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The Centre for Urban Innovation, our new home, is officially open

By: David Venn
March 06, 2019

CUI's researchers gather with Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi to mark the Centre for Urban Innovation's official opening on February 14. 

On February 14, stakeholders including students, staff and faculty gathered to celebrate the official opening of Ryerson University’s newest building, the Centre for Urban Innovation (CUI).

The CUI, located at 44 Gerrard Street East, is the new home of the Centre for Urban Energy (CUE) and Clean Energy Zone. The building will provide a collaborative space for researchers to focus on areas critical to the future of cities. In addition to energy, these include big data, food and nutrition, water, and smart infrastructure.

Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi delivered opening remarks.

“Ryerson has been part of the big transformation of this great city,” said Lachemi. The opening of CUI adds to the rise of Toronto’s portfolio as a world class city.” Through this building, he said, the young minds of today can solve the problems faced by society now and in the future.

Built in 1886, the heritage site was home to the first school of pharmacy in Canada, external link. Ryerson acquired the site in 1963 and it housed the university’s Theatre School between 1971 and 2016. Moriyama & Teshima Architects’ design of the CUI honours the building’s past by preserving the original three storey building and enfolding it with two large additions on the north and east sides. The building also features a green roof and is aiming to become LEED certified.

Earlier in the day, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau had the opportunity to tour the historic building. This included a stop to meet with students and researchers in CUE’s state-of-the-art Schneider Electric Smart Grid Laboratory.

Morneau, who is also a member of parliament for Toronto Centre, was grateful for the chance to experience a significant milestone within his riding. “This is an opportunity for me to celebrate something that’s going on locally,” he remarked. “I think all of you should be proud to be part of this institution which is making a really important difference on so many fronts in our city and in our country.”

The CUI was made possible by a $19.8 million investment from the federal government’s Strategic Investment Fund, a program designed to modernize infrastructure and improve the environmental sustainability on post-secondary campuses.

“I’m excited about your new building — which looks pretty great — and I’m glad to have just a little part in it,” he said. “I wish you well and hope that you continue to have a big impact on our country.”

Finance Minister Bill Morneau with Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi at CUI's official opening. 

Minister Morneau and President Lachemi meet researchers and students in the Schneider Electric Smart Grid Lab.

 David Venn is a fourth-year journalism student at Ryerson University

"I think all of you should be proud to be part of this institution which is making a really important difference on so many fronts in our city and in our country."