York University receives approval to build its Markham Centre Campus

Featured image for the Markham Centre Campus story
Featured image for the Markham Centre Campus story

Friday, July 24 was a very good day for York University, the City of Markham, York Region and the Province of Ontario. It brought news that York University will be moving forward with a bold plan to build the $275.5-million Markham Centre Campus (MCC) that will help drive economic growth and social development in York Region and Ontario.

Markham Centre Campus
An artist’s rendering of the Markham Centre Campus

Construction of the new campus is expected to begin within a few days, with doors opening in the fall of 2023. The MCC will accommodate up to 4,200 students with the flexibility to respond to future growth demands.

On Friday, the Ontario government announced its approval for York University to proceed with this important new project, which will continue to enhance access and affordability in post-secondary education and help meet the future skills needs of the province and The Regional Municipality of York.

Rhonda Lenton announcing new campus
York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton announces the news that construction will begin on the new Markham Centre Campus

“The Markham Centre Campus will offer professionally relevant degree programs and micro-credentials with a strong focus on digital technologies, entrepreneurship and experiential education in high demand areas such as business and entrepreneurship, data analytics, new media and communications,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton. “Located in one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing communities in Canada, we look forward to strengthening our partnerships with government, and the private and public sectors, to provide students with work integrated learning opportunities while they study, and local job prospects when they graduate.”

The number of 18 to 22-year-olds in York Region is projected to grow by 34 per cent by 2041, the highest growth rate in Ontario. The MCC will allow prospective students to study closer to home while supporting the talent needs of the region’s burgeoning high-tech sector.

“The time has come for a new, innovative approach to financing college and university expansions. Instead of the province writing multi-million-dollar cheques, we have developed a system that encourages the development of new campuses with a much smaller cost to the taxpayer,” said Premier of Ontario Doug Ford. “The new Markham Centre Campus is a model of responsible expansion, which will offer local students access to a world-class education and prepare them for the jobs of the future.”

Premier of Ontario Doug Ford speaks enthusiastically about the new Markham Centre Campus
Premier of Ontario Doug Ford speaks about the new Markham Centre Campus

Located in or near five provincially significant employment zones, York Region is projected to create 15,000 jobs annually through 2030. The new campus will be a community of change makers, fulfilling future labour market demands and civic leadership by giving future students the skills required for economic competitiveness and community development in Markham, York Region and across Ontario.

“Our province’s post-secondary institutions play a fundamental role in Ontario’s economy and will be key players in Ontario’s economic recovery,” said Ontario’s Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano. “By supporting self-funded campus expansions, we are encouraging independence and accountability, expanding choice and opportunities for our students, and protecting taxpayers.”

The site for the new campus, a 10-storey building near the corner of Enterprise Boulevard and Rivis Road in Markham, will also enable the York community to take advantage of existing and planned transportation infrastructure and community facilities such as the nearby Markham Pan Am Centre.

Markham sign
This sign says it all

“The York University Markham Centre Campus fits perfectly with the vision we have for Markham Centre; building on Markham’s highly skilled, highly educated and diverse workforce. It will provide students with the necessary education, skills and training they need for the jobs of the future, and will provide them with workplace-based learning opportunities while they study in collaboration with local information and communication technology (ICT) companies,” said City of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “This will strengthen our position as a hub for innovation, while driving the prosperity of the province, York Region and the City of Markham.”

City of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti
City of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said that York Region, with a population over one million was the only major urban hub without a University campus. “After today, that can’t be said anymore,” said Scarpitti.

In recent years, York University has increased its presence in York Region and the City of Markham. Innovation York, the University’s research and innovation arm, is a major partner in the IBM Innovation Space-Markham Convergence Centre, and the University’s community innovation hub YSpace supports budding entrepreneurs in Markham. The University introduced academic programming in Markham for the first time last fall, with classes at the IBM Canada headquarters. Building a new dedicated campus building will help keep talent local and act as a magnet for jobs and investment.

Markham Centre Campus group photograph
Showing off their York “red” jerseys celebrating the Markham Centre Campus. Pictured above, from left: York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson, City of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton, Premier of Ontario Doug Ford, Minister of Colleges and Universities Ray Romano, and Markham-Unionville MPP Billy Pang.

“Post-secondary school attraction remains a top priority for York Region’s Economic Development Action Plan,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “This announcement solidifies the shared vision of York Region, The City of Markham, the Government of Ontario and York University to strengthen opportunities for students and enhance York Region as a destination of choice for higher learning and economic growth.”

The capital funding for the new $275.5-million campus includes significant financial commitments from York Region, the City of Markham and donor contributions, as well as the University’s existing capital funds.

To learn more, visit the Markham Centre Campus website.