York University expansion will provide convenient post-secondary option for regional youth
MARKHAM – Already enjoying a reputation as one of York Region’s most contemporary and exciting communities, Markham Centre – an area we previously featured in our Neighbourhood Profile series – will soon also be home to the region’s first university campus.
York University’s decision to locate its newest campus facility in the neighbourhood was announced on June 23, and marks the end of a three-month-long bidding process that also shortlisted compelling and ambitious submissions from Richmond Hill and Vaughan. A joint submission from the municipalities of Newmarket and Aurora was also among the early contenders when the university announced its intent to expand back in April.
York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri explained that Markham Centre was a logical choice for the new campus due not only to its growth potential as an urban centre, but also its proximity to major transit routes – a Markham Centre campus would be just a short walk away from the newly expanded VIVA Rapidway, as well as GO train and bus service via the Unionville station.
Markham Centre is also the site of the Markham Pan Am / Parapan Am Centre, a massive athletic facility boasting a triple gymnasium and Olympic-sized swimming pool. The centre is scheduled for completion later this summer and, in addition to hosting various events for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games, will likely be another major draw for students considering enrollment at the new campus.
“York University has always been York Region’s university. More students from York Region choose to attend York University than any other university,” Shoukri explained via York University’s digital publication yFile. “We are thrilled with the opportunity in Markham Centre and it is just the beginning of our plan to be in more locations across the region over time.”
Speaking to The Economist and Sun that week, university spokesperson Joanne Rider revealed that the new university will be located on the south side of Enterprise Boulevard, just west of the Markham Pan Am Centre.
Following the announcement, the campus’s Markham Centre location and proposal drew praise from political and community leaders not only in the City of Markham, but in previously competing York Region municipalities as well.
“The community has been after a university for a long, long time. There was always an undercurrent of hope,” local councillor Don Hamilton told the Economist, noting that the area around the campus already features a well-established private sector presence.
“The area is taking shape. Eventually, there will be a lot of activity in the area. It will be a high-end, viable area for entertainment, live, work and now education.”
Over the next while, the campus project and its applications will be subject to review by first a multi-ministry provincial panel, and then eventually submitted to the cabinet of Ontario via the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.