Community pressure sees public school incorporated into Toronto police station
The Ontario Association of Architects Award-winning Police Services Division 11 is located in Toronto west, in an area referred to as ‘The Junction’. The area was originally known as Carlton Village, but was transformed and industrialised into ‘The Junction’ when railways and stockyards arrived at the end of the 19th century. During the transformation, public education was central to the aspirations of the working-class neighbourhood. In 1913, a new school was established on a 3.4-acre site where Davenport Road cuts diagonally across the Toronto grid.
The masonry building has had a graceful presence on the acute-angled corner for the past century, and now can continue to be the most prominent architectural landmark in Carlton Village for many future generations. The new Police Services Division 11 is now a catalyst for urban revitalisation and the influx of new businesses and residents. As a landmark structure in the community, the prospect of transforming the site into a police facility garnered much community attention.
The scheme involves the integration of this public historical building, a secure and functional zone and sustainable design features. The original 1913 building is retained satisfying the community request to retain the school’s presence; slipped behind the existing 3-storey brick and stone structure is a 2-storey contemporary building accommodating the functional and secure requirements of the Police Service. Within the secure zone a significant amount of daylight is provided to the staff and officers. This was achievable through careful study of the grade changes to control views, use of frosted glass, and skylights.
A limited budget was in place for the scheme and the client had not anticipated reuse of the existing building; the architects were therefore tasked to negotiate a solution agreeable to both the community and the police. The architect was successful in finding a compromise whereby the most significant and prominent portions of the existing building were saved. In the end, the community has voiced deep appreciation for the inclusive design process and the Police Service has benefitted from the positive contact with community leaders and citizens.