Stories of Support

A Groundbreaking Sustainability Initiative for St. George Campus

The University of Toronto’s Landmark Project is moving forward with an ambitious plan to install Canada’s largest urban geothermal field beneath King’s College Circle (KCC).

An exciting new green energy project will save the University of Toronto an estimated 15,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year—equivalent to taking more than 3,000 cars off the road.

Proposed as part of the Landmark Project’s revitalization of the University’s historic core, a large‐scale geothermal field located beneath King’s College Circle will provide sustainable energy to surrounding buildings and serve as a unique educational opportunity for U of T students and the wider community.

“We are always looking for ways to improve campus sustainability,” says Ron Saporta, U of T’s chief operating officer of property services & sustainability at U of T. “The Landmark Project’s plan to move surface parking on Front Campus underground has presented us with this really special opportunity.”

Ron Saporta
Ron Saporta

The field will incorporate over 500 boreholes at a depth between 700 and 800 feet, and will provide heating and cooling to the surrounding buildings as well as primary heat for snow melting around King’s College Circle. Educational digital displays will record geothermal energy consumption data and a mechanical room has been proposed to accommodate tours and provide a space to teach and learn about the geothermal system and innovating energy technologies on campus.

“Having the country’s largest urban geothermal field in the centre of our downtown campus not only generates much-needed energy, it creates real-world learning opportunities for U of T students,” says Saporta. “Future engineers will be able to see first-hand how these fields get assembled. Students interested in architecture, planning, environmental studies or business will be able to learn how projects of this nature are conceived, financed and executed.”

Learn more about what’s happening with Landmark and discover how you can leave your mark on the historic heart of U of T.


In response to climate change, U of T is taking critical steps to create environmentally conscious spaces that support the health and well being of our community, and establish the University as an engine of sustainability in Canada and around the world.

Under President Meric Gertler’s leadership, U of T has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37 per cent from 1990 levels by the year 2030.

The Landmark Project is an important element of the University’s sustainability strategy and will incorporate numerous green initiatives designed to recycle resources, reduce energy consumption and create a healthier and more beautiful campus landscape.


Borehole thermal performance testing conducted on King’s College green as part of U of T’s geothermal feasibility study.
  • Canada’s largest urban geothermal field
  • More trees, gardens and green spaces
  • New, more accessible pedestrian/cycling pathways
  • Removal of surface parking
  • Installation of 53 new electric vehicle charging stations
  • Use of durable materials, such as granite and specially engineered turf
  • Improved recycling receptacles
  • Heat tracing de-icing around King’s College Circle
  • LED lighting (interior and exterior); fixtures will be dark-sky compliant
  • Water capture for irrigation
  • Green roofs installed at Medical Sciences Building plaza and the new underground parking garage


The Landmark Project is one of the most significant open-space projects at the University of Toronto in the past 100 years. The plan envisions transforming the heart of our downtown campus into a greener and more accessible park-like setting, with a stunning network of pedestrian-friendly spaces and a more sustainable campus landscape. When completed, the historic core will once again serve as a thriving centre of campus life.

Join close to 2,000 donors from Toronto and around the world in reimagining U of T’s downtown campus as an even more inspiring to learn, live and work. Read more of our donor storiestake a look at the renderings and discover how you too can leave your mark!

Posted on July 10, 2019