The Archives of Ontario to be relocated to the Keele campus

York University’s Keele campus will be the new home for the Archives of Ontario. The announcement was made by Gerry Phillips, minister of government services, at a media conference on Monday, Dec. 18.

York President & Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden welcomed the decision by the Ontario government and the Ontario Realty Corporation to locate its new Archives of Ontario building at the Keele campus.

Right: An artist’s rendition of the new Archives of Ontario building

The relocation of the Archives of Ontario is part of a larger project which brings together two significant provincial infrastructure investments – the other being the extension of the York-Spadina subway line. The new Archives of Ontario building will connect to the existing existing York Lanes building.

"We are absolutely delighted by the decision which will provide a first-class home for the archives at the heart of an expanding GTA," said Marsden. "The addition of the new subway line through the University to York Region will make this location even more convenient for Ontarians. This new ‘green’ building is also a perfect complement to our academic mission and adds much-needed research and academic space."

The new Archives of Ontario building will be an integrated, multi-use three-storey, 290,000-square-foot podium building. It will pick up on the scale of York’s inner core buildings. The building will house the archives, an expanded retail space and will incorporate access to the new subway. A seven-storey research tower, to be set back on the building’s podium, will contain an additional 120,000 square feet of academic and research space.

Left: York President & Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden (far right) together with Miriam McTiernan, chief archivist and Gerry Phillips, minister of government services, unveil a sketch of the new building

The new building will more than double the size of the current public reference area. The new, self-contained facility will meet international archival standards and make it easier to showcase some of the Archives of Ontario’s most valuable collections by serving a broader clientele, including school groups and delegations. 

The archives themselves require secure and environmentally sensitive vaults to preserve the collections in an optimum state. As part of the government’s commitment to creating and promoting a culture of conservation in Ontario, the new archives building will meet the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) silver certification, a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. 

"This project is unique and forward-thinking in both its design and sustainability," said York University’s VP Finance & Administration Gary Brewer. "Having secured an independent consortium through an independent procurement process ensures a no-risk financial option for York to build the Archives facility. At the same time, York is demonstrating ‘ahead of the curve’ vision when it comes to future development of public transit and expanded academic possibilities for our University."

The estimated cost of the entire project will be $100 million. The new Archives of Ontario is scheduled to be completed in March 2009, which coincides with the University’s 50th anniversary.

"Partnering with an educational institution of international renown such as York University to build a new archival facility is an innovative and cost-effective way of protecting our province’s information legacy," said Phillips.

Visit the Archives of Ontario Web site for more information on the building and the Archives’ collections.