Documenting the Canary District, formerly the 2015 Pan Am Village

In the summer of 2015, Toronto hosted the Pan American Games (the 2015 PanAm Games). Similarly to the Olympics, the competition features summer sports. The city had to build some infrastructure for the games, including an Athletes Village.

It was an ambitious project: east of downtown, the Athletes Village was to be built from the ground up. The project was well handled, as the village was set to become a new neighbourhood after the games, with condos, affordable housing, shops, a YMCA community centre and a new building for George Brown College.

The team involved was huge. The project was developed by Waterfront Toronto and DundeeKilmer (Dream)and built by EllisDon. The main architects were architectsAllianceMJM ArchitectsKPMB Architects and Daoust Lestage Architects.

After the games, it took about a year for the entire neighbourhood, now dubbed Canary District, to be fully complete. Last fall, I took some time to capture the various buildings of the Canary District, as it is not every day that an entirely new neighbourhood emerges. I photographed the 6 buildings, as well as a few art installations that are in the area. 

When you reach the Canary district, you first come upon the YMCA building, with the heritage brick building next to it. In front of the building is a streetcar stop, a new line created to reach the neighbourhood. Adjacent to the YMCA, the new building of the George Brown College has a very distinctive architecture. The colors on the columns were not part of the original architecture.

Blocks 15 and 3 are affordable housing units. While a little more simple in terms of architecture, the two buildings have their identity among the neighbourhood.

There are two condominium buildings in the neighbourhood. The Canary Park Condos are on the east end, near the Corktown Commons park. I particularly enjoy the shape and curve of the building.

The Canary District Condos are the last building I photographed. It’s a very long building, with only a few stories.

The Water Guardians, by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins with James Khamsi, is a piece that includes playful materials and water fountains.

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The Garden of Future Follies, by Hadley Howes and Maxwell Stephen, is made of 7 sculptures. Each sculpture is a mashup of pieces from different sculptures around Toronto.

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Tadashi Kawamata culled lamp posts from yards and depots to compose Untitled. Then arrangement was improvised, instead of a carefully planned structure.

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I have many other images of the Canary District, you can see them on Flickr. It is a beautiful new neighbourhood for Toronto residents, a place to live and to visit. A good lessons for Olympic and Pan Am Games organizing cities.