In 2015, Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) celebrates the 10th anniversary of its “big leap” (or grand jeté) from the cramped quarters of Maitland Street (where ballet training, academic education, and residence services jostled for space) to the award-winning, state-of the art training facility on historic Jarvis Street. NBS tripled in size through Project Grand Jeté, the $100 million capital project that combined heritage buildings and new construction on Jarvis Street (opened in 2005) and Maitland Street (opened in 2007).

Exterior view of the NBS campus.

Goldsmith Borgal and Company Architects collaborated with Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects to create one of the finest arts training facilities in the world, winning 11 architectural awards in the process. A notable achievement of this team was to create a sympathetic streetscape alternating heritage and new building on Jarvis Street. Despite the enormous volume added by the modern training facility in the centre of the block, the development at street level reads as a continuation of the existing scale. The marriage of new and old honours both.

The modern Celia Franca Centre contains 12 dance studios, the Mona Campbell Town Square with café, the library-resource centre, study areas, and casual seating.

The Margaret McCain Academic Building is an extensive renovation of the original Havergal Ladies’ College of 1898 which later became the CBC Radio building. The building had its exterior carefully restored.

Another significant heritage building is the 1856 home of Sir Oliver Mowat, the longest-serving premier of Ontario, a Father of Confederation, and Ontario’s Lieutenant-Governor when he died in 1903. This mansion was renamed Lozinski House and now houses NBS’ artistic and administrative offices.

The Jarvis campus is completed by two more heritage homes that were not part of Project Grand Jeté and were renovated at other periods. The Betty Oliphant Theatre is used as a training stage for NBS and is an important performance venue for the dance community. The Shoe Room, at 406 Jarvis Street, is NBS’ retail store and provides expert advice and high quality pointe shoes and dancewear.

On Maitland Street, the site of the old school was transformed into a large and modern residence by the addition of a new building behind a row of Victorian row houses and the 1911 Quaker Meeting House. The former Quaker Meeting House, which served as a ballet studio since the School’s founding in 1959, is now the residence dining hall and is now known as Currie Hall.  

Project Grand Jeté Visionary Donors

NBS is grateful to the circle of donors who understood the value of a state-of-the art ballet training facility.

PGJ Donors - $250,000 and above

  • Mrs. Margaret N. McCain CC &
  • Mr. G. Wallace F. McCain CC
  • Richard & Elizabeth Currie
  • Mona Campbell OC
  • John Bragg
  • CHC Helicopter Corporation
  • Master Packaging Inc.
  • The McCain Foundation
  • The Sobey Foundation
  • The Delaney Family Foundation
  • Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan
  • TD Bank Financial Group
  • The George & Helen Gardiner Foundation
  • The Lawrence & Judith Tanenbaum Family Charitable Foundation
  • Judith R. Wilder
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
  • RBC Foundation
  • Scotiabank Group
  • The J. W. McConnell Family Foundation
  • BMO Financial Group
  • Patti & John Cleghorn
  • Richard M. Ivey and Beryl Ivey
  • Jerry and Joan Lozinski
  • Bernard & Sylvia Ostry
  • Allan Slaight & Emanuelle Gattusso-Slaight
  • Nancy & David Young
  • Power Corporation of Canada
  • TSX Group
  • General Motors of Canada Limited

Project Grand Jeté Design and Construction Credits

NBS is grateful to the many companies and individuals who worked on this magnificent facility for designing and building a home for Canada’s National Ballet School that honours tradition while looking forward. Their work expresses the philosophy of the school in built form.

Special thanks for their leadership:

  • Robert Sirman, Phil Goldsmith, Robert Brough, Paul Gagné, Bruce Kuwabara, Shirley Blumberg, Paul Sims, and Natalie Stasko.
  • Goldsmith Borgal & Company, architects
  • Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg, architects
  • A.W. Hooker & Associates Ltd., quantity surveyor
  • A.W. Hooker & Associates, audio visual consultant
  • Aercoustics Engineering Ltd., acoustic engineers
  • Bhandari & Plater Inc., signage consultants
  • Brook, Van Dalen & Associates Ltd., building envelope inspection
  • Butler Inspection Group, Structural Steel, fireproofing & firestopping inspection
  • Catherine Williams Fine Art Consultants Inc.
  • Clare Randall-Smith & Associates Ltd., quantity surveyor (mechanical and electrical)
  • Corporate Safety and Security Devices, security consultant
  • Crossey Engineering Ltd., mechanical and electrical engineers
  • Graycom Analysis, information technologies consultant
  • iTrans Consulting Inc., traffic consultant
  • Larden Muniak Consulting Inc., building code consultant
  • MBTW Group, landscape architect
  • MCD Design Group Ltd., furniture consultant
  • Marrack + Associates, food services consultant
  • Marsh Canada Ltd., insurance
  • McCarthy Tetrault, legal
  • Rabideau & Czerwinski, land surveyor
  • Read Jones Christoffersen, structural engineers
  • Scott Thornley + Company Inc., branding consultant
  • Shady Land Expert Tree Care, arborist
  • Shaheen & Peaker Ltd., geotechnical engineer
  • Soberman Engineering Ltd., elevator consultant
  • Urban Strategies Inc., urban planning consultant

Project Grand Jeté Architectural Awards

  • International Architectural Award from the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Arch. & Des. and European Centre for Architecture Art, Design and Urban Studies. (Helsinki 2009)
  • Governor General's Medal (2008)
  • Royal Architectural Institute of Canada National Urban Design Award (2008)
  • Urban Land Institute Award of Excellence (2008)
  • Royal Architectural Institute of Canada National Urban Design Award (2008)
  • Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence (2007)
  • American Institute of Architects Honor Award for Architecture (2007)
  • Canadian Interiors Best of Canada, Project Winner (2006)
  • Ontario Association of Architects Award of Excellence (2006)
  • Pugly Awards, Best in Show (2006)
  • Heritage Toronto Award (2006)