Construction Begins On New Home For The Archives Of Ontario

    Improved Access to Province's Documentary Heritage One Step Closer to

    TORONTO, April 30 /CNW/ - Groundbreaking has taken place at the new site
of the Archives of Ontario at York University, Minister of Government Services
Gerry Phillips announced today.
    A new and modern facility for the Archives is being built on the main
York University campus, at 4700 Keele Street in Toronto. Over the next two
years the Ontario government, in partnership with York University, will
oversee the construction of the new archival facility that will provide better
public services and enhance access to the province's history.
    Minister Phillips was on-site this morning with York University president
and vice-chancellor Lorna R. Marsden.
    "By partnering with a leading North American university, this new, world
class facility is a major step forward to protect our province's heritage,"
Phillips said. "With the expansion of the subway line, the new building will
make the Archives even more accessible to the public."
    The new building, about 96,000 square feet in size and located in the
heart of the York University main campus, will increase the current public
reference area by 75 per cent. The new, self-contained facility will meet
international archival standards and make it easier to showcase some of the
Archives' most valuable collections.
    "The new Archives facility is just one example of the McGuinty
government's broader commitment to upgrade infrastructure to meet current and
future needs," said Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal David Caplan.
"Together, we are building a stronger Ontario by providing a foundation for
long-term economic prosperity while respecting the environment."
    As part of the government's commitment to creating and promoting a
culture of conservation in Ontario, the new archives building will meet the
Leadership in Energy and Environment Design silver certification, a nationally
accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of
high-performance green buildings.
    "This new facility will protect Ontario's documentary history for
generations to come," said Archivist of Ontario Miriam McTiernan.
    The Archives of Ontario is the largest provincial archives in Canada,
with a collection valued at more than $400 million. It is responsible for
preserving the documentary history of the province and is an important source
of research for the police, courts, historians and genealogists.
    "We are absolutely delighted by the partnership, which will provide a
first-class home for the Archives at the heart of an expanding GTA," Marsden
    The project has been proceeding under ReNew Ontario, the government's
five-year, $30-billion infrastructure renewal plan to build strong and
prosperous communities. It was implemented according to the principles of the
Building a Better Tomorrow Framework for public infrastructure procurement,
which protects the public interest and ensures that processes are fair,
transparent and efficient.
    The new Archives facility is expected to open in 2009.

    Disponible en français





    The new Archives of Ontario will be an integrated, three-storey, 96,000
square feet podium building with York University's seven-storey "research
tower" sitting atop, adding an additional 120,000 square feet of academic and
research space.  The building will contain the Archives, retail space as well
as incorporate access to the new subway.
    The partnership will enable the government to provide the people of
Ontario with easier access to the province's largest source of information
about Ontario's history - a public information asset valued at $400 million. 
With larger facilities, including a 75 per cent increase to the current public
reference area, the new building will provide new and improved access for
researchers, delegations and school tours, and accommodate future growth. Use
of the Archives documentary records almost tripled over the past decade with
the average customer requests per staff (onsite visits) increasing from 390 in
1990/91 to more than 1,000 in 2000/2001.
    York University and the Archives of Ontario will oversee the construction
of the new facility, which is expected to be completed in March 2009. Bregman
& Hamann and PCL Constructors Canada Inc. are members of the team, led by the
Plenary Group that was selected by York University to design construct,
finance and operate this facility.

    About the Archives of Ontario

    Since 1903, the Archives of Ontario has been collecting historically
significant records created by both the Ontario government and the private
sector. Records from more than 2,600 businesses, clubs and associations,
political and labour organizations and private individuals complement the
official government records.
    As the largest provincial archives in Canada, the Archives of Ontario
holds an extensive and growing collection, including 1.7 million photographs,
310,000 cubic feet of textual records, over 200,000 architectural drawings and
more than 40,000 hours of audio, video and film recordings.

    Government records

    Records from the Government of Ontario include land records documenting
the ownership of land, court records covering legal actions from 1789 to
1980s, business registrations for companies operating in Ontario, registration
of births, marriages and deaths for Ontario, records from the offices of
former Premiers of Ontario, and photographs and films promoting tourism in
Ontario. The Archives also houses the Government of Ontario Art Collection.

    Private sector records

    Private sector collections feature, among others, records of The T. Eaton
Company, architectural drawings from well-known architectural firms such as
E.C.B. Horwood and Moriyama and Teshima Architects, records from the St.
Lawrence Starch Company and private papers, diaries and drawings from
Ontario's first Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe and his family.

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Paul de Zara, Minister's Office, (416) 327-3072
- office, (647) 388-9671 - cell; Ciaran Ganley, Ministry of Government
Services, (416) 325-8659

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