President Levy announces new vision for Ryerson and downtown TorontoMarch 8, 2006
Sheldon Levy, President of Ryerson University, today announced a new vision for a revitalized University campus at a luncheon speech at the Canadian Club entitled "The University as City Builder."
Levy told a distinguished audience of more than 300 business, education and community leaders that he is moving forward with a Master Plan for the Ryerson campus and Ryerson students that "recognizes there is no boundary in the traditional sense" between the University and its downtown neighbourhood.
"That's what 'University as City Builder' means to me: a well-known University footprint in the City...giving people reasons to visit, and to live nearby. Because what is good for Ryerson University - is also good for Toronto."
Working closely with Ryerson's Board of Governors, the City of Toronto, the provincial and federal governments, local residents, business, developers, and Ryerson students and community, Levy is embarking on a plan to meet the pressing need for more academic and research space at the University.
"Given our neighbourhood density, we will pursue campus intensification as an important objective. We hope to consider innovative opportunities to acquire property that will use our resources responsibly, and serve Ryerson's long-term space needs," said Levy.
"Our vision includes partners who look at neighbourhood spaces as opportunities for coffee shops and stores that are clean and bright, imaginative and attractive. We will find ways to make this most historic, heritage part of Toronto a magnet for quality redevelopment."
Immediate priorities include:
- An innovative learning centre that will provide a new and expanded library and more quality study space for students, and also provide areas for community use;
- A welcoming front door and an inviting presence on Yonge Street, which will run through the Ryerson campus when the new Faculty of Business building opens on Bay Street in fall 2006;
- 2,000 more student residence spaces, integrated within the Ryerson neighbourhood;
- A gallery and research centre to house and showcase Ryerson's Black Star Historical Black & White Photography Collection. A remarkable visual legacy of the 20th century, this internationally-renowned collection of almost 300,000 black and white photographs is considered the most significant cultural contribution ever made to a university in Canada;
- Ongoing and proactive work with Ryerson's neighbour, Covenant House, and other social service agencies to provide education and employment alternatives that will reduce the number of homeless young people;
- Closure of Ryerson's section of Gould Street to traffic in order to create a more pedestrian-friendly campus;
- Enhancement of green spaces to make them inviting, beautiful and safe.
Ryerson's Master Planning Group, which includes representatives from the disciplines of architecture, design, and urban and regional planning, will embark on a consultative process involving neighbourhood associations and groups to develop "community-based strategies for respectful and positive change."
Concluded Levy: "Our goals will be consistent with civic pride and renewal. We have the opportunity to define the Ryerson University of the future. And with it, the City we can build as part of our campus plan. I am offering economic opportunity. And a chance to do something great."