Centennial College tops off new Centre for Aerospace and Aviation at Downsview Park

Centennial College, located in Toronto, Ont., topped off its Centre for Aerospace and Aviation under construction at Downsview Park on Oct. 11, 2017.

Administrators and partners of Centennial College hoist their top hats to celebrate the construction of the new 138,000 square-foot Centre for Aerospace and Aviation at Downsview Park.
Administrators and partners of Centennial College hoist their top hats to celebrate the construction of the new 138,000 square-foot Centre for Aerospace and Aviation at Downsview Park. Centennial College Photo
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Students, staff, dignitaries and guests were on hand to sign a steel I-beam before it was hoisted and incorporated into the new hangar that forms the central feature of the rejuvenated former headquarters of de Havilland Canada.

The $72 million project includes the hangar, which is large enough to accommodate today’s commercial jets, as well as new classrooms, laboratory space, workshops, offices and a library. The campus is slated to open in the fall of 2018, and it will have access to working runways for the first time.

Centennial currently trains about 300 aircraft and avionics technicians at its Ashtonbee campus hangar in Scarborough, Ont. The 138,000 square-foot (12,820 square-metre) Centre for Aerospace and Aviation will have enough instruction space to accommodate 900 students annually. The project, led by MJMA | Stantec (Architects in Association), involves re-purposing the historic de Havilland building, located at 65 Carl Hall Road, with selective demolition and new construction.

Centennial College aviation technician students sign the steel beam that will form part of the hangar under construction
Centennial College aviation technician students sign the steel beam that will form part of the hangar under construction. Centennial College Photo
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The Canadian government contributed $18.4 million in Strategic Investment Funds towards the new campus, and the Ontario government provided $25.8 million. The project is seen as the first step towards creating an aerospace training and research hub for the development of new technologies in Ontario-an ambitious goal that was first outlined in the 2012 review of the Canadian aerospace industry by the Honourable David Emerson.

Centennial’s newest campus will anchor the Downsview Aerospace Innovation and Research (DAIR) consortium, which is working to maintain Canada’s ranking as a major aerospace supplier to the world. DAIR brings together academic and industry partners, including the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, Ryerson University, York University, Bombardier, Safran Landing Systems, MDA and others.

The de Havilland site is renowned for having built the Mosquito, a light bomber that was one of the fastest aircraft of the second World War; it is able to attain 683 kilometres per hour at 9,144 metres. It was one of the few front-line aircraft of the era constructed almost entirely of wood–primarily balsawood, spruce and Canadian birch.

De Havilland Canada’s 7,000 employees assembled 1,134 of the remarkable “Mossies” on the site to help in the war effort.

One thought on “Centennial College tops off new Centre for Aerospace and Aviation at Downsview Park

  1. Hi Brad…much thanks for sharing your success with this major project….congratulations to your dedication and hard work and to your assistants at Centennial College and your affiliates…the U of T and Ryerson

    Much love Mom

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