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Columbus Centre Redevelopment

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.

At the heart of this project, we are reinvigorating the Columbus Centre as the central piazza for the GTA’s Italian Canadian community and others wishing to explore Italian culture and heritage. The new Centre will meet the needs and expectations of future generations.

The design for the new shared-use Columbus Centre and Dante Alighieri Academy Catholic Secondary School includes a dramatic, three-story glass façade along Lawrence Ave., at the existing Columbus Centre location, with state-of-the-art cultural, athletic, dining, educational and other facilities along with a new performing arts theatre.

The new Columbus Centre will provide fully modernized facilities with programs similar to those provided now as well as new 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.

Key features include:

  • Major upgrades to fine arts, music and dance studios, and dramatically upgraded athletic facilities with state-of-the-art studios for spin, aerobic and other programs.
  • A contemporary culinary studio with digital learning technology, enabling live interaction with chef instructors in Italy and all over the world.
  • A street presence for Ristorante Boccaccio and the art gallery, which will front onto Lawrence Ave., with an outdoor patio dining area.
  • A modern glass façade that will bring natural light into Columbus Centre cultural class rooms, with 12-foot (TBC) ceilings.

Based on current projections, we anticipate that the Centre will remain in operation until fall 2017 at minimum. As previously communicated, during construction, programs and services will be provided without interruption in high quality, temporary facilities. We will provide significant advance notice to our members and stakeholders before the move occurs.