A Behind-the-scenes tour of the construction on front campus: The Landmark Project Unveiled

As a third-year student at the University of Toronto, I'm used to the busy campus life, endless study sessions, and, of course, the constant construction. This construction on the St. George campus by King's College Circle is called the Landmark Project.

The Landmark Project is a big plan to make the centre of the St. George campus greener, more sustainable, more accessible, and better for walking. For many students going to and from Gerstein and Convocation Hall, walking between fences and big pieces of equipment has become a normal part of the day. I'll be honest: right now, the construction isn't very pleasant. We students are used to dodging mud puddles, squeezing between big machines, and navigating fenced paths. But knowing what's coming, I can't help but be excited about the end result!

As a member of the student life digital storytelling team, I recently had the amazing chance to join an exclusive tour of the Landmark Project led by none other than Professor Scott Mabury, the Vice-President of Operations and Real Estate Partnerships at U of T and Ron Saporta, the Chief Operating Officer, Property Services and Sustainability. During the tour, we got a close look at the construction going on, learned about the main goals of the project, and found out what the future holds for our beloved campus.

What is the Landmark Project?

The Landmark Project is one of the University of Toronto's most ambitious open-space projects in the last 100 years. Its main goal is to make the centre of the St. George campus more green, sustainable, accessible, and friendly to pedestrians. As a student, it's great to see how much the university cares about making our campus better and promoting green ideas.

Highlights of the Landmark Project

During the tour, Scott and Ron talked about some of the most important parts of the project, such as:

  1. Green spaces: The project will add a lot of trees, gardens, and other green areas, making the campus a more serene and appealing place. The addition of greenery will not only make the campus look better, but it will also help it be more environmentally friendly.
  2. Design that is friendly to pedestrians: The Landmark Project puts pedestrians first by redesigning paths, plazas, and gathering spaces to make them more inviting and easy to get to. Moving parking spots underground and getting rid of vehicle traffic in some areas will make the campus easier to get around on foot and make it safer for students, faculty, staff, librarians and visitors.
  3. Geothermal field: The installation of Canada's largest urban geothermal field under King's College Circle is one of the most exciting parts of the Landmark Project. This new geoexchange system will help keep buildings at the right temperature and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a great deal. As a student who cares about climate change, I'm happy to see U of T take such a big step towards sustainability.
  4. Real-world learning: The geothermal field will also be a subterranean classroom for students. This will give them a chance to learn by doing and to see how cutting-edge technology works.
  5. Better public spaces: As part of the project, new public spaces are being made, like the granite plaza around Convocation Hall and the redesigned areas around Hart House. Students will be more likely to talk to each other, work together, and feel like they belong to a group in these spaces. Improvements also include the Indigenous Landscape Project, which hopes to honour Taddle Creek while creating an outdoor space where the Indigenous community may gather and see themselves represented on campus.

What We Learned from the Tour

Our digital storytelling team was inspired and excited about the future of the St. George campus after Scott and Ron took us on a tour of the Landmark Project. It was clear that the university had put a lot of thought and work into making a project that was beautiful, useful, and good for the environment. As a student, I'm glad to be at a university that cares so much about making campus life better and making the world a greener, more sustainable place to live.

The Landmark Project is definitely a big step forward for the University of Toronto, and I can't wait for it to be finished. I have no doubt that the new St. George campus will be beautiful and a sight to see. It will be a great place to make memories during our time at U of T. It will also be a shining example of what a university can do when it puts sustainability, accessibility, and the health and happiness of its students and community at the top of its list of priorities.

Ron and Scott's tour gave us a rare look behind the scenes at the Landmark Project's progress and goals. As a student and a member of the digital storytelling team, I can't wait to tell my fellow students and the rest of the U of T community about this experience. Together, we can look forward to a campus that is greener, livelier, and better connected, which will make it easier to learn, grow, and have memorable experiences. Keep an eye out for more information about the Landmark Project as we continue to track its progress and how it affects our campus. The Landmark project will be completed in the fall this year, and the University of Toronto's future has never looked brighter - or greener!

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