Metrus Announces Purchase of Dunlap Lands from the University of Toronto

    Pledges to "protect and respect" heritage; will seek proposals to keep
    observatory operating; U of T to invest funds in new astronomy and
    astrophysics institute

    RICHMOND HILL, ON, July 28 /CNW/ - Metrus Development is pleased to
announce the purchase of the 190 acre David Dunlap lands in Richmond Hill from
the University of Toronto.
    "With this announcement, we are pleased to become stewards of a unique
and historical site on which we intend to protect the significant buildings,
encourage ongoing science and, in due course, propose development that will
respect its heritage," says Metrus Vice President, Fraser Nelson.
    Nelson adds that Metrus "fully understands and appreciates" the
significance of the Dunlap property.
    "We have been a responsible corporate citizen of Richmond Hill for over
25 years. Like other citizens, we value and respect these lands," says Nelson.
    Metrus will ensure that the historic observatory and its telescope, the
stone administration building dating from 1935 and the Alexander Marsh
farmhouse dating from the 1850s will all remain intact, regardless of whether
they are ever officially designated by the Conservation Review Board, which
has yet to hold hearings on the matter.
    Nelson also says that Metrus intends "to encourage ongoing science and
learning" by seeking proposals from qualified astronomers and/or clubs to keep
the observatory and its telescope funded and running.
    Nelson notes that Metrus has no current plans for development of the
    "No development can or will occur on the property until development
approvals are obtained and water and sewer allocation is available. Any
development that does eventually occur will be respectful of the heritage of
the site, on which the observatory, the administration building and the farm
house will continue to exist," concludes Nelson.
    The sale, brokered by Michael Czestochowski of CB Richard Ellis Limited,
will generate $70 million. The University of Toronto's proceeds from the sale
will be endowed in perpetuity to support the recently established Dunlap
Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics -- continuing the legacy of the 1930s
gift made by Jessie Dunlap in memory of her husband, David.
    U of T's new Dunlap Institute will focus on research, teaching, advanced
training and public outreach in astronomy and astrophysics. Through this
effort, U of T will further advance Toronto's current standing as a world
leader in astronomy and astrophysics. The Institute will also help develop
scientific instrumentation for world class observatories and foster major
national and international research collaborations.
    "The Dunlap Institute will build on Toronto's leadership in astronomy and
astrophysics in the 21st century in the way that the Dunlap Observatory did in
the 20th century," says Meric Gertler, Interim Dean of Arts and Science at the
University of Toronto. "We are glad to know that Metrus will honour the
observatory's past even as we honour the Dunlap family's legacy for the


    Metrus is an acknowledged leader in development and property management
in Ontario. As a family-owned corporation, it has earned the trust of clients
and customers for its dedicated, hands-on approach to the success of each of
its projects. Metrus takes a long-term view of customer satisfaction that has
spelled success for 35 years.


    The University of Toronto has assembled one of the strongest research and
teaching faculties in North America, presenting top students at all levels
with a learning environment unmatched in breadth and depth on any other
Canadian campus.
    U of T faculty co-author more research articles than their colleagues at
any North American university other than Harvard. They are also among the most
highly cited researchers in North America -- consistently ranking alongside
the top five U.S. universities -- and are widely recognized for their teaching
    U of T students can craft intimate learning communities within a unique
undergraduate college system, and participate in more than 1000 clubs and
sports teams.
    Established in 1827, the University of Toronto today operates in downtown
Toronto, Mississauga and Scarborough, as well as in ten renowned academic

For further information:

For further information: Contact, for Metrus: Jim Maclean, (416)
919-4319; Contact, for the University of Toronto: Robert Steiner, Assistant
Vice President, Strategic Communications, (416) 978-0100

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