Ursula Franklin Academy (UFA)

Toronto, Ontario

The Ursula Franklin Academy opened in September 1995. UFA provides leadership in the creative use of information and communications technology to enhance learning and build a community. In 1999, Industry Canada, on the advice of the Canadian Association of School Administrators, designated UFA as one of 24 pioneer members of Canada's Network of Innovative Schools (NIS).

SDG assisted the students and teachers in creating a four-season landscape design that will service the UFA community, the Bloor West Village community as well as local flora and fauna. Together the team solicited input from all parts of the community; students, teachers, the administration, parents, neighbours and Creative Corners, the on-site nursery. The students conducted surveys, held meetings, created wish lists and asked everyone to let their imaginations run “wild”, literally.

The entire project will be hand built, using up-cycled, salvaged, and sustainable products. The schoolyard master plan included an outdoor classroom, a ‘wander and wonder’ garden, spiral pathways, tree plantings, bike racks, ecological gardens, herb gardens, and a ‘Peace’ garden for quiet reflection and passive relaxation.

In January 2015, UFA in association with Ryerson University was awarded Design Challenge Champions by Come Alive Outside. The school will receive funding from the organization to implement their schoolyard design. Once completed, the Canadian Wildlife Federation has agreed to certify the space as ‘Wildlife Friendly’.