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New schools open in CityPlace hoping to relieve congestion in dense Toronto community

Click to play video 'Two new schools open their doors to hundreds of kids in a downtown Toronto neighbourhood' Two new schools open their doors to hundreds of kids in a downtown Toronto neighbourhood
Kids living in and around Toronto’s CityPlace neighbourhood have a couple of new schools. Their doors opened Monday morning for around a thousand elementary students. Kamil Karamali has details on the multi-use facility opening – Jan 6, 2020

Two new schools have opened their doors Monday morning in downtown Toronto’s fast-growing CityPlace neighbourhood.

The schools, Jean Lumb Public School (TDSB) and Bishop Macdonell Catholic Elementary School (TCDSB), are part of the multi-use facility located next to Canoe Landing Park.

READ MORE: CityPlace residents concerned about schools, community centre opening amid crippling congestion

Each school accommodates 550 Kindergarten to Grade 8 students who were previously commuting to surrounding schools, adding to congestion in the already dense area.

“The answer to [the congestion] is not to have no school for the kids. There [are] more families living down here and I think this is a fantastic day to not only have one but two schools open together,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory following a tour of the new building.
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“We’ll manage things like the traffic, but it’s better than having to have families go miles and miles to go away for school.”

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A library, gym and outdoor playground area will be shared between the schools. A community centre and a child care centre will open in the facility in the next couple of months.

CityPlace is roughly bounded by the CN rail corridor, Spadina Avenue, the Gardiner Expressway and Bathurst Street. It has grown from being an abandoned railway plot of land into a community boasting over 30,000 residents.

The schools were scheduled to open in September 2019 but were pushed back four months due to construction delays.

Click to play video 'Residents of CityPlace concerned about congestion in neighbourhood' Residents of CityPlace concerned about congestion in neighbourhood
Residents of CityPlace concerned about congestion in neighbourhood – Sep 3, 2019

Councillor Joe Cressy told Global News the facility opening shows it is possible for a vertical city to not only build towers but to build functioning neighbourhoods.

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“You need to build the parks, and the schools and the community centres to make neighbourhoods livable,” said Cressy. “This is part of solving congestion. The more you can get people walking to school as opposed to driving to school, that takes cars off the roads.”

READ MORE: ‘No tolerance’ road safety campaign launches as Toronto students head back to school

Shevauna Chauhan’s daughter was previously attending Jr. Kindergarten at Nelson Mandela Park Public School nearly five kilometres away from CityPlace.

“This is a walk away, so we couldn’t have asked for something better than that,” said Chauhan. “We’ve heard it’s excellent … all brand new facilities, the Kindergarten room is well equipped — it’s going to be great.”

– With files from Jessica Patton.