Completed in 1984, the Central Y is the flagship of the YMCA in Toronto. The 14,400-square-metre (155,000sf) facility allowed the organization to continue its tradition of leadership and service to inner-city residents while responding to the lifestyle and cultural needs of a growing downtown population. The Central Y is considered one of the most successful in the world, with the highest membership utilization, according to metrics of YMCA International.
The distinct program, articulated in five building types – each with its own functional and architectural form – is unified by spacious, logical and exciting circulation routes that reveal all major program areas and encourage public passage through the building.
The facility includes a full recreational complex with two swimming pools, double gymnasium, racquet courts, a dance studio, indoor and rooftop running tracks, a 300-seat multi-use auditorium and day care centre. A defining feature is the Athletes’ Stair, which connects all levels under a linear skylight.
In 2011-12, renovations by Diamond Schmitt Architects added a glass box addition on the south exterior, adding a community meeting room on the second floor and Community Newcomer Information Centre on the third floor. The original design intent of the facility remains the same.