New developments underway for York’s Markham Centre Campus

An artistic rendering of the future campus. (Courtesy of York University)

Several new developments have been announced for York’s Markham Centre Campus (MCC), which is slated to open in fall 2023. The campus will be home to Canada’s first United Nations (UN) leadership training centre, in partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Additionally, the university is in the early stages of planning a private-sector partnership to build an external student residence.

The new centre will be called Centre International de Formation des Acteurs Locaux (CIFAL), and will be dedicated to helping meet UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

“The creation of this CIFAL Centre, in partnership with UNITAR, will enable us to bring leaders from governments, not-for-profits, and industries together with researchers and educators to share experiences and expertise, and to train new generations of global leaders,” said York President Rhonda Lenton in an official statement. “We are proud to host CIFAL York as part of our commitment to building a healthier and more just, sustainable, and prosperous world.”

Lenton cited “complex global problems,” including inequality, the climate crisis, and the pandemic, as examples of issues that call for joint collaboration.

The UN SDGs are a set of 17 goals included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an agreement signed by UN member states in 2015. Of these goals, CIFAL York aims to focus on emergency and disaster management, diversity and inclusion, economic development, health, and entrepreneurship. 

“York’s outsized reputation made it an obvious choice when the UN, through UNITAR, started thinking of partnering with an academic institution in Canada to share knowledge and best practices,” stated Nikhil Seth, UN Assistant Secretary General and Executive Director of UNITAR, in a media release. 

The new campus aims to accommodate over 4,000 students in its first stages.

York Deputy Spokesperson Yanni Dagonas tells Excalibur that the $275.5-million project does not include a residence within the main building.

“With regard to residences at the Markham Campus, I can confirm that a student residence is not part of the MCC building currently under construction,” he says. However, Dagonas elaborates that plans are in the works for an external facility.

Markham Economist & Sun reported on a proposal from one company, which was tabled at a council committee in early spring. The proposal, from construction company Rockport Unionville Co., reportedly consists of a 32-storey student residence that would house 264 student units. It is also said to include programming space for potential businesses or restaurants. 

However, whether or not York decides to partner with this particular company for their upcoming residence project, remains to be seen. 

Dagonas mentions that planning for a potential construction partnership is just the beginning. “The university is in the early stages of a process to work with the private sector in pursuit of developing a purpose-built student residence in close proximity to the campus,” he says.

About the Author

By Sakeina Syed

Former Editor

Sakeina Syed is a former Excalibur news editor, and remains a dedicated Excalibur reader.


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