By 2003, Don Mills Centre was a relic. It was a large indoor mall marooned amidst sprawling parking lots — a midtown Toronto monument to the excesses of 20th-century suburban planning.
Over the past 15 years, Giannone Petricone Associates, an architecture firm founded by Daniels Faculty associate professor Pina Petricone and alumnus Ralph Giannone (BArch 1987), has worked with the mall's owner, Cadillac Fairview, to redevelop Don Mills Centre into an outdoor, modern shopping destination organized around major public spaces and punctuated by residential towers, including a repurposed 1970’s office building. The former mall is now the heart of a neigbourhood. With that project finally complete, Giannone Petricone is creating new designs for other retail-focused sites across Toronto, including Cloverdale Mall in Etobicoke and the Golden Mile in Scarborough.
On January 18, students and members of the public will have a rare opportunity to find out about this type of suburban intensification directly from the source, when Giannone Petricone joins with DesignTO for an afternoon of learning about the Don Mills redevelopment.
Participants will start the afternoon at Giannone Petricone's offices in downtown Toronto. From there, they'll board a chartered bus and be driven directly to Don Mills, where they'll attend a panel discussion at the Don Mills library branch. On the panel will be Pina Petricone, Ralph Giannone, city planner Leo Desorcy, Metrolinx chief development officer Leslie Woo, and Daniels Faculty assistant professor Michael Piper as moderator. The discussion will focus on the successes of the Don Mills redevelopment, as well as its failings. Attendees can also expect to learn about the ways Metrolinx's Eglinton Crosstown light-rail line, now under construction, will change the design calculus in midtown Toronto by introducing rapid transit to formerly car-dependent precincts.
After the panel, staff from the offices of Giannone Petricone will lead guided tours of the Shops at Don Mills. Attendees will be able to gain firsthand knowledge of the area's redevelopment.
Tickets — which cover the bus ride from downtown, the panel discussion, the walking tour, and a return trip to downtown — are $30 and can be purchased on DesignTO's website. The event will take place on Saturday, January 18, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.