The Ontario government announced the opening a new courthouse in Toronto as part of its plan to modernize and improve access to the justice system.
The fully accessible state-of-the-art courthouse will bring six Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ) criminal courts under one roof, including specialty courts, such as those for drug treatment, youth and mental health.
“By integrating most Ontario Court of Justice criminal proceedings into one courthouse, we’re supporting equal access to court services that are currently dispersed across multiple court locations,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “The consolidation of resources will permit centralized criminal case management, a greater concentration of expertise, and the effective and efficient scheduling of judges, justices of the peace, Crown attorneys, court staff, duty counsel, and interpreters to support the timely processing of criminal matters.”
Located at 10 Armoury Street, the new courthouse (No. 65 on ReNew’s 2023 Top100 Projects report) features 73 judicial hearing rooms equipped with modern technology, including video capabilities. The courthouse also boasts upgraded security features, including a single point of entry with electronic screening and lockdown capability, video surveillance and monitoring.
“The new Toronto courthouse will help improve access to court services for visitors and occupants, while helping to ensure the safety of our communities,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “Our government is building and modernizing key infrastructure to help connect Ontarians to the people, businesses and services they need more quickly and efficiently.”
Toronto’s new courthouse is the most accessible courthouse in Ontario with design elements that include barrier-free prisoner boxes and witness boxes and signage that is tactile and in Braille.
“The Ontario Court of Justice is pleased to recognize the imminent opening of the new Toronto courthouse,” said Lise Maisonneuve, Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice. “The Court recognizes the efforts of the multiple stakeholders that were instrumental in bringing this project to completion. The Court looks forward to continuing to work closely with all stakeholders to provide meaningful services and enhance the administration of justice.”
The new Toronto courthouse was designed and built to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard, which recognizes buildings with reduced environmental impacts.
“I am thrilled to celebrate the opening of the new Ontario Court of Justice in downtown Toronto. Featuring a barrier-free environment that allows visitors and occupants to travel with ease, this project is a prime example of what forward-thinking innovation and strong partnerships can achieve. On behalf of everyone at Infrastructure Ontario, congratulations to the Ministry of the Attorney General and all of our partners on this outstanding achievement,” said Michael Lindsay, president and CEO, Infrastructure Ontario.
The new Toronto courthouse was designed by the internationally renowned Renzo Piano Building Workshop in partnership with Canadian-based architecture firm NORR Architects. Renzo Piano designed the Shard skyscraper in London, England, as well as the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
“This major civic project represents a new standard in the evolution of courthouse facilities, providing a unique mix of specialized courtrooms, support facilities and enhanced accessibility features. It solves the challenge of the high-rise courthouse through a welcoming light-filled facility that integrates carefully into the important civic context,” read a statement from NORR and RPBW.
“NORR and RPBW, architectural partners on this project, are proud to have collaborated with EllisDon, the Ministry of Attorney General, Infrastructure Ontario, the many stakeholders and the larger consulting team on this project that will advance the delivery of justice in Ontario.”
Featured image: (Infrastructure Ontario)