New 41 Division will be the Service’s first Zero Carbon Building
The Toronto Police Service (TPS) 41 Division will be expanded to a state-of-the-art facility that will become the Service’s first ‘Net Zero Carbon’ building.
Located at 2222 Eglinton Ave. E. at Birchmount Rd., it is scheduled to open to the public by the end of 2025.
At the groundbreaking ceremony on July 28, Chief James Ramer said the East Scarborough facility will include natural light use, robust sustainable materials, a green roof and provision for solar panels.
There will also be extensive landscaping that will include sacred and culturally significant Indigenous paintings.
Ramer said the unique building will be a welcome addition to the surrounding neighbourhoods and the organization.
“The Division will be an innovative and accessible facility that honours the landscape of the area, demonstrates a commitment to the community and pays respect to the environment while responding to the practical and operational needs of the Service,” he pointed out.
Ramer said a comprehensive and wide-ranging engagement process involving the Service, public citizens, community members, Indigenous representatives, local community groups and city departments led to the design.
“41 Division is located among many well-established neighbourhoods in this area,” he noted. “It will also serve the many new neighbourhoods created in the coming years as the area experiences significant population growth. Acting as the bridge between these communities, the new Division will be reflective of the area’s incredible diversity and rich culture.
“The Division will provide a modern and efficient workspace for our Service members and a welcoming public space to foster community connections while operating in an efficient and environmentally conscious way.”
Community engagement, added the Chief, will continue throughout the construction process and project updates will be posted on the 41 Division web page.
“We value the input we receive from community members in the neighbourhoods surrounding the Division and we encourage you to reach out with any questions or concerns,” said Ramer. “Construction here on the site of the existing 41 Division will continue in phases over the next few years to ensure the Service can provide uninterrupted services to the community. To everyone who has been involved in this project, I offer my congratulations on a job very well done and look forward to seeing this vision become a reality.”
Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) Chair Jim Hart said the innovative building project represents a powerful and inspiring collaboration between the police and the community.
“It demonstrates as well our commitment to honouring the diversity of this community, working in harmony with nature, and respecting the environment,” he said. “Using an innovative design approach inspired by the existing sloping grade of the site, the new facility, built on the existing 41 Division site, will follow the natural slope with the building appearing to ‘rise’ and ‘lift’ from the surrounding landscape, integrated and being part of the surrounding site.”
Hart said the Board is proud to be supporting the robust and sustained link to the public.
“We believe that policing should and must always be done in consultation with the neighbourhoods of our police service,” he noted. “It will serve as a physical demonstration of the Service’s commitment to truly and meaningfully connect with the communities it services, incorporating its views, expectation and ideas into how our neighbourhoods are policed.”
Mayor John Tory, who has been a TPSB member for the last eight years, welcomed the expansion.
“This was a place that was recognized as been at the heart of the community and this is going to make it more of a heart,” he said. “There have been renovations carried out and there have been changes made, but now we are going to change it like never before and make sure that this becomes a place where people in the community feel entirely comfortable being here. It is going to fully integrate not just this building into the community, but also with respect to some of our objectives with things like climate change.”
Staffed by over 200 members, 41 Division is one of the Service’s oldest buildings.
Originally built in 1961, Scarborough Police headquarters shared the 3.5 acres space with the Magistrates Court for 18 years before obtaining exclusive use. The building has undergone several renovations over the years.
Staff Superintendent Mark Barkley, who lived next door to the Division for 12 years until 1985, has fond memories of growing up next to a city police station.
“On the north side of the building, there was a functioning range with a large bullpen and the interview line-up room with two-way glass,” the West Command officer recalled. “During Police Week celebrations, we were allowed to pick up the brass casings from the discharged bullets. I loved the line-up room and my friends and I took turns to see if we could see through the two-way glass.
“There were not a lot of community programs back then. The philosophy of community policing was in its early stages. But when I stood at the fence line separating my building from the north side of 41 Division, officers always came to the fence to speak with me. Their message was always, ‘Be a good boy and work hard in school’. I always said I would be a police officer one day.”
Barkley joined the Service in 1985 and was the 41 Division Unit Commander in 2017-18.
Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson also resided in the building behind the police station at 1021 Birchmount Rd. after migrating from Jamaica in 1972.
“This police station has been a neighbour in my growth,” the former TPSB Board member said. “This facility has been a landmark feature in this community as not simply a building and police division, but a building and representatives and people who work here as part of this great community. When I was on the Board, there was some talk about moving this building to some place else. It made no sense to me at the time because, quite frankly, if you move this building, I think a good part of the community’s heart would have been lost.”