The second phase of construction on Vaughan’s Joseph & Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus is well underway, further transforming what was barren farm land just a decade ago into an unprecedented model of Jewish life in North America.
After a period of relative quiet, the cranes and excavators returned to the 50-acre site just north of Bathurst Street and Rutherford Road in December to resume their duties.
“We have reached a very important milestone in the development of both the Lebovic Jewish Community Campus and the Jewish community-at-large,” said Lou Greenbaum, past chair of the Lebovic Campus Development & Building Committee. “It’s a marvelous feat and it says volumes about the success and the vibrancy of the Jewish community in Greater Toronto.”
“When we found this land in 1999, there were no roads, no sewers, no water,” said Leo Goldhar, the former co-chair of the Land Acquisition Committee and the former chair of the Lebovic Steering Committee, and the recently named chair of the UJA Joint Campus Committee. “When I hired the architect, Guela Solow-Ruda, she prepared a master plan showing the schools, community centre, affordable housing, seniors’ housing. Seeing it on paper is one thing, but seeing it come to life is quite another. We already have built a phenomenal high school with TanenbaumCHAT at the Kimel Family Education Centre, and the Schwartz/Reisman Centre (SRC) is now under construction. Our community has risen to the occasion and we have set a new standard in Jewish communities.”
The state-of-the-art SRC – a hub of health and wellness, arts and culture, education and, of course, recreation – will encompass approximately 100,000 sq. ft. in two of the campus’ busiest buildings. It will include the Phil Granovsky Sports & Recreation Pavilion, a cutting-edge Fitness and Conditioning Centre, the Gorman Shore Goodman Childhood Education Centre and a Community Arts Centre.
“Laying the foundation for this growing, thriving Jewish community is a source of great pride for us and our family,” said Gerry Schwartz, co-chair of the Tomorrow Campaign, who along with his wife, Heather Reisman, provided the lead gift for the SRC. “The Schwartz/Reisman Centre, at the heart of this amazing campus, will be a resource – a beacon – for community members of all ages and interests.”
The existing Sydney & Florence Cooper & Family Sports Hall, a vast gymnasium complex already in use at TanenbaumCHAT at the Kimel Family Education Centre, will ultimately connect to the SRC, creating just one of many practical shared spaces on campus. The shells (or superstructures) of the Community Services Pavilion and the Conference & Celebration Pavilion will also be built during this phase, along with a significant portion of the Sharp Family Atrium.
“To see this project, this incredible campus moving forward means so much to my brother Wolf and I,” said Joseph Lebovic.
Completion of the Schwartz/Reisman Centre is slated for the spring/summer of 2012, with a grand opening slated for the fall. The Mount Sinai Family Health and Wellness Centre, on the third floor of the Community Services Pavilion, is scheduled to open at the same time.