The Story So Far:
Pia Bouman School answers questions about 225 Sterling Rd
Q: How did the Board make the decision to move to 225 Sterling Rd?
A: Pia Bouman and the Board members have spent the past two years
identifying and exploring locations with potential for the school. This
process was accelerated in May 2018, after the City of Toronto rejected plans for 6
Noble Street that included space for our school. In June, the Board engaged
Karen Rosenberg of Harvey Kalles who, assisted by a half-dozen other
real estate agents including former parent and long-time supporter
Scott Bartle, worked around the clock to help find property that the
school could afford and that would suit its dancers.
The Board of Directors reviewed all available spaces in an area bounded
by Lake Ontario, Jane Street, St. Clair Avenue and Ossington Avenue,
including properties owned and managed by the City of Toronto, both
local school boards and church dioceses. In the end, the Board’s Real
Estate committee closely considered more than 20 properties and
visited a short list of 10 to 12 possible contenders.
225 Sterling Road, first viewed last July and subsequently visited
several more times by Board members and, most recently, 6 Noble
architect Philip Beesley, emerged as by far the most practical and
inspiring option identified by this prolonged search.
Q: How can parents, dancers and members of the Pia Bouman
School community be part of this exiting new chapter in the
school’s history? What can we do to help?
A: The new space needs a renovation. Architects, designers and friends
in the project management and/or the building trades who would like
to contribute to the planning, design and renovation are urged to
contact the school’s real estate committee as soon as possible using
If you are able to financially support this renovation effort, please
donate through our “GoFundMe” campaign at
Parents, dancers and supporters who would like to volunteer to help
with the renovation and move–including high school students seeking
community credit–can email the committee at
225Sterling@piaboumanschool.org to ask questions and provide
details of their skills and availability.
As soon as we have details and a schedule, sign-up sheets will be posted
in the school and circulated at community meetings.
Q: Can we visit the new space at 225 Sterling?
A: The school will schedule meetings and tours of the new space in the
Q: When will the school be moving? What will happen to classes?
A: Starting in April, we will begin our period of transition and
renovation. There will be no interruption to any of our classes,
performances or summer programs between now and the beginning of
our 2019/2020 season. The school will be fully operational in the
Sterling Road space by Sept. 3.
Q: What will you do first? What will happen to the Noble Street
studios and theatre?
A: First, we have to build walls. The school’s new home is an exceptional
space; it now offers one big former industrial space with lofted ceilings
that range from 10 to 30 feet in height. The 9,510-square-foot space
provides the same possibilities as 6 Noble, in that it gives us room for
three or four studios of different sizes that can open up to do double
duty as a performance hub; as well as several additional spaces that can
serve as offices and prop/costume storage.
An architect will create renderings in the next few weeks, after which
we will begin to plan the specific steps of this move in stages that make
the most sense and cause the least disruption to our dancers. Our
community can feel reassured that we will take with us from 6 Noble
everything we value and can remove and transport that serves an
artistic or practical purpose in the new space. For example, at the top of
our list is the treasured purple stained glass window, the glass studio
doors, the sprung floors and the ballet barres. The new space means an
exciting change and expanded opportunities, but it will also feel like
Q: Will the move mean any significant changes to classes, programming, scheduling, or pricing?
A: The Pia Bouman School has always been committed to ensuring its
unique and defining mandate: “Every child who wishes to dance, to
create and to perform has the opportunity to do so.” Our fees as
well as bursaries will be assessed with this in mind, taking into
consideration any new costs for the school. The 40-year-old school,
which was granted federal charitable status in 1987, will continue to
seek philanthropic and community funding to support this mandate.
Q: What plans does the school have for the community of teachers
and arts educators who operate under Pia Bouman School’s
organizational umbrella at 6 Noble?
A: Friends, teachers and educational performance artists who have
collaborated with us in the past, and colleagues who have taught classes
and developed their performance work at the school, remain part of our
mandate and will be invited to continue to work with us at Sterling
Road. The school will schedule a meeting for educational partners and
collaborators in the near future.
Q: How long is our lease on the new space?
A: We have secured a lease for five years, with an option to renew for an
additional five years.
Q: How do we get there? Will there be parking? Where are the
closest and most convenient TTC stops?
A: Our new space is located in the area between Dundas Street West and
Bloor Street that is shaping up as west Toronto’s new arts and culture
hub. 225 Sterling is located a five to 10-minute walk from the Sterling
Road stop on Dundas West, past the new locations for the House of
Anansi bookstore and press, the new Drake Commissary restaurant and
MOCA, where the Forna Cultura café is now open until 8 or 9 p.m.
The location is also a less than 10-minute walk south from Bloor’s
Lansdowne and Dundas West subway stops. Our studios have a
storefront entry that’s nestled between a yoga studio and a shop that
calls itself “Canada’s best dress rental”, both of which operate until 8
p.m. or later most evenings. Authorized users share a parking lot with
other tenants in the 221-225 Sterling buildings; parents can pull up to
the front door to drop off their children, but will then need to proceed to
a Green P parking lot conveniently located just around the corner.
For more information and updates, keep checking this page and
others on our website. For a look at the direction this area is
moving in, and how far it’s come in the past three years, we also
recommend reading this lovely story by Toronto Star arts reporter
About Our School:
Our mandate is to make dance available to all who wish to pursue it: this is the guiding principle which breathes through the school.
Our programs are tailored to all ages and all levels: from the very young to the pre-professional and mature student.
Our highly qualified staff nurtures and encourages creative development and self-discipline, empowering their students with strong dance technique, musicality and social awareness. They are encouraged to be intelligent and honest about their dance art.
Our students learn that dance is a communication tool and this knowledge gives them a sense of excitement about dance as creative expression. Many of our students have pursued their education in dance and choreography at professional schools and universities. Some of them have become professional artists in their own right. All have acquired a true appreciation and love for dance.