By Aabida Dhanji
A new visitor centre opened at Toronto’s Fort York on Friday Sept. 19.
Patkau Architects Inc. of Vancouver and Kearns Mancini Architects Inc. of Toronto designed the new building.
The Visitor Centre design was selected through an international competition held in 2009. In 2011 the Centre received a Canadian Architect magazine Award of Excellence.
“The Visitor Centre provides a dramatic, architecturally stunning entrance point for visitors to learn about and find out more about the history of the place as well as learn how Fort York was the first urban place of Toronto,” Larry Ostola, Director of Museums & Heritage Services, City of Toronto, told Humber News.
Fort York was one of the hidden gems and was not easy to find. But now it has become more accessible and is a lot easier to get to, he said.
Many people drive over the Visitor Centre on a daily basis, but may not even know it. The building is located under the Gardiner Expressway’s highest point, said Jonathan Kearns, of Kearns Mancini Architects.
“The first floor of the new Visitor Centre features various exhibits that depict the World War 1 time period, while the second floor will have a multimedia area,” said Kearns. There will be a roof top view overlooking the actual fort.
Artifacts in the Visitor Centre include uniforms of nurses and soldiers from World War 1, a showcase of paintings and pictures from the war period and various medals that were received by soldiers during the war.
Although the centre has officially opened, there still is much more work to be done. The parking area will be moved out and the trees will be cut out so that Fort York is more visible from the Visitors Centre, Kearns said.