Toronto Zoo to get new Community Conservation Centre

Toronto Zoo to get new Community Conservation Centre

The Toronto Zoo is set to become home to a state-of-the-art Conservation Centre, marking a significant milestone in the Zoo's efforts to enhance wildlife conservation and education. Spearheaded by PCL Construction and designed by Zeidler Architecture, this project aims to create a modern facility that supports conservation research and community engagement. For construction workers, this project presents a unique opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking initiative. Here’s a detailed look at the construction and design aspects of this project.


Project Overview


Key Details


  • Location: Toronto Zoo, Ontario
  • Developer: PCL Construction
  • Architect: Zeidler Architecture
  • Scope: Construction of a new Conservation Centre
  • Completion Timeline: Expected by 2025 

Project Goals

On-Site Magazine reports that the primary goal of this project is to develop a cutting-edge facility that will enhance the Zoo's capacity for conservation research, education, and community outreach. The new Conservation Centre will provide a space for scientists, educators, and the public to collaborate on conservation initiatives.


“The Toronto Zoo Community Conservation Centre is an incredible addition for our organization, building on our existing Wildlife Health Centre and reproductive science research with meaningful Canadian species conservation efforts and student/community engagement facilities. This centre also supports our commitment to “two eyed” seeing, bridging conventional conservation science efforts with traditional knowledge.”

CEO of Toronto Zoo | Dolf DeJong


Construction Phases and Key Features


Site Preparation

The construction of the Conservation Centre begins with extensive site preparation. This involves clearing the site, grading the land, and setting up utility connections. Workers will engage in activities such as:


 - Excavation: Digging and preparing the site for foundation work.

 - Utility Installation: Setting up necessary utilities like water, electricity, and sewage systems.

 - Temporary Facilities: Establishing on-site offices and storage for construction materials.


Foundation and Structural Work

Laying a solid foundation is crucial for the stability and longevity of the Conservation Centre. This phase includes:


 - Concrete Pouring: Creating a stable base for the building.

 - Steel Reinforcement: Installing steel bars and frames to reinforce the concrete foundation.

 - Waterproofing: Ensuring the foundation is protected from water damage.


Superstructure Construction

Once the foundation is set, the focus shifts to erecting the superstructure. This involves:


 - Steel Framing: Constructing the building's framework using steel beams and columns.

 - Masonry Work: Building the walls with bricks, blocks, or stones.

 - Roof Installation: Setting up the roof structure, including trusses and coverings.


Exterior and Interior Work

The next phase involves detailed exterior and interior work to complete the building. Key tasks include:


 - Cladding and Insulation: Installing exterior cladding and insulation to ensure energy efficiency.

 - Window and Door Installation: Fitting high-quality, energy-efficient windows and doors.

 - Electrical and Plumbing Systems: Setting up internal electrical wiring and plumbing networks.

 - HVAC Systems: Installing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to maintain a comfortable indoor environment.

 - Interior Finishes: Completing the interior with drywall, flooring, painting, and installing fixtures.


Landscaping and Outdoor Amenities

The project also includes significant landscaping to enhance the facility's surroundings. This involves:


 - Gardens and Green Spaces: Planting trees, shrubs, and flowers to create a welcoming environment.

 - Pathways and Walkways: Constructing pathways and walkways for easy access around the Centre.

 - Outdoor Seating Areas: Setting up benches and seating areas for visitors to relax and enjoy the outdoor spaces.


Design and Sustainability


Architectural Design

Zeidler Architecture has designed the Conservation Centre with a focus on modernity and functionality. The design incorporates:


 - Large Windows: Maximizing natural light and providing views of the surrounding zoo. 

 - Open Spaces: Creating spacious interiors that facilitate movement and interaction.  

 - Flexible Layouts: Allowing for various uses and configurations to support different conservation activities.


Sustainable Building Practices

Sustainability is a core aspect of the project. The construction will incorporate:


 - Energy-Efficient Systems: Installing solar panels, high-efficiency HVAC systems, and LED lighting to reduce energy consumption.

 - Sustainable Materials: Using recycled and locally sourced materials to minimize environmental impact.

 - Water Conservation: Implementing water-saving fixtures and systems to reduce water usage.


Technology Integration

The new facility will integrate advanced technology to enhance its functionality and operational efficiency. This includes:


 - Smart Building Systems: Automating lighting, heating, and security systems for optimal performance.

 - Research Labs: Equipping labs with the latest technology to support conservation research.

 - Educational Tools: Providing interactive displays and digital tools to engage visitors and enhance learning experiences.


Economic and Community Impact


Job Creation

The construction of the Conservation Centre is expected to create numerous jobs, benefiting the local economy. The project will employ a diverse workforce, including general laborers, skilled tradespeople, and engineers and project managers.

Long-Term Benefits

Beyond immediate job creation, the project will significantly enhance the Zoo's infrastructure. The new facility will:


 - Support Conservation Efforts: Providing a space for research and collaboration on wildlife conservation.

 - Enhance Visitor Experience: Offering educational programs and interactive exhibits to engage the public.

 - Promote Community Engagement: Hosting events and activities that foster community involvement in conservation efforts.


The construction of the Toronto Zoo Conservation Centre represents a significant step forward in wildlife conservation and education. Since it opened in 1974, close to 60 million guests have visited the Toronto Zoo, with millions more having digitally engaged with the zoo from around the world. The Toronto Zoo is open every day including December 25 and attracts approximately 1.2 million guests each year.


DataBid is currently reporting on this project - Toronto Zoo Conservation Campus Scarborough - Toronto  (0099070523)


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Posted by Judy Lamelza

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