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May 22, 2009
Competition finalists named for the design of a new visitor centre at Fort York National Historic Site

Five design teams have been selected from a field of 31 to compete in Stage II of the competition to design a new visitor centre at Fort York National Historic Site. The finalists, who submitted their proposals following a Stage I Call for Expressions of Interest, are:
• Baird Sampson Neuert Architects
• Diamond and Schmitt Architects
• du Toit Allsopp Hillier/du Toit Architects Limited
• Patkau Architects Inc with Kearns Mancini Architects Inc
• rawdesign with Gareth Hoskins Architects

During the next stage of the competition, which will be undertaken this summer, the finalists will anonymously submit their conceptual designs for the visitor centre. Designs will be exhibited at a public open house where community members can comment on submissions before the jury selects a winning scheme.

Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone (Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina), Chair of the Fort York Visitor Centre Steering Committee, welcomes the announcement that a new visitor centre for Fort York is today one step closer to reality. "With the upcoming bicentennial commemorations of the War of 1812, now is the time to finally add this important asset to Toronto's cultural arsenal," says Pantalone. "Our city recognizes that Fort York played a crucial role in Toronto's history, and the Fort will continue to educate and engage Torontonians and tourists alike long into the future."

The pre-construction phase of this project includes the design competition process, design development, and all components required to prepare for construction tender. A federal grant, in the amount of $617,000, has been generously provided through the Department of Canadian Heritage Cultural Spaces Canada Program to defray a portion of the pre-construction costs.

The final cost of the visitor centre is estimated at $15 million (including soft costs) and is contingent upon receipt of funds from other orders of government and private sector fundraising through the newly formed Fort York Foundation. If a firm commitment of funding from various sources can be secured, the project will be tendered for construction as early as possible in 2010, with a building completion date of December 2011. This would allow for exhibit installation and commissioning for a June 2012 opening that will coincide with the launch of Toronto’s Commemoration of the War of 1812 Bicentennial program.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
David O’Hara, Fort York National Historic Site, 416-392-6907 ext. 222,
Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, 416-392-4009,



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