Columbus Centre/Villa Charities &
Dante Alighieri Academy Redevelopment: An Intergenerational Community Hub
Villa Charities is proud and excited to embark on a major revitalization of our Lawrence-Dufferin campus.
The area surrounding the campus has changed since we began developing the site more than 40 years ago, and is expected to evolve rapidly in the near future. The Columbus Centre has served our community well for two generations. Age, however, has caught up to our facilities, which today are costly and inefficient to operate.
The new intergenerational community hub will be a premier destination for Italian-Canadians in the GTA and others wishing to explore Italian culture. It will provide fully modernized and enhanced facilities, with an array of programs. This will be a re-imagined space to better meet the needs and expectations of future generations and the community we serve.
The new Columbus Centre will provide fully modernized and enhanced facilities, with an array of programs. A separate, exclusive-use section for the Columbus Centre will house improved space for Villa Charities’ art, dance, music, and culinary programs, fitness facilities, a restaurant and café, new event/banquet space, an art gallery and tenant space/administration offices.
The re-envisioned, joint-use complex will provide many benefits for Columbus Centre patrons, Dante Alighieri students and the Greater Toronto Area community.
New features include:
- A premier, intergenerational cultural and learning destination with increased opportunities for all constituents
- A new 435-seat performing arts theatre
- New controlled parking lots with sidewalks, landscaped boulevards and pedestrian connections to the Dante playing field
- An indoor walking and running circuit through shared service space within Dante Alighieri Academy
- A half-kilometre outdoor running circuit around the site with a parkours for community use
- A fully accessible facility to meet the needs of people of all abilities
Columbus Centre/Villa Charities:
- New contemporary music, dance and fine arts studios, dramatically enhanced athletic facilities with state-of-the-art fitness studios for spin, aerobics and yoga
- Swimming pool with resistance jets, available for lap swimming, aquafitness, lessons and leisure activities
- Exclusive Columbus Centre-use changeroom facilities with private showers, sauna and whirlpool
- A dramatic, three-story glass façade along Lawrence Avenue that will bring natural light into the cultural classrooms, fully glazed dance studios
- Massage and therapy clinics, child-minding and other programs
- New event/banquet space
- A street presence for the restaurant and the art gallery, which will front onto Lawrence Avenue, with an outdoor patio dining area
- A high-tech culinary studio with digital learning technology, enabling live interaction with chef instructors in Italy and all over the world.
Dante Alighieri Academy:
- Single, centralized location for 850-950 Dante Alighieri Academy students, in a 21st century learning environment
- Dramatic two-story library/resource centre
- Triple gym
- Commons/cafeteria that overlooks the gymnasiums and urban forest
- Use of theatre, dance studio, fitness facility, music practice rooms, culinary kitchen
- Break out spaces to allow for collaboration amongst students
- Designated drop-off and pick-up zone
Fitness Statistics and Key Features
Existing pool size: 8.5 m x 18.5 m
Proposed pool size: 8.5 m x 17.5 m
Existing indoor walking/running track: 105 metres
Proposed indoor walking/running circuit: 130 metres
Based on current projections, we anticipate that the Columbus Centre will remain in operation until December 2017 at minimum. As previously communicated, during construction, programs and services will be provided in temporary facilities. We are actively working on locating sites within our local community for our cultural arts and athletics programs, and we will do our best to maintain service continuity. Opportunities are also being explored to temporarily relocate the Joseph D. Carrier Gallery, Ristorante Boccaccio and Caffè Cinquecento. Members will be notified of the new locations when confirmed.
We will provide significant advance notice to our members and stakeholders before the move occurs.
For more information, read our FAQs here.