The YWCA Elm Centre is one of the largest social housing projects to be developed in downtown Toronto in the last 10 years. The Centre combines new administrative offices for YWCA Toronto – housed in a heritage structure built as a “House of Industry” in 1848 – with two new residential communities comprising 300 new affordable rental housing units.
This two-building complex is home to the residential, administrative and community service facilities for YWCA Toronto. The Jean Tweed Centre, which works with women facing substance abuse, and Wigwamen Inc., an aboriginal housing development organization, are partners in the project. The complex is organized around an internal courtyard and provides offices, meeting and multi-purpose rooms, and community services for the three organizations, as well as Wigwamen’s Economic Development Centre, and a YWCA-run restaurant and retail store. A playground for the children of all residents is also nestled within the courtyard. The residential floors of the complex contain 300 residential units for YWCA Toronto and Wigwamen tenants.
The project has incorporated a number of Green Building strategies and systems, as found and referenced in the CAGBC’s LEED Rating System. In particular, energy-efficiency and reduced life-cycle costs were targeted. The building design includes an improved thermal building envelope, central ventilation energy recovery, radiant heating and cooling, and a ground source heat pump system. YWCA Elm Centre is designed to LEED Silver criteria.