ERA Architects
Victoria University Plan

University of Toronto: Victoria University

The oldest among the University of Toronto’s federated universities, Victoria University and its campus are an expression of dynamic, complex and current programmatic needs. Following ERA’s assessment of University of Toronto-owned resources across its St. George Campus in downtown Toronto, ERA was retained by Victoria University to undertake a similar assessment to guide the stewardship, growth and enhancement of its independent land holdings.

Victoria University’s lands encompass academic, administrative and residential spaces, as well as cultural, commercial and retail amenities for the city at large. Taken together, they are one of Toronto’s most prominent collections of buildings and landscape from every era since the late 19th century. The scope of ERA’s services included research, analysis, internal design and strategy, city and stakeholder consultation, and review and preparation of heritage material.

Victoria University

Victoria University Archives (Toronto), 1991.161/403.

ERA developed a framework for the evaluation of historic resources, which can also help identify opportunities for growth and development. The assessment classified built resources not only according to their design/physical value and historical/associative value, but also according to the contribution they make to their historic context. Based on analysis of its development and evolution, the study area was divided into a series of character areas, each of which was addressed in an historic context statement. A comprehensive inventory was then developed for all of Victoria University’s built resources.

Based on this assessment, ERA developed conservation goals to support urban planning and development in a manner that conserves cultural heritage value, considerations for a new Secondary Plan for the St. George Campus, and individual evaluations for three mid-20th century resources. The combined result is a framework to support the University’s prestigious role, status and identity in a layered campus balancing stewardship with continual renewal.