north side; there are healthy trees and high-quality paving; and new retail spaces, all with tall six-metre ceilings, will one day house a mix of cafés, restaurants and health-oriented retailers. It has good bones. []

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture Lab
About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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