Located at Kingston and Brimley Roads in Scarborough, and built in 1963 as an addition to St. Augustine’s Seminary, St. John Henry Newman Catholic Secondary School is currently operating at well beyond capacity. To facilitate redevelopment, the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) purchased the lot directly north of the school, currently occupied by the Scarborough Foreign Mission (SFM). The redevelopment includes the demolition of the Mission’s three-storey McCrae wing to make way for the new design, which incorporates historically significant portions of SFM and chapel building. The new secondary school will be a three-storey structure built to accommodate 1,100 students and 100 staff.

Drawing parallels between the life of the Agora in ancient Athens (serving as religious, political, judicial, athletic, social and commercial hub) and the activities that take place at St. John Henry Newman, the Stoa of Athens served as inspiration for the design team. The Stoas’ open, covered portico, dimensions and architectural expression are referenced in the design of the new facility, allowing new components to function as a complimentary backdrop to the Campus’s heritage buildings.

From the north entrance located at Kingston Road, the site slopes a full storey towards the classrooms facing the sports field at the south of the building. The unique section has been leveraged in the design of the main entrance corridor and circulation spine of the school. This strong north-south axis connects the communal spaces of the café, theatre, chapel and learning commons to the main corridor, and presents a view out towards the 400m track and sports field as you enter in the main doors from Kingston Road. Borrowing again from the theme of the Agora, and utilizing the grade change to its full potential, the outdoor space between the chapel and gymnasium volumes creates a tiered amphitheater to be used as performance space by the theatre arts program directly adjacent to it.

The new St. John Henry Newman campus will meet the Toronto Green Standard v3- Tier 1 requirements and include sustainability features such as a high-performance building envelope, solar photovoltaic panels and storm water bio retention ponds. An adaptive reuse project, the embodied energy of the brick and structural steel in the components of the SFM and Chapel buildings that will be retained offer a savings of 3,334,731 kWh versus building new.


Completion Date:


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Building Size:

148,400 sq. ft.

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