Century-old school reopens as a new hub for artists – Queen Street West, Toronto

06 Mar Century-old school reopens as a new hub for artists – Queen Street West, Toronto

For a few years now I have been watching renovations take place on an old Edwardian-era school at 180 Shaw St. Just recently, I saw that it had finally re-opened its door as Artscape Youngplace thanks to a $17 million facelift.

The building will serve as a community hub and a new home for artists, galleries, cultural institutions and a children’s centre.

Artscape has had the talent of bringing together local activists, the arts community, developers and the city to transform spaces. Artscape Youngeplace was named in recognition of its lead gift from the Michael Young Family Foundation.

Luckily, Artscape has tried to retain some of the original charm of the building. The former classrooms have been converted into sun-filled studios and rehearsal spaces with 10 foot windows. Some rooms have even managed to maintain their original chalkboards.

After being shutdown in 2000 by the Toronto District School Board the 75,000 square foot century old building sat vacant for close to a decade. As the school did not meet the requirements of Bill 160 to have a certain number of students per square foot, the building was declared inefficient (40 per cent of the building was common space.)

After buying the building in 2010, Artscape began development. The heritage-listed school needed a complete overhaul of electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems. As well as wheelchair accessibility upgrades and a new roof.

Youngplace pays a tribute to a former time before the Queen West condo market boomed and working artists occupied studios in the West end.

The building offers suites for sale ranging from 400 – 2,000 sq/ft as well as long term and short term rentals. They even have “Flex Studios”, a pay-as-you-go program that lets artists rent by the hour.

For more information head to: http://artscapeyoungplace.ca/