York U celebrates Markham Campus milestone, major gift

On Feb. 1, York University president Rhonda Lenton, together with dignitaries, university leadership, local community members and philanthropists, marked an important phase in the building of its new Markham Campus with a ‘topping-off ceremony’ and the announcement of a large donation toward capital construction costs from Metropia, presented by CEO Howard Sokolowski.

The milestone was recognized with a ceremonial signing of the final beam attended by university leaders and local dignitaries. The final structural I-beam was then lifted and placed by a crane – completing the building’s frame.

Coupled with curtainwall installation up to the fifth level and the completion of the concrete structure, this final beam placement means that interior work to support the campus’s academic programs and research grounded in core themes of technology and entrepreneurship can progress.

The $5-million donation from Metropia and Sokolowski, a York alumnus, will go toward the capital construction costs of the campus. In honour of this generous gift, the student success centre on the first and second floors of the new building will be named the Metropia Student Success Centre.

“I was a student at York University 50 years ago, when it was an emerging institution in North York,” Sokolowksi said. “Since then, York has grown into an internationally recognized university, and I am so proud to be a part of York’s further expansion with a campus in the heart of Markham. Markham’s city centre is a thriving, rapidly growing neighbourhood that is a perfect match for York’s entrepreneurial spirit and curriculum. I care deeply about this community and institution and am so excited to see this project progressing towards opening day.”

The Metropia Student Success Centre will be a dynamic and central hub for all student supports and services at Markham Campus. The suite will include the student success and academic advising office, an interfaith centre, a multipurpose wellness studio and spaces for academic success, mentoring, counselling and student life. It will also feature areas for student organizations, including student government and clubs, to collaborate and plan events on campus and within the community.

The high-tech, research-intensive campus will embed York in the heart of one of the most diverse and dynamic urban communities in the province and country while supporting research and academic programs that reflect the local economy – offering opportunities for students, faculty and staff to collaborate directly with employers, startups and community partners with a shared commitment to right the future.

Together with YSpace, the Markham Small Business Centre, the City’s Economic Development initiatives, and technology companies already based in Markham, this new campus will help foster innovation and entrepreneurship in Markham and York Region. It will also attract more skilled, diverse talent to study, work and settle in Markham, further growing the city as a forward-thinking community and a leading technology and innovation hub.

“Attracting high-quality post-secondary opportunities has been a long-standing priority for York Regional council and is a key goal in our Economic Development Action Plan,” York Region CEO Wayne Emmerson said. “As we celebrate the completion of the York University Markham Campus structure and regional council’s $25-million capital investment in this project, we look forward to welcoming students to the City of Markham and creating new opportunities for research, innovation and business growth.”

Markham Campus is set to open in Spring 2024. To learn more, visit


Photo: York University president Rhonda Lenton (centre) with Thornhill MPP Laura Smith, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop, Metropia CEO Howard Sokolowski, Markham-Unionville MPP Billy Pang and Markham-Thornhill MPP Logan Kanapathi at the university’s latest milestone and significant gift announcement.

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