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Public Realm

As Ryerson grows, we must continue to provide a vibrant and engaging network of public spaces that promote a vibrant, welcoming, inspiring and harmonious campus life for our students, employees and the broader community.

The vision and framework for meeting that goal is outlined in the PDF fileRyerson University Campus Public Realm Plan. This document provides the vision for Ryerson as a leading innovation university and city builder, and serves as a resource of tools to implement that vision. It sets out flexible guidelines for improving our public spaces that prioritize safety, accessibility and quality of place; and supports our Master Plan Principles, including priorities such as pedestrianization, design excellence and taking a People First approach.

Frequently asked questions

Find out more about the Ryerson University Campus Public Realm Plan, including current and future plans to implement its proposed projects.

Ryerson defines the public realm as the publicly accessible, exterior campus spaces, including streets, pathways, right-of-ways and parks – the spaces where our community moves, meets and celebrates.

Most of the Ryerson public realm is owned by the City of Toronto. Close coordination with the City is required for any improvements on public right-of-ways.

The Campus Public Realm plan provides a high level vision, direction and key performance indicators (KPIs) for the development of public realm features on campus.

The Campus Public Realm Plan was developed between 2015-2016 with the help of DTAH Architects.

The plan was informed through stakeholder engagement sessions with the Ryerson community of students, faculty and staff to establish guiding principles for implementation also known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Some highlights from the community consultations that went into shaping the Plan included:

  • Placemaking is important; the plan should create high-quality destinations.
  • Planting and greenery, lighting, public art and street furniture are popular wants.
  • Some approaches can achieve multiple goals (e.g. lighting can address safety but also be a public art statement).
  • First priority project is Gould Street.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the guiding principles for implementing the Campus Public Realm Plan. Each stage of the plan’s implementation will incorporate different KPIs where feasible and appropriate. The KPIs are:

  1. Define core campus with signature public realm elements such as paving and lighting.
  2. Customize city furniture to define Ryerson’s public realm core boundaries.
  3. Create a signature Ryerson landscape by introducing and/or improving urban agriculture, green open spaces and streetscape.
  4. Enhance connectivity through public transit.
  5. Develop a consistent approach to lighting.
  6. Enhance pedestrian mobility and primary pedestrian zones.
  7. Integrate laneways as part of the public realm network.
  8. Enhance accessibility and active transportation routes.
  9. Provide opportunities for small retail at grade.
  10. Create an active and transparent ground plane that is both interesting and inviting.
  11. Reinforce existing visual pedestrian axes and create new ones.
  12. Create a flexible and adaptable strategy for the project’s phased implementation.
  13. Introduce sustainable materials.
  14. Introduce new public art opportunities and zones.
  15. Restore an Indigenous presence on our campus that includes various Indigenous Nations' cultural markers, as well as celebrating all heritages.

The Campus Public Realm Plan is complete and Ryerson is currently overseeing the design of Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects.

The first stage of work will be located within a portion of the Phase 1 area – from Gould Street at O’Keefe Lane to Bond Street, and Victoria Street from Dundas Street East to the east entrance of the Library building.

Designers are evaluating an approach that will minimize construction impact given other campus work planned for summer 2018, and taking into account other City work in the same areas planned for 2019.

The central design theme planned for Phase 1 is the permanent pedestrianization of Gould Street, prohibiting vehicular access while establishing a cycling dismount zone.

Other improvements include outdoor lighting, increasing public art installations and enhancing the gateways into campus on Gould Street at Yonge Street, and Victoria Street at Dundas Street East.

The design occurs in two phases, with the following estimated completion dates:

  • Phase 1: Spring 2018
  • Phase 2: Fall 2018

Construction for the first stages of work is expected to occur in the 2018 and 2019 construction seasons. The Campus Public Realm Plan anticipates work to extend for 10 or more years in various targeted locations on campus as funding and approvals are obtained.

The total funding for Phase 1 and Phase 2 as of February 2018 is $5.1 million.