An architectural model of the Celia Franca Centre for NBS' Project Grand Jeté. The architectural design for the Centre was a joint venture between Goldsmith Borgal & Company Ltd. and Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg.

Following Betty Oliphant’s retirement in 1989, Mavis Staines, the new Artistic Director, and Robert Sirman, the Administrative Director, ushered in a new vision for the long-term growth of the School. Appropriately titled “Project Grand Jeté,” their ambitious two-phase plan was to construct new premises on Jarvis Street for the School’s dance, academic and administrative needs, and to redevelop 111 Maitland Street as a residence with dining facilities.

Phase I: Named the Celia Franca Centre after the School’s co-founder, the new facilities at 400 Jarvis Street gracefully integrated modern buildings with historic architecture. Completed in 2005, the buildings are an oft-photographed landmark in the Toronto community.

Phase II: The redevelopment at 111 Maitland Street was completed in 2007. It succeeded in providing ample residence and dining facilities while retaining evocative elements of its historic past as a studio.

Though faced with more than a decade of real estate and funding challenges, the School’s new campus fulfilled Staines’ and Sirman’s vision. Today, NBS is the only ballet training institution in North America that provides studio, academic and residence facilities on one campus.

The completed Celia Franca Centre, seen from Jarvis Street.

The completed renovation at 111 Maitland Street turned the School's original studio space into a dining hall. A residence space was also attached, and was named the Maison Staines House in honour of the Artistic Director who championed its re-development.

This photo, taken during Project Grand Jeté construction in 2005, shows the inner workings of NBS' studio floors. The layers of wooden boards act as a spring, making the floors ideal for dancers' bodies during hours of daily training. Photo by Nikki Chabrol.