York University breaks new ground in Markham


TORONTO, Sept. 22, 2020 – Construction of York University’s Markham Centre Campus formally began today with a groundbreaking event at the site for the $275.5 million project, expected to open in fall 2023.

President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton was joined by supporters of the project representing all levels of government: Hon. Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities; MPP Billy Pang (Markham-Unionville); York Region Chairman Wayne Emmerson; Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti; and representing the federal government, Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion and International Trade (MP Markham-Thornhill).

The Ontario government announced its approval for the project in late July and site preparation work began immediately for the new campus, which will offer up to 4,200 students in the first phase a range of professionally relevant degree programs and micro-credentials.

York Region is projected to have the highest growth rate in Ontario in the 18-22-year-old population, increasing by 34 per cent by 2041, so Markham Centre Campus will offer students a university education close to home with work integrated learning opportunities in their communities.

“Through the new Markham Centre Campus, York University will be helping meet the future needs of York Region by offering innovative new programs, work-integrated learning and community-engaged research,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton. “By creating new opportunities for higher learning and entrepreneurship in the heart of one of Canada’s fastest-growing regions, the new campus will continue York’s longstanding role in building more prosperous, inclusive and resilient communities.”

The 10-storey, 400,000 square foot campus building, which will be located near the corner of Enterprise Boulevard and Rivis Road in Markham, was designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects. Construction manager on the project is Stuart Olson Ltd. The built form will be a five-storey podium with a five-storey tower above, clad in bronze-anodized aluminum, with welcoming and flexible indoor spaces and a Campus Green for outdoor gatherings.

Milestones during construction include the following:

  • The enabling works − excavation, piles and shoring – begin immediately.
  • Construction of the building’s foundation and superstructure starts in December of 2021.
  • The building will be closed in during the spring of 2022.
  • Completion and move-in is scheduled for August 2023.

York University introduced a comprehensive Social Procurement Policy in January to reflect its values of equity, inclusivity and social justice by ensuring that projects such as the Markham Centre Campus support local economic and social development. The university is inviting organizations to register as a Diverse Vendor or Social Enterprise to supply goods and services for the construction of the new campus.

“The Ontario government is pleased to support, through the updated Major Capacity Expansion Framework, York University’s new Markham Centre Campus. This new campus will help ensure the people of York Region have further access to higher education to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.”  – Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities

 "Supporting and attracting post-secondary education and research opportunities has long been a priority for York Regional Council. As one of the largest business communities in Ontario and Canada’s second largest tech hub, York Region is where talent and opportunity intersect. Together, with the Government of Ontario, York University and the City of Markham, we are strengthening opportunities for students and showcasing York Region as a destination of choice for higher learning.” − Wayne Emmerson, Chairman and CEO, The Regional Municipality of York

“The York University Markham Centre Campus will be York Region’s first public university and complements Markham's highly skilled, highly educated and diverse workforce. It will provide students with the necessary education, skills and training they need for the jobs of the future, and will provide them with workplace-based learning opportunities while they study in collaboration with local information and communication technology (ICT) companies. This will strengthen our position as a hub for innovation, while driving the prosperity of the Province, York Region and the City of Markham.” – Frank Scarpitti, Mayor, City of Markham 

Download an artist’s rendering of the new Markham campus here.

Video of the Markham Centre Campus project can be viewed here.

Photos of the groundbreaking available following the event on request.

York University champions new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-disciplinary programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 25 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 300,000 alumni. York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media Contact:
Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 455 4710, wallsj@yorku.ca