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25 Years of MGAC: Carving Out a Reputation in Canada

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MGAC was founded in 1996 with three goals: to do the most interesting and challenging work, to have fun working together, and to build a successful business in the process. Twenty-five years later, we have met these goals and more. At this milestone moment, we thought it would be fun to look back at some of our most memorable projects—our favorite missions made real. Today, join us as we revisit the evolution and growth of our work in Canada. 

GOING INTERNATIONAL

Since 2010, MGAC has been delivering successful projects and building relationships throughout Canada. It’s a journey that, today, includes an impressive portfolio of projects that span infrastructure to hospitality to higher education, an office relocation to Toronto’s emerging Junction neighbourhood, and the growth of a diverse and dynamic team that prides itself on delivering projects that positively impact communities. It’s also a journey uniquely representative of the greater Toronto area, known for its strong business value, excellent education system, rich and diverse talent pool—particularly technology, and heavy government-led growth and investment. Let’s revisit the evolution of it all.

THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

Two of our early projects truly set the stage for our presence in Canada. Back in 2010, TD Bank approached MGAC for damage control on a data center project that had gone awry—to the tune of two years behind schedule and more than $42M over budget. (File this one under: You’ve got your work cut out for yourself.) We immediately got to work organizing the existing project team to get the schedule and budget on track, introducing the commissioning agent as a direct representative for the client’s facility operations team, and developing alternative delivery strategies that reduced the schedule by six months. By project’s end, we delivered the full building under budget and on schedule.

We were off to a running start—and not slowing down any time soon. The team was already underway providing project management services on a $72M performing arts and teaching center for Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. Poised on the shore of Lake Ontario, the Isabel Bader Center for the Performing Arts was conceived to support the growing needs of the student body through dedicated teaching, rehearsal, and performance space for fine arts, film and media, drama, and music—and engage lovers of the arts in Kingston and beyond. The award-winning project executed the dramatic vision of acclaimed Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta and Ottawa firm N45.

REACHING NEW HEIGHTS AND HAVING A WHALE OF A TIME (LITERALLY)

Our team’s success delivering the Isabel Bader Center for the Performing Arts helped us land the project management contract of a new Core Science Facility for Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), a $250M research, teaching, and laboratory building on MUN’s St. John’s campus. With its three separate towers linked by two vertical atria, the building design is firmly rooted in place, drawing inspiration from icebergs found off the Newfoundland coast. The multi-phase project has exemplified making missions real, perhaps best illustrated through the suspension of the 82-foot, 2,000-pound skeleton of a rare blue whale in the atrium of the facility. Nearing completion this year, it sets a new standard of excellence for campus facilities and enriches educational opportunities for current and future students.

Another higher education engagement, this time for Toronto’s Ryerson University, involved the transformation of a parking lot into a 29-story mixed-use tower that housed academic, administrative, residential, and retail spaces, and included four levels of underground parking. Our cost management team notably achieved a 10% reduction in cost through value-engineering workshops.

VALUES AT WORK: PROJECTS WITH A PURPOSE

Our team has been fortunate to partner on projects that reflect and serve the unique needs of the communities we have worked in. Much of our early work started there, and it’s within this space that we continue to thrive. That purpose is also fulfilled in the civic and government work we have undertaken across Canada. Our team has helped Canada Post, the country’s primary postal operator, embark on a transformative journey to embrace evolving technologies through renovations of existing facilities and new builds. We work with the City of Toronto, upgrading outdated infrastructure at wastewater treatment plants. And, we will soon begin offering scheduling services to the City of Barrie on their portfolio of projects which include upgrades to public buildings, roads, and wastewater treatment plants. The team is also delivering cost management services for various agencies that execute public infrastructure projects, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, courthouses, and more.

LOOKING AHEAD

Toronto is abuzz with innovation and opportunity, and a recent office move has placed our people in the heart of it all. From our corner of the Junction, we can continue to take on the kind of work we love to do: impactful projects that unite stakeholders around a shared vision. While some teams shy away from projects with many perspectives and moving parts, we embrace them. We know we can serve as the string that ties together phases and stakeholders, because we have done it time and time again.

From data centers to performing arts centers, hospitality to infrastructure work, our Toronto team has proven it can tackle projects across sectors and of all scope and scale. Our people are the reason. They are trained architects and engineers providing client representation, development services, and full project management services. Our Toronto team, who understands the full scope of the project process, can be with you from project inception to final close-out. With diverse professional backgrounds and areas of expertise—but the same passion and drive for client advocacy—they comprise a well-rounded team with the vision and know-how to execute the biggest “What if?” down to the last detail.

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