Ontario Construction News staff writer
A new courthouse opened recently in Toronto, a fully accessible building with six Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ) criminal courts under one roof including specialty courts such as those for drug treatment, youth and mental health.
The site is now the most accessible courthouse in Ontario with design elements that include barrier-free prisoner boxes and witness boxes and signage that is tactile and in Braille.
“By integrating most Ontario Court of Justice criminal proceedings into one courthouse, we’re supporting equal access to court services that are currently dispersed across multiple court locations,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “The consolidation of resources will permit centralized criminal case management, a greater concentration of expertise, and the effective and efficient scheduling of judges, justices of the peace, Crown attorneys, court staff, duty counsel, and interpreters to support the timely processing of criminal matters.”
The new courthouse at 10 Armoury Street has 73 judicial hearing rooms equipped with modern technology, including video capabilities. Upgraded security features, including a single point of entry with electronic screening and lockdown capability, video surveillance and monitoring.
“The new Toronto courthouse will help improve access to court services for visitors and occupants, while helping to ensure the safety of our communities,” said Kinga Surma, minister of infrastructure.
Renzo Piano Building Workshop designed the building in partnership with Canadian-based NORR Architects, meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard.