Toronto

Canary District, Pan Am Games legacy project, takes shape in east end

With eight days to go before the Pan Am Games begin, the finishing touches are being applied to a former industrial wasteland just east of Toronto’s downtown that will serve as the Athletes' Village.

Canary District will be home to 10,000 athletes before homeowners, students move in

The 35-acre Canary District, located near Front Street and Cherry Street, will be taken over by 10,000 athletes, coaches and team officials, before homeowners and retail stores move in. (Canarydistrict.com)

With eight days to go before the Pan Am Games begin, the finishing touches are being applied to a former industrial wasteland just east of Toronto's downtown that will serve as the Athletes' Village.

The 35-acre Canary District, located near Front Street and Cherry Street, will be taken over by 10,000 athletes, coaches and team officials, before homeowners and retail stores move in.

The Canary District, which was christened after the famed Canary Restaurant which sat at the the corner of Front Street East and Cherry Street from the mid-1960's to 2007, was designed by a team of internationally renowned architects, including Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects.

It's one of several legacy projects of the Games.

"What's remarkable about the Pan Am Athletes' Village is that it is a complete neighbourhood," Bruce Kuwabara of KPMB Architect told host Nil Koksal on Metro Morning Friday. "So, yes, we are building accommodations which will be home away from home for visiting athletes, but we're also building open space and streets."

The new mixed-use neighbourhood will include a remade Front Street East with pedestrian boulevards, condominiums, affordable housing units, a student residence, and an 80,000-square-foot YMCA.

"If you look at a lot of other Olympics or Pan Am Games, the athletes' housing is conceived to be just that," Kuwabara said.

"In our case, we were really focusing on creating a long-term legacy, which would be accommodation for a range of people with a range of incomes; student housing, affordable rental housing and condominium housing all within a matrix of public space.

"It's truly a diverse, mixed income neighbourhood and that forms the best of what Toronto is."

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