Centennial College campus opening brings Downsview Park into the light

Provided by Centennial College/CNW

TORONTO, April 25, 2019 /CNW/ – Viewed from space, it’s a dark field in the middle of a brilliant city. For decades Torontonians skirted around the periphery of Downsview Park with little awareness of what the land encompasses.

Today Centennial College is formally opening its Downsview Campus Centre for Aerospace and Aviation, an education and training facility that represents the first stage in an ambitious plan to recast the former military airbase as Ontario’saerospace hub to help propel Canada’s aviation industry and bolster its leadership position in a competitive global sector.

The four-acre campus is the new home of Centennial’s aerospace technology programs located on the historic site of de Havilland of Canada, an indelible part of Canada’s aviation heritage. The $72-million project repurposes the de Havilland building with selective demolition and new construction to create 12,700 square metres of instruction space, including classrooms, labs and workshops, two aircraft hangars, offices, a library and food service under one roof.

The Ontario government contributed $25.8 million towards the project, while Ottawa granted $18.4 million in Strategic Investment Funds; the college and its partners and donors funded the remainder. Centennial moved its aircraft and avionics technicians from its Ashtonbee Campus in Scarborough in early January. The much larger teaching space will allow enrolment to grow from 300 to more than 900 students, as aerospace graduates are in high demand across Canada and around the world.

Centennial counts Bombardier Aerospace as a key partner by helping to prepare its workforce with new skills required in the assembly and maintenance of the next generation of aircraft. With Bombardier’s generous donation of a Canadian-made CRJ200, the world’s best-selling regional jet, students have the opportunity to work on current technology and gain the key skills to transition into the workforce. The campus is set to anchor an aerospace hub that will incubate innovation and attract new investments. Ontario’s hub will enhance Canada’s ranking as an aerospace technology provider in a growing global industry worth $838 billion annually.  

The Downsview Aerospace Innovation and Research (DAIR) consortium and its partners are motivated to develop new technologies through collaborative research and innovation, aid in workforce training and skills development, and participate in supply-chain development. DAIR partners include Centennial College, the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, Ryerson University, York University, Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Honeywell, Collins Aerospace, Safran Landing Systems, MDA Corp., Siemens, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Canada Aerospace, Canadensys Aerospace and FlightSafety International.