Elevator Modernization Update

Updates are posted here with the most recent information at the top and earlier posts following.


Check back here regularly for the latest news on our exciting elevator modernization.



Twelfth Update – 21 June 2018

On the longest day of the year, the elevator underwent its inspection… and it passed, marking the end of the long elevator upgrade project.

We would like to thank individuals and groups from the community for their patience and support during this upgrade.

Please come by the Centre to witness this new operational elevator, now open for public use!

Eleventh Update – 3 May 2018

Due to complications in x-raying two sites, the overnight drilling has been rescheduled to Monday 7 May, with the electrical work (starting with installing conduits) moved to begin on Tuesday 12 May.

Tenth Update – 2 May 2018

With the additions to the fire detection system receiving all approvals, this week the placement was finalized for all of the conduits that will service the new detectors.  To be compliant with the code, a fire detector is required outside each elevator door.  The fire panel will be tied into the elevator controls and will prevent the elevator from stopping or the doors opening on  a floor where a fire has been detected.

Overnight work will take place after 9 pm on Wednesday 2 May to x-ray the locations for the conduits, to ensure that drilling does not compromise the structure of the building or damage building systems (like electrical or water lines).  Once the x-raying pinpoints the exact location, drilling at those locations will take place.  This core drilling is scheduled to take place overnight on Thursday 3 May to drill all of the holes required for the conduits.

Electricians are scheduled to start their work starting Monday 7 May.  This work will include installing conduits, fishing cables through the conduits, and installing the detectors.  This work will take place during regular operating hours, but every effort will be made to minimize the disruption to the Centre’s visitors and space users.  This electrical work may take up to 2 weeks.

Once the fire detection system work is completed and inspected, elevator technicians will complete their work, which should not take more than a few days, after which public use of the elevator will be dependant on how soon it can be inspected.  This inspection can take up to 2 weeks to schedule and will take an entire day to complete.

With this work, we are hopeful that the elevator will be open to the public by the beginning of June.

Again, we are grateful for the patience and understanding of visitors to the Centre during this extended period of the elevator being out of order.

Ninth Update – 23 April 2018

Like many renovation projects, the Elevator Replacement at RTCC has experienced a substantial delay from our mid-March anticipated recommissioning.  Related to the requirement that the fire detection system be expanded, consultants are putting together drawings that site both the location of the fire detectors as well as the conduits where the lines will run.

Once the drawings are complete, they must be approved and sent on for a quote, that must also be approved.

This work is further complicated by the need to schedule and bring back the team that did our fire detection upgrades at the end of 2017, to ensure that the entire system remains under warranty and that the work is consistent.  There is currently no confirmed date when this work will be completed or when the elevator will resume service; however, we do not anticipate the elevator being functional before late May.

We do want to thank everyone for their patience through this extended process.

Eighth Update – 22 March 2018

Work continues on the Centre’s new elevator.

While the majority of the new electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems are complete, an unanticipated requirement has caused a significant delay in the project’s completion.

Currently, the Centre is waiting for work to be undertaken in installing additional fire detection systems outside each elevator door, to be compliant with new standards.  These detectors will be tied into both the building’s fire panel and the elevator systems, ensuring that the elevator will not stop on a floor where a fire has been detected.

While it is hoped that this work will be completed shortly, a schedule has yet to be confirmed.  Only once this work is complete can the elevator be inspected for its operating licence.

At this time, it is not anticipated that the elevator will be open to the public until mid-April.

Also part of the project, the historic wood doors for the library’s front entrance are currently off site to be restored and refinished, returning them to their original splendor.

The new fence for the temporary garbage pen, later to become stroller parking, is expected to be delivered and installed the week of 26 March.

The Saulter Street door, at the south end of the building, which was deteriorating from age, has now been replaced with a new metal door.  This door will be painted once the weather warms.

The delays in the completion of the project are unexpected and unfortunate.  The Ralph Thornton Community Centre appreciates everyone’s patience as we work to have the new elevator operational as soon as possible.

Seventh Update – 22 February 2018

Work on the Centre’s elevator is nearing completion.

The installation of the duct work and piping for the new cooling system in the elevator mechanical room is expected to be finished by the end of the week of 26 February.  Around the same time, the replacement and modernization of the elevator car, electrical system, fire detection system, and elevator mechanicals will be completed.

Following the completion of this work and initial testing and inspection of the elevator, final inspection and approval will need to be completed by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), which issues the elevator operation licence.  Public access to the elevator is entirely dependant on this inspection, and the timing of the inspection is impossible to predict.  The engineering firm overseeing the project will be attempted to have the inspection take place as soon as possible.

The other work associated with this project is progressing.  The new doors for the Saulter Street exit (southeast face of the building) will be delivered on Friday 23 February and will be installed around Tuesday 27 February.  The historic doors for the library entrance are expected to be refinished next week, as well.  These doors will be reinstalled once the elevator is operational for public use and the temporary ramp and vestibule are removed.

The fencing for the enclosure in the parking lot will not likely be ready until around the week of 12 March, due to manufacturing delays.  The initial intent of this fencing was to serve as an enclosure for garbage and recycling bins.  A temporary construction fencing is currently serving as an enclosure.  Once the elevator is operational, the bins will be relocated back into the basement garbage room and the enclosure will serve as stroller parking.

Sixth Update – 24 January 2018

The Ralph Thornton Community Centre’s elevator was put out of service on Monday 22 January. 

The Centre’s elevator will remain out of service until the new elevator has been certified and running.  The programming spaces in the Centre can now only be accessed by using the stairs.  Public washrooms in the basement may be inaccessible at times, but washrooms are still available on the second and third floors.

The shut down of the elevator coincided with the completion of the accessible ramp and new, temporary entrance for the library.  The library can be entered using the ramp along side the east side of the Centre or from the temporary stairs on Queen Street (as well as through the front lobby, except on days when the elevator work results in the temporary closure of the lobby).  A book drop slot has been installed with the temporary entrance, for returning books when the library is closed.

Technicians are currently in the process of dismantling and removing the old mechanical and hydraulic units from the building.  This demolition is expected to be completed around the end of January.

The new mechanical systems were delivered during the first week of January and are currently being stored in the Foundation Room in the basement.  The new condenser unit, to provide cooling for the elevator mechanical room, has been installed in the light well off the second floor, and technicians are stringing the plumbing and electrical lines.

On 12 January, the concrete was poured for the garbage enclosure in the parking lot (which will become stroller parking once the elevator work is complete).  Workers are awaiting the fencing for the enclosure, as well as for the new doors for the Saulter Street exit (which will act as the only entrance for the building when the Queen Street lobby needs to be closed for elevator work).

Despite the delays, completion of the elevator is expected around 12 March.

Fifth Update – 3 January 2018

Work has begun on the temporary entry to the library.  Being built along the Saulter Street side of the building, the structure will consist of a ramp, to provide an accessible option for those with mobility challenges, along with a temporary vestibule at the entrance.  The vestibule is necessary due to the heritage nature of the building and the prohibition of securing automated doors to the existing wood frame.  The ramp should be completed by the end of this week or the beginning of the week of 8 January.  Once the accessible entrance is complete, the elevator can be decommissioned.

Pouring the concrete for the pad in the parking lot is anticipated to take place shortly, although the cold weather may cause some delays. This fenced area will house the garbage bins during construction and will be stroller parking once the elevator is operational.

Meanwhile, drilling the holes for the conduits to accommodate the cooling system for the elevator mechanical room were completed before the holidays.  These holes create a path from the basement, through one of the offices in the library, and on to the mezzanine.  This will link the mechanical room (near the elevator door in the basement) to a cooling unit that will be placed in the light well on the west side of the building.  Technicians are expected in the building on Thursday to begin installation of the lines.

When the technicians are working, the entire basement will be closed to the public.  This includes the public washrooms in the basement.  Those wishing to use our washrooms will find facilities available on the second and third floors.

Delivery of various elevator parts is expected this week.  If possible, delivery will take place down the south stairs, to minimize disruption to the public.

Fourth Update – 14 December 2018

Work is underway on the pad in the parking lot, which will be the site of the enclosure for the garbage and recycling bins while the elevator is out of commission.

The space has been excavated and the ground compacted.  While excavating the site, the remnants of an old window well were discovered.  The window still exists in the washroom in the south end of the building – primarily used by the Child-Parent Centre and our After School Program.  The window well extends under the stairs to the Saulter Street exit.  A slab of concrete will be created to recap the window well, to prevent water and debris from collecting in the window well, but to also allow for removal, if necessary.

Concrete for the pad in the parking lot should be poured around 19 December, when the temperature is expected to be above freezing.  A heating blanket is covering the space to keep the ground from freezing, and a special additive is included with the cement to allow it to set properly in the winter.

Meanwhile, manufacture of the components for the new elevator are on schedule.  The equipment is expected to be delivered to the Centre on 3 January.  These will be stored in the basement’s Foundation Room.  All programming in the basement will be relocated to other parts of the building at that time.

X-raying of portions of the building was carried out on 28 November.  Because of the thickness of some of the concrete slabs that make up the library’s floor, the results were inconclusive.  As a result, the drilling for the conduits will need to be replaced with more intensive work, so that the contractors can make adjustments if they encounter reinforcing bars or beams.  The conduits are required for the new ventilation system for the elevator mechanical room.

Construction of the ramp to provide accessible entry to the library has been delayed.  Because of the heritage nature of the building, temporary accessible doors cannot be mounted on the existing wood door frame.  Neither can any structure be attached directly to the stone walls.  A free-standing, temporary wood vestibule will be constructed at the library entrance to allow for the temporary door to be mounted, and a ramp will be built to the vestibule.  Work on the ramp and vestibule is expected to begin within the first two weeks of January.

Until the library is accessible, the current elevator will remain in operation.  It is now anticipated that the elevator will not be shut down for decommissioning until the week of 15 January.  Contractors are reviewing the construction schedule, and it is unknown at this time whether the completion date will be pushed back.

Once the revised timeline is received, it will be summarized on this page.

Third Update – 17 November 2017

Planning and pre-construction work continues on the elevator.

Portions of the building will be x-rayed early in the week of 20 November.  X-raying is necessary to properly locate where drilling should take place in running the necessary conduits from the elevator mechanical room to the outside space adjacent to the mezzanine, for the new cooling units.  To ensure that there is no risk to the public, the x-raying will start at 10 pm and go until about 2 am.

The contractors are waiting for the required permit in order to begin work on the garbage enclosure at the south end of the building.  Once the permit has been issued, a portion of the asphalt will be removed to install the concrete pad and fencing.

Final details are being worked on to create an accessible entrance for the library.  A temporary ramp will be constructed along the Saulter Street side of the building, and automatic doors will be installed for the duration of the construction work.

Despite the small delays in this preconstruction work, it is not anticipated that it will cause a delay in the actual installation of the new elevator or the anticipated completion date.

Second Update – 3 November 2017

Visitors to the Centre will have noticed the most obvious sign that work is about to begin on the elevator: the building permits have been issued and are posted on our entrance.

Planning for the work continues, with regular site visits by the contractors and their engineers to map out the installation of the cooling system for the elevator mechanical room.  Surprisingly, the mechanical room currently has little ventilation – a small grate vents into the hallway and the hydraulic system is cooled by upright fans!

In planning the precise route for the conduits for this work, portions of the building will need to be x-rayed, to ensure that any drilling does not come into contact with vital reinforcing bars or electrical systems.  The x-raying will take place at times when the building is empty, so this work will not pose a risk to our program users, space users, or staff.  The x-raying should take only a few hours and it is expected to occur in the coming week.

It is also hoped that work on the concrete pad for the garbage enclosure (later to become the stroller parking enclosure) will begin by the end of next week (before Friday 10 November) or early the following week (around Monday 13 November).  This work will entail pulling up the asphalt in the parking spot closest to the building, compacting the soil, and pouring a concrete pad.

During this portion of work, a portion of the parking lot will be fenced off.  Since the rear lot is for staff and deliveries only, this will not affect visitors to the Centre.  Allowances will be made to ensure that access to the South Riverdale Child-Parent Centre is not impeded.

An updated timeline for the work is expected around 16 November.

First Update – 24 October 2017

As you may have heard (or experienced), the current elevator at the Centre is showing its age.  It groans and moans, it creeps and lurches, and sometimes it goes wandering.  And its days are numbered.

The replacement of the RTCC elevator was included in the City’s Capital Plan.  For the first half of 2017, engineers and consultants worked on the elevator replacement,  preparing drawings and drafting the bid documents.  At the beginning of October, the contract was signed with the construction firm who will be undertaking the project.

Currently, the necessary parts are being ordered and manufactured.  The latest timeline on the elevator work is:

  • The current elevator will be decommissioned and removed starting at the beginning of January 2018.
  • Installation of the new elevator will take place in February 2018.
  • The new elevator should be up and running around the first week of March 2018.

The elevator will remain fully operational through the remainder of 2017.

Once the elevator has been decommissioned, access to the third floor, second floor, and the mezzanine will only be possible using the stairs.  During the work, there may be times when the front lobby is closed and the Saulter Street exit and rear stairs will be the primary entrance to the building.

In addition, likely starting in December, the basement program area will be closed and used by the construction crew as a storage/staging area for the elevator work.

Leading up to the main elevator project, some of the necessary pre-construction work will take place, such as:

  • Preparing for new cooling units for the elevator mechanical room in November 2017.
  • A lockup for garbage bins will be built in the rear parking lot in November 2017.  This space will be converted into stroller parking after construction has ended.
  • A temporary ramp will be constructed to ensure accessibility to the library, and the wood doors to the library will be temporarily replaced with accessible doors in December 2017.  During the elevator construction, the wood doors will be refinished and preserved and replaced once construction is complete.
  • The Saulter Street door, which is deteriorating and will act as the main entrance at times during the construction, will be permanently replaced with a new metal door in December 2017.

The Ralph Thornton Community Centre is grateful for the outstanding work by City staff in moving forward this project, and to Councillor Fletcher in her advocacy to make sure that the elevator remained a priority.