Prior to colonization, York University’s Keele Campus footprint was part of the tableland forests and valley lands between Oak Ridges Moraine and Lake Ontario. In her thesis, “Reading the York Landscape,” Liz Frosberg documents the archaeological findings that revealed that land along Black Creek was home to a significant Haudenosaunee village between 1450 and 1500. By the 1600s, it was inhabited by the Anishinaabe. In 1805, the boundary of the 1787 so-called Toronto Purchase was surreptitiously extended north to include what is now York’s campus.
Built in 1962 on 465 acres of parcelled land earmarked for subsidized housing developments by the Government of Canada, York’s campus buried 15 tributary streams of Black Creek. Four secondary-growth woodlots were preserved during construction; they are still present today. Woodlots and farmhouses point to the presence of Pennsylvanian Dutch farmers, including the Stongs, who settled in the area after the American Revolution. Today, the Stong Farmhouse is home to artist and York professor Lisa Myers’s studio.
York University is situated in the neighbourhood known as Jane-Finch. The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) features programming that is responsive to its suburban locale through residencies and commissions that support artists who engage with the diverse and nuanced cultural context of the wider Toronto area.
This Biennial site description was generated by the curatorial team, in consultation with our creative partners, to offer lesser-known facts and histories, and explore sites in relation to the changing shoreline.
This Biennial site was made possible through a partnership with the AGYU.
Accessible entrance and washrooms
Accessible ramps / elevators
AODA compliant building
- Getting There
By Public Transportation:
Travelling by GO Transit:
- Hwy 407 Express GO Bus Service: Hamilton – Burlington – Oakville – Mississauga – Bramalea – York University Common – Thornhill – Mount Joy – Scarborough – Pickering – Oshawa
- Meadowvale Express GO Bus Service: Meadowvale – York University
- Bradford GO Train Service: Barrie – Bradford – East Gwillimbury – Newmarket – Aurora – King – Maple – York U – Union Stn. A free York shuttle transports passengers to/from the York Common to the York University GO Train Station.
Travelling by TTC:
- Subway: TTC has a new Line 1 subway station at the Keele campus – York University Subway Station (North entrance.) The new subway stations provide the York community with easy access to and from downtown Toronto and the Regional Municipality of York/York Region.
- Bus: The following TTC transit buses service the Pioneer Village Station:
Travelling by York Region Transit/Viva:
- Route 3 – Thornhill-York University
- Route 20 – Jane-Concord
- Route 96 – Newmarket-King City
- Route 165 – Weston
- Viva purple
- From Highway 401: Take Hwy. 401 to Keele Street. Exit at Keele Street and go north (follow the posted detour signs). Follow Keele Street north of Finch Avenue (the campus is on your left). Turn left at York Boulevard, north of Finch Avenue.
- From Highway 407: Take Hwy. 407 to Keele Street. Exit at Keele Street and go south. Follow Keele Street south of Steeles Avenue (the campus is on your right). Turn onto the campus via York Boulevard, south of Steeles Avenue.
- From Highway 400 (northbound): Take Hwy. 400 north to Steeles Avenue. Exit onto Steeles Avenue and go east. Follow Steeles Avenue east to Keele Street. At Keele Street go south (the campus is on your right). Turn onto the campus at York Boulevard, south of Steeles Avenue.