Toronto South Detention Centre

Toronto, Ontario

Client: Infrastructure Ontario, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Size: 846,000 sq.ft. (73,000 sq.m.)
LEED: Silver

As the proponent architectural firm, Zeidler worked with Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Ontario Realty Corporation and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal on this maximum-security facility for 1650 inmates. Zeidler’s design meets staff and inmate needs for a safe, efficient, and effective building with state-of-the-art security and an environment featuring natural light and materials that support a positive rehabilitation experience. The architectural design turns the traditional incarceration model on its head with a focus on rehabilitation instead of punishment. 

Located on the former site of the Mimico Correctional Centre, the TSDC replaces the previous facility and aging Don Jail. The structure, exterior skin and cells, including furniture, were entirely prefabricated, providing a higher level of fit and construction efficiency. The health services component includes an infirmary and a clinical area for examinations and treatment, dental and routine radiology, and non-life-threatening emergency treatment. The housing units and infirmary include a mental health assessment unit, intensive special needs unit, and two medical units. Support spaces were centralized to service multiple housing units. 

To help meet the spiritual needs of Aboriginal inmates, Zeidler engaged Aboriginal community agencies in the design process. Spaces were prepared for a future sweat lodge, a sweetgrass hut and healing lodges. TSDC demonstrates the ability of the architectural profession to adapt to changing needs, balance conflicting requirements and continue to serve public interests. The building is the first LEED®-designed adult correctional facility in Ontario, resulting in a Silver certification.


  • The AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice - Justice --Facilities Review 2012 - Award of Excellence, Merit, 2012
  • Precast/ Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Design Awards - Honourable Mention, Justice and Correctional Structures, 2012