u of t sidney smith

Iconic set of steps at the University of Toronto to be demolished in redevelopment

It's a popular spot for students to congregate after visiting one of the University of Toronto's delightfully greasy french fry trucks, but a set of stairs along St. George Street could soon disappear forever.

Last year, the university's Faculty of Arts & Science announced plans to redevelop Sidney Smith Hall, a low-rise educational building at the northwest corner of St. George and Willcocks streets, known campus-wide as a meeting place for students.

In a November statement, Melanie Woodin, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, said that the institution's goal "is to create a contemporary, accessible and state-of-the-art space for our students, staff and faculty, and the wider community," but this would come with major changes to the existing complex.

Described as "a transformative space for innovative learning, teaching and research," the redevelopment of Sidney Smith Hall would replace the current 1960-built facility's south wing while renovating the north wing.

U of T is set to gain new academic, administrative, student and ancillary space, including a lounge; study and collaboration spaces; a community food marketplace; event and meeting space; and modern classrooms.

"As the University of Toronto heads into its third century, we envision this new footprint will be a magnet for local and international engagement, and a hub to inspire thought-provoking events and respectful, authentic dialogue on the critical issues facing our society," said Woodin.

The renewal project has the intention "to create a more recognizable identity for the Faculty of Arts & Science," and while the stairs that surround the current facility aren't exactly the most prominent architectural landmark at U of T, they are still a well-known meeting and reference point for students.

When the project was announced late last year, it was revealed that the design team selection would take several months beginning in spring 2022, so it shouldn't be too much longer until U of T offers up a first glimpse of the proposed new complex.

Lead photo by

University of Toronto


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