Dane Avenue Child Care

Inspiring children with natural materials and naturalized play

The Dane Avenue Child Care accommodates 62 infants, toddlers and preschoolers in an inspiring and healthy environment that promotes early childhood growth and exploration. The building is organized by a day-lit circulation spine that brings natural light into both of its main wings: administrative and storage areas, which occupy the northern and eastern frontages, and the children’s playrooms, which face south and west, opening onto a custom-designed naturalized playground encircling a preserved signature maple.

The playrooms are distinguished by the building’s exposed heavy-timber structure, washed with natural light and meaningfully connecting to the naturalized playscapes beyond. Corridors are generously sized to encourage gross motor play, and the kitchen design includes a children’s learning counter to promote an understanding and curiosity around food and nutrition.

The Dane Avenue Child Care--made possible through the partnership of the City of Toronto with Duflaw Realty Ltd. and a Section 37 Agreement--is situated on lands adjacent to the multi-phase Treviso development, the new home for hundreds of residents. Intended to serve its immediate (and rapidly expanding) community, the centre provides an important civic service that was identified as lacking in the neighbourhood. By providing child care within walking distance of high-density residential development and good transit access, the project contributes to the health and long-term viability of the intensification of the Dufferin corridor.


Toronto, Ontario


Duflaw Realty Ltd. and City of Toronto

Renewable, inexpensive, and beautiful when expressed structurally, the choice of wood for the primary structure of the building sets it apart from other purpose-built institutional projects and ties the building more meaningfully to its surrounding landscape.

For a small-scale institutional project with a very tight budget, the Dane Avenue Child Care demonstrates the potential for natural materials and the integration of architecture and landscape to create a children's environment that is enriching, animated and joyful. The configuration of the building makes the most of a tight site, relying upon the surrounding transit and parking resources to enable an important community service to be developed at the heart of a changing community.

DTAH has worked on numerous educational facilities and learning environments, such as Regent Park Children and Youth Hub, City Kids Child Care Centre, St. Andrew Child Care Centre, and the St. Paschal and St. Margaret Catholic Schools.

Connecting Children With Nature

The naturalized courtyard playscape includes integrated tree and shrub plantings, ground coverings, wood, sand and stone elements surrounding a mature maple that provides important shade to the landscape. A green roof on the lower portion of the building supports effective stormwater management.