Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre

The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre, located in the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario, is one of the only educational facilities to be built entirely out of FSC-certified wood and located inside of an FSC-certified forest.

(© Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre)© Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre

A Lab for Learning

The new Forest Stewardship and Education centre was to replace a centre that had been there since the 1940s.

From the beginning, The Regional Municipality of York wanted the new 370 sq m (4000 sq ft) building to be “the greenest education centre ever built” with space for corporate meetings and community education programs.

The intention was to have a living demonstration that highly green, and energy-efficient structures don’t have to compromise on aesthetics and the quality of the indoor environment.

The municipality also wanted the building to be designed to integrate with the surrounding forest.

Bill Fisch5

Bringing the outside in

The architectural and construction team were able to deliver a structure built almost entirely of black spruce glulam, laminated and Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), all of which was FSC certified or recycled wood supplied by Nordic Structures, and was designed to be easily disassembled and recycled in the future when it comes to the end of its useful life.

The use of wood in the design was integral to the building’s performance and appropriate to its function as a Forest Education Centre.

“We have a deep history with the FSC. It was the obvious choice to use FSC certified wood since we are FSC certified. The purpose of the building is to continue the legacy of stewardship and responsible forest management” - Ian Buchanan, Manager of Natural Heritage and Forestry, The Regional Municipality of York.

The Result

It was designed for an almost 100-year life cycle, respecting the heritage and legacy of the forest that surrounds it on all four sides.

The building is now recognized as being the first Living Building Challenge certified structure in Canada meeting the rigorous environmental performance standard for buildings. This achievement is in addition to the project’s significant accomplishments, including LEED® Platinum certification and Petal Certification.

The buildings design, details and function blend seamlessly with the natural history of the surrounding FSC certified York Regional Forest.


Struct-Con Construction Ltd.

Nordic Structures



  • Dialog
  • The Regional Municipality of York

© Forest Stewardship Council® · FSC® F000205