Archivist of Ontario to speak at YUDC information session tomorrow

Miriam McTiernan, archivist for the province of Ontario, will visit York Tuesday to talk about the significance of the Archives of Ontario’s new facility being built next to York Lanes at the corner of Ian Macdonald Boulevard and Commons Road on the Keele campus. For the first time in its 100-year-plus history, the province’s largest archival repository will be housed in a purpose-built, public-access facility, which meets international standards.

Miriam McTierenanMcTiernan will be one of three special guests to speak at a session.organized by the York University Development Corporation (YUDC) to present information about the significant changes that will be taking place at the Keele campus over the next few years with the construction of the subway.

Right: Miriam McTiernan

The information session will also feature presentations by Charles Wheeler, deputy chief project manager for the Toronto Transit Commission, and Allison Meistrich, a senior planner with the City of Toronto. The session runs from 3:30 to 6pm in Rm. 280, York Lanes.

In addition to speaking about the benefits for the University community and the public of having the archives located at York, McTiernan will outline some of the items – gathered from storage rooms across the province and from the archive’s current home at 77 Grenville St. in Toronto – that will be available at the new facility.

Above: Artists conception of the new Archives of Ontario building on York’s Keele campus

The new Archives of Ontario building will be a three-storey, 290,000-square-foot structure that will pick up on the scale of York’s inner core buildings. It will house the archives and, in a second phase, will incorporate access to the new subway. A 10-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. The new building is slated for completion in the spring of 2009. (See story in the Jan. 3 issue of YFile.)

Wheeler, who is making his first presentation at York, will explain in detail the impact that construction of two subway stations – one connecting the Schulich School of Business and the archives building and the other located opposite the north end of the campus on Steeles Avenue – will have on the Keele campus. The start of construction for the extension of the Spadina Subway still waits on the signing of funding agreements with the federal government, announced in March by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“Many people aren’t really aware of the impact that construction will cause,” said Chris Wong, director, transportation and master planning, at YUDC. “For instance, while the actual tunnels themselves will be built using tunnel boring machines, which will reduce the impact on places like York’s wooded areas and buildings, the stations must be constructed using the cut-and-cover method. The whole area across Ian Madconald Boulevard, the Commons and York Boulevard will be a big hole for a while and people need to know how we will work around that.”

Meistrich will speak about the update to York’s Secondary Plan, currently underway, and about how planners will take account of the subway’s influence on the area around Keele campus as well as on it. A major theme of Toronto’s Official Plan, said Wong, is the importance of increasing development around key transportation nodes as a way of managing growth and reducing the impact of cars on neighbourhoods. “The subway, the archives and recent housing development are all part of the significant changes affecting the heart of the Keele campus,” Wong said. “They are all interrelated and the current secondary plan doesn’t identify subway expansion as a factor – that needs to be changed.”

City planning staff held a secondary-plan-update workshop on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Elia Middle School on Sentinel Road, attended by about two dozen people and Councillor Anthony Peruzza.

For more information and to confirm your attendance at the session this Tuesday, contact Barb Cufaro at, or by phone at ext. 55341.