Discovery District is a not-for-profit corporation founded in
Toronto in 2000. Its stated goal is to commercialize publicly funded
medical research and other technologies with the help of local private
enterprises and as such is a public-private partnership. As part of
its mission MaRS says, "MaRS helps create successful global businesses
from Canada's science, technology and social innovation." As of
2014[update], startup companies emerging from MaRS had created more
than 4,000 jobs, and in the period of 2011 to 2014 had raised over
$750 million in capital investments.
The name MaRS was originally drawn from a file name, and later
attributed with the title "Medical and Related Sciences." It has since
abandoned this association as it also works in other fields such as
information and communications technology, engineering, and social
1.1 Phase 1
1.1.1 The Heritage Building
1.1.2 The Atrium
1.1.3 The South Tower
Toronto Medical Discovery Tower
1.2 West Tower
4 Initiatives and affiliations
6 External links
The MaRS Centre, seen from the northeast corner of College Street and
Construction of MaRS Phase II in August 2008.
The empty construction of MaRS Phase II in July 2009.
Completed MaRS Phase 2 in 2016.
Airbnb office in the MaRS Centre
It is located on the corner of College Street and University Avenue in
the city of Toronto’s Discovery District, adjacent to the University
Toronto and its affiliated research hospitals at the University
The MaRS development consists of two phases.
Discovery District Phase 1 was designed by Adamson Associates
Architects and includes:
The Heritage Building (formerly a wing of the
The South Tower
Toronto Medical Discovery Tower
The Heritage Building
Inside the Heritage Building's four-storey brick façade (preserved)
are tenant spaces occupied by professional services, industry
associations, pharmaceutical companies and offices of Canadian
universities and the Province of Ontario. In 2006, the MaRS Centre
received the Heritage
Toronto Award of Excellence for Architectural
Conservation and Craftsmanship. The building was designed by Pearson
and Darling and opened in 1911.
The MaRS atrium is a glass-roofed public thoroughfare that provides
walkway access to Heritage Building tenants and retail vendors, as
well as access to the South and Medical Discovery Towers. Its bottom
level features a sub-dividable conference area that hosts public and
private events. MaRS encourages events from across Toronto's arts,
culture and broader urban community. The Atrium's lower level also
features a media centre, video conferencing rooms and a public food
The South Tower
This eight-storey structure houses incubator programs and shared
laboratory and research facilities. The 200,000-square-foot
(19,000 m2), wet-lab-capable building spans eight floors in the
MaRS Centre. The tower boasts advanced mechanical and electrical
systems, floors with enhanced load bearing capabilities and 15-foot
(4.6 m) slab-to-slab clearances.
Occupying the second and third floors of the South Tower — directly
above the MaRS corporate offices, is the MaRS Incubator – a
dedicated space that houses offices and laboratories for approximately
two dozen life science and technology firms.
Toronto Medical Discovery Tower
With 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2) of state-of-the-art wet
labs, the 15-storey
Toronto Medical Discovery Tower accommodates
leading-edge scientific equipment and houses the basic research
activities of two of Canada's premier research hospitals: the
University Health Network
University Health Network and the Hospital for Sick Children.
Situated on the corner of College and Elizabeth Street, the building
was designed with typical research and development lab floors
configured with a side core arrangement and sheathed in metal and
glass. The tower portions rest on a three-storey limestone podium that
aligns with the heights of the adjoining College Wing and the formal
landscape forecourt that extends the full block.
The shell and core of the TMDT is designed to accommodate a full lab
program based on 80 percent wet lab and 20 percent dry lab. The lab
floors have been configured to maximize future flexibility. The
mechanical and electrical rooms, power and communication distribution
systems, general and special exhaust risers, floor drains and service
zones, have been established to allow for fit-out by future tenants.
Phase 1 began operations in 2005.
West Tower (formerly known as Phase 2), designed by Bregman + Hamann
Architects, constitutes a 780,000-square-foot (72,000 m2)
addition to the MaRS centre in the form of a 20-story tower on the
complex’s west wing. The tower was developed by Alexandria Real
Estate Equities. Construction began in late 2007, and was scheduled
to be completed in spring 2010. In November 2008, Phase 2
construction was put on hold due to the economic downturn.
Construction resumed in July 2011, with a target completion date of
In 2011, construction of Phase 2 restarted. Phase 2 construction was
expected to be completed in September 2013. Phase 2 of the project
was facing criticism because the Government of
Ontario provided a
bailout for the organization which is facing difficulty leasing the
Ontario Progressive Conservative Party was calling for a
full accounting of MaRS Phase 2. By November 2016, 93% of the
building had been leased, with the rest in negotiation.
IBM announced plans to join the finTech hub at MaRS. The hub
has financial services companies, including CIBC, Manulife and
MaRS is supported, in part, by professional service organizations
which offer their expertise at no cost through education and training,
and advisory hours.
The current list of organizations include:
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
Lawrence S. Bloomberg
Cancer Care Ontario
John R. Evans
The Henry White Kinnear Foundation
Arthur S. Labatt
St. Michael's Hospital
RBC Financial Group
Joseph L. Rotman
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
William P. Wilder
Government of Ontario
Government of Canada
City of Toronto
University of Toronto
Inside the MaRS Centre atrium.
In April 2010, criticism of the $471,874 salary collected by MaRS CEO
Ilse Treurnicht in 2008 was raised. It also criticized Liberal
government-led funding, lack of accountability and rigor in measuring
results, claims of public-private partnerships and the absence of
visible minorities among MaRS's team of advisors.
On August 27, 2010, the
National Post relayed some of these
Renewed criticism was published in 2011, pointing in particular to the
$100,000 increase in Treurnicht's salary, her $534,000 salary in 2010,
and questioning the public and private funding of the Phase II
Toronto Sun published articles on the topic as
well, questioning the high compensation levels at the charitable trust
Initiatives and affiliations
Toronto Discovery District
Canada Strategic Innovation Partnership
Social Innovation Generation (SiG)
Creative Convergence Centres Project
Premier’s Summit Awards
Canadian Stem Cell Network
Stockholm Science City
Net Change Week
^ a b c "How did MaRS get started". Retrieved 29 December 2013.
^ "Our mission, our vision MaRS". Retrieved 29 April 2013.
^ Philipiddis, Alex (15 June 2014). "Incubators Blossom along with
Their Startups". Genetic
Engineering & Biotechnology News. 34
(12). pp. 7–8. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
^ a b Shelley White. "The story of the West Tower".
Toronto Star. MaRS
Discovery District. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
^ MaRS Selects
Alexandria Real Estate Equities to Expand the MaRS
Centre in the
Discovery District of Toronto. Archived 2008-07-05 at
the Wayback Machine.. Accessed on: June 26, 2007.
^ Toronto's MaRS project a step too far. By Garry Marr, Financial Post
Published: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 Archived May 6, 2009, at the
^ MaRS Centre Phase 2 Set for Completion in Fall 2013
^ Alex Bouitilier. "
Ontario Tories call for clarity on MaRS costs".
Toronto Star. TorStar Media. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
IBM to be first technology tenant in Toronto’s MaRS discovery
district’s fintech hub". Financial Post, Alexandra Posadzki, August
^ Greg Boutin (April 2010). "Troubling Facts about MaRS Discovery
District". Growth Times. Retrieved September 27, 2010. (Subscription
^ Adam McDowell (August 27, 2010). "Discovering life at MaRS:
Toronto's premier innovation district". National Post. Retrieved
September 27, 2010.
^ Greg Boutin (August 3, 2011). "CEO of MaRS got 22% raise (one month
Ontario wage freeze?), made $533K in 2010". Growth Times.
Retrieved August 5, 2011. (Subscription required (help)).
^ Jonathan Jenkins (August 2, 2011). "Salaries increase at MaRS
Toronto Sun. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to MaRS Discovery District.
MaRS Entrepreneurs Toolkit
Press Release for resumption of MaRS 'Phase 2' Expansion
Coordinates: 43°39′35″N 79°23′20″W / 43.65972°N
79.38889°W / 4