Yesterday we gave you a little taste of the current state of construction on the West Don Lands Pan Am Athletes Village. During the 2015 Pan and ParaPan Am Games, the Athlete’s Village will be home to approximately 10,000 athletes and officials from 41 countries across the Americas. Once the games have concluded, the permanent buildings which comprised the Village will be re-tooled into a sustainable mixed-use, pedestrian friendly neighbourhood consisting of 787 market condominiums, 28 townhomes, 12 loft units and 253 units of affordable housing with a broad range of housing types. The nascent community will also be home to George Brown College’s (GBC) first residence, providing dorm space for students attending nearby GBC learning facilities like The Young Centre for Performing Arts as well as the St James and Waterfront campuses.

West Don Lands Canary District YMCA George Brown College aA TorontoAerial rendering of the West Don Lands' Canary District, image courtesy of DundeeKilmer Integrated Design Team

We were afforded the opportunity to attend an in-depth media tour of the rapidly developing West Don Lands (WDL) yesterday, allowing us to provide you with a better understanding of what is going on behind the vast perimeter of construction hoarding. The 25th floor of the under-construction Gooderham condo tower just to the south, gave us a perfect location to view the site from above, and made plain the continued progress on both the new street grid and the several structures rising from within the sea of cranes.

West Don Lands Canary District YMCA George Brown College aA TorontoAerial view of the West Don Lands, seen from The Gooderham, image by Jack Landau

On the far left of the image above, Cherry Street gently curves along a north/south alignment, forming the western boundary of the construction-zone. Directly to its east, we can see the new YMCA/GBC student residences rising immediately north of the two red-brick heritage buildings at Cherry and Front. Looking towards the right-centre of the photo, twin red tower-cranes can be seen looming over Block 11, more commonly known as DundeeKilmer’s Canary District Condos, the first of five market condominiums planned for the community.

West Don Lands Canary District YMCA George Brown College aA TorontoModel of Canary District Condos, image by Jack Landau

West Don Lands Canary District YMCA George Brown College aA TorontoCanary District Condos, image courtesy of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects for DundeeKilmer Integrated Design Team

With concrete now being poured at street-level, Canary District Condos’ 4 KPMB-designed buildings will serve as a key residential component for the Pan Am Athlete’s Village, to be converted into 369 condominium units soon after the Closing Ceremonies. Canary District Condos will consist of two towers standing at 8 and 11 storeys, connected by low-rise five-storey buildings with townhomes at ground level.

West Don Lands Canary District YMCA George Brown College aA TorontoCanary District Condos construction site at Block 11, image by Jack Landau

West Don Lands Canary District YMCA George Brown College aA TorontoPanorama of the Canary District Condominiums construction site, image by Jack Landau

Located at the northeast corner of Front and Cherry Streets, the new YMCA and the attached George Brown College Student Residence are also making significant progress. The 8-storey, architectsAlliance designed GBC Student Residence will provide housing for 500 students. The addition of the 175,000 square-foot building LEED® Gold building will help to accommodate GBC’s growing student demand; the institution experienced a 70% surge in enrolment between 2005 and 2012.

West Don Lands Canary District YMCA George Brown College aA TorontoRendering of George Brown College Student Residence, image courtesy of DundeeKilmer Integrated Design Team

West Don Lands Canary District YMCA George Brown College aA TorontoAerial view of GBC and YMCA site, image by Jack Landau

West Don Lands Canary District YMCA George Brown College aA TorontoGBC and YMCA site from Cherry and Front Streets, image by Jack Landau

West Don Lands Canary District YMCA George Brown College aA TorontoGBC and YMCA site from Cherry and Front Streets, image by Jack Landau

Just next door, construction is proceeding on the 82,000 square-foot MJM Architects-designed facility set to become the Cherry Street YMCA after the conclusion of the games. Also built to LEED® Gold building standards, the YMCA will contain a swimming pool, a gymnasium, fitness studios, casino and spaces for youth and community activities. This new facility will serve the neighbourhood of over 8,000 with services and programs to support a neighbourhood whose population is projected to increase 13.5 per cent by 2020.

West Don Lands Canary District YMCA George Brown College aA Toronto82,000 square-foot YMCA rising next to the GBC Student Residence, image by Jack Landau

Work is currently proceeding on the Front Street Promenade, a 4 block, tree-lined, easterly extension of Front Street terminating at the new 18-acre Don River Park. The promenade, and surrounding pedestrian-friendly mews and courtyards, will be home to a greater part of the 40,000 square-feet of ground floor retail space being developed in the area. In addition to these community-friendly developments, plans also are in place to add an LRT line running along the western edge of the neighbourhood via Cherry Street.

West Don Lands Canary District YMCA George Brown College aA TorontoFront Street Promenade, image courtesy of DundeeKilmer Integrated Design Team

With the clock ticking until the summer 2015 deadline, we will be sure to return in the coming months as the developing neighbourhood continues to take shape. In the meantime, a comprehensive collection of renderings and additional facts regarding both the Pan Am Athletes Village and Canary District Condominiums can be found at each project’s respective dataBase page, linked below. To get involved in the discussion, please visit the associated Forum threads, or voice your opinion in the comments section below.