The Government of Canada announced a $3.9-million contribution to the University of Toronto for the construction of a 14-storey mass timber academic and research tower on its St. George campus. The contribution comes through the Green Construction through Wood (GCWood) program.

The new building, the Academic Wood Tower, with its innovative design and creative wood structure, will provide a new and creative workspace for several faculties and act as a living laboratory to further the university’s innovation agenda. The structure is being constructed almost entirely from engineered Canadian timber.

“The Government of Canada’s Green Construction through Wood program is supporting more sustainable Canadian materials for the construction industry. The University of Toronto’s Academic Wood Tower project is one of many examples of innovative technologies being used to create resilient and low-carbon buildings, while preventing carbon emissions. I congratulate all those involved in this important project,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

Mass timber products require less energy to produce and store carbon dioxide. By choosing mass timber, construction projects are reducing pollution and energy waste while contributing to a growing area of climate action. Mass timber products sustainably contribute to the future of low-carbon construction and the development Canada’s bioeconomy in a manner that is consistent with the forest carbon cycle.

Instead of a traditional groundbreaking, Pomerleau and the University ceremonially marked the start of construction with a mass timber “building raising” where guests had the opportunity to hand sign one of the mass timbers before it is used in the construction of the building. (Pomerleau)

“As a global university, we have a responsibility — and an opportunity — to show the world how to positively shape urban environments. With the Academic Wood Tower, made possible thanks in large part to our generous supporters, U of T is leveraging Canada’s leadership in forestry and wood technologies to demonstrate a better way to build, all while providing our faculty and students with state-of-the-art spaces for their research, teaching, learning and community engagement. Ambitious projects like these are why U of T is increasingly regarded as a global leader in sustainability.” said Meric Gertler, president, University of Toronto.

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Located near the intersection of Devonshire Place and Bloor Street on U of T’s St. George campus, the tower will provide high-quality spaces for the Rotman School of Management, the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy in the Faculty of Arts and Scienceand the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education.

The Academic Wood Tower at U of T is a historic development that symbolizes where we are headed: a cleaner future where Canadian workers sustainably use Canadian materials to build more affordable and sustainable communities. The Government of Canada is pleased to help get this tower built, right here in Toronto,” said Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

Featured image: (University of Toronto/Patkau Architects + MJMA)

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