Category Archives: Office buildings

42-storey condo tower proposed for site of 8-floor office building at Yonge & St Mary Streets

10 St Mary Street condo tower rendering

This artistic illustration shows the 42-storey condo tower being proposed for the northwest corner of Yonge and St Mary Streets. The drawing appears on development proposal signs posted on the property (see below).



10 St Mary Street development proposal sign

One of three development proposal signs posted at 10 St Mary Street



10 St Mary Street Toronto

Yonge Street view of 10 St Mary Street, an 8-storey office building constructed in 1957 in the International Style of architecture.



Development proposal signs have finally been posted on a 57-year-old office building at the northwest corner of Yonge and St Mary Streets — the site of a planned 42-storey condo tower.

The signs, which were affixed to the building sometime within the past week, provide a brief description of a rezoning application that was filed with the City on August 19.

The new tower would rise 140.5 meters and would include a 10-storey podium. The building would contain 255 condo units, retail space on the first floor, and four levels of underground parking for 49 vehicles. Parking spots for 316 bicycles also would be provided.

The condo would replace an 8-storey office building that has occupied the site since 1957. Designed in the International Style by Mathers and Haldenby to house its own architectural offices, 10 St Mary Street’s tenants in recent years have included University of Toronto Press and the Ontario branch office of the Liberal Party of Canada. A Country Style Donuts outlet and a Mr Sub sandwich shop occupy street-level premises in the building.

Redevelopment of the narrow property, which extends the full length of the short St Mary Street block between Yonge Street and St Nicholas Street, has been expected for some time.


Demolition permit issued in 2013

In the fall of 2013 the property owner, Lifetime St Mary Street Inc., applied to the City for a building demolition permit. Lifetime already had met with city planning staff several times in the preceding months to discuss plans to redevelop the site with a highrise condo, but had not yet filed a rezoning application with the City.

However, 10 St Mary is located on a stretch of Yonge Street for which the City has been conducting a Heritage Conservation District study, a process which typically takes several years to complete (click here to see the City webpage outlining the Historic Yonge Street Heritage Conservation District Study). 

On November 19 2013, in a bid to forestall the demolition, Toronto and East York Community Council (TEYCC) asked the City’s planning department to determine if City Council could designate 10 St Mary as a heritage building under Ontario law.  (Designation confers a measure of legal protection, since demolition or material changes to the heritage attributes of a designated building require the prior approval of City Council.)

In a letter filed in support of the TEYCC request, Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam noted that 10 St Mary “was identified in the North Yonge Planning framework as a building of potential heritage interest. It would be premature to permit demolition of this building prior to the completion of this study and before the City has had the opportunity to evaluate the heritage value of the building. The current Ontario Building Code does not have any means to prevent the issuance of a demolition permit for buildings that are not yet designated, but are being considered for heritage designation.”

Meanwhile, the city issued a demolition permit as a matter of course on December 2 2013 while city staff researched the building’s history and assessed its heritage significance. The property owner did not take any steps to commence demolition while that process was underway.


Building met criteria for cultural heritage value

In a February 28 2014 report, the City’s planning department recommended that City Council state its intention to designate 10 St Mary.

“Regarded as an important example of International Style architecture that was built in 1957, the site is associated with one of Toronto’s most important firm of architects and is contextually significant on this portion of Yonge Street,” the planning report states in summarizing its recommendation.

More specifically, the report explains that 10 St Mary meets three key criteria for cultural heritage value:

♦ Design value

“In the expression of the structural concrete frame in its facades, the infill panels of glass and brick and in the exploitation of the structural possibilities which permit an open area at grade level, this building is an excellent example of a mid-century, International Style commercial structure integrating offices, retail and parking.”

♦ Associative value

“The building is historically associated with the architectural partnership of Mathers and Haldenby whose span of work from 1921-1991 contributed significantly to educational, government and commercial institutions and residential enclaves in the City of Toronto, across Canada and as far away as the Caribbean and Australia.  This office project is particularly important because of its expressive use of modernist International Style principles which contrasts with the majority of their work which was more traditionally based through to this period of the mid-1950s.”

♦ Contextual value

“An eight-story International Style building with an open volume at its base facing Yonge and St. Mary Streets it is situated in a predominantly late 19th and early 20th century streetscape.  Paired with 696 Yonge Street, another International Style mid-century, eight-storey office building on the south side of St. Mary Street, it makes an important contribution to the character of the area.  10 St. Mary is historically linked to its surroundings as a representative of mid-twentieth century Yonge Street responding to the changing lifestyle and business needs as well as the burgeoning post-war economic expansion, the increased use of automobiles and the separation of work and home” the report stated.

The Toronto Preservation Board adopted the planning report on March 26, as did TEYCC on April 8. Toronto City Council in turn adopted the recommendation on May 6, and on June 2 the City Clerk posted an official public notice of Council’s intention to designate the property.


Property owner objects to heritage designation

Those decisions were made notwithstanding complaints by lawyers for Lifetime, who wrote to the City objecting to the intention to designate the property.

Indeed, in an April 7 letter to the City, law firm Sherman Brown Dryer Karol pointed out that Lifetime had purchased 10 St Mary after its thorough due diligence confirmed the building was not listed or designated as a heritage property. Moreover, Lifetime had met with City planning, urban design and heritage staff to discuss its plans to built a condo tower on the site, but had not been warned that 10 St Mary might be considered to have heritage value.

“The original design included a podium that replaced the original building with a new podium of a height that replicated the built form envelope of the existing building on site,” the lawyers wrote.

However, city planning staff told Lifetime that the podium height would have to be reduced “to comply with the City’s ‘new vision’ for the area, as established in their recent report on the North Downtown Yonge Urban Design Guidelines.  The recommendation to reduce the height of the podium to comply with the new 18 m [meter] requirement, by definition, requires the demolition of the existing building.  When the recommendation was made at our client’s pre-consultation meeting, not once did Heritage Staff raise a concern and/or suggest that the building had any heritage significance whatsoever,” the lawyers’ letter states.


Review board pre-hearing set for December

Under Ontario law, anyone objecting to the proposed heritage designation had until July 2 to file a formal objection with the City (30 days after the City published its notice of intent to designate). If objections are submitted, provincial law requires the City to refer the matter to a hearing before the Conservation Review Board, a provincial adjudicative tribunal.  According to a listing of active cases on the Conservation Review Board website, a pre-hearing conference on the 10 St Mary Street dispute will be held on December 18 of this year.

In the meantime, city planners will continue reviewing the condo tower development application, and TEYCC will likely ask them later this fall to schedule a community consultation meeting to obtain public input into the proposal.

Below are several more photos of 10 St Mary Street, all from October 19.


10 St Mary Street Toronto

10 St Mary viewed from the east side of Yonge Street. The building’s “open volume at ground level” — used as a patio for customers of the street-level fast food shops — is considered a heritage attribute.



10 St Mary Street Toronto

10 St Mary is situated just two blocks southeast of the Manulife Centre (top right), a 163-metere, 51-storey-tall apartment and commercial tower built in 1972. If approved, the condo proposed for 10 St Mary will rise nearly 141 meters.



10 St Mary Street Toronto

10 St Mary is just three short blocks south of the key Yonge & Bloor intersection in the tony Yorkville neighbourhood. Its proximity to Yorkville and the Yonge & Bloor subway lines will be one of the top selling features for the proposed condominium.



710 to 718 Yonge Street Toronto

Immediately to the north of 10 St Mary is this row of two-storey retail and commercial buildings at 710 to 718 Yonge Street. They are not part of the redevelopment proposal.



10 St Mary Street Toronto

Side view of 10 St Mary Street. A City planning report says that heritage attributes of the 57-year-old building include the “façade with its expressed concrete frame, infill panels with two-part glazed panels and 9″ Flemish bond buff-brick”



10 St Mary Street Toronto

10 St Mary viewed from the southwest corner of St Mary and St Nicholas Streets.  A City report says another heritage attribute of the building is “the reinforced concrete structural frame, the external wall columns, and external spandrel beams exposed on external wall faces.”



10 St Mary Street Toronto

 “The 8-storey scale, form and massing of the building” are other features that give the building heritage value, according to a City planning report.



10 St Mary Street Toronto

St Nicholas Street view of a loading dock and garage entrance on the west side of 10 St Mary.  This is where a service entrance and access to a parking garage elevator would be located in the 42-storey condo tower proposed for this site.



10 St Mary Street Toronto

Another view of the west side of 10 St Mary, along St Nicholas Street



Looking up at some of the new skyscrapers making their mark on the downtown Toronto skyline

RBC WaterPark Place

The new RBC WaterPark Place office tower practically blends into the clouds in this view from the west on lower York Street on September 16 2014



South Financial Core towers

while four new towers reach for the clouds above the south downtown core. At left are the Delta hotel and Bremner office tower at Southcore Financial Centre on Bremner Blvd. Soaring skyward at right are the two ÏCE Condos on York Street.



1 Bloor condos

The sensuous curves of the One Bloor condo tower are already adding interest and excitement to the once-drab Yonge & Bloor intersection in Yorkville.



Below are more photos of the towers shown above, as well as other hotel, office and condo skyscrapers that I photographed this past week.



RBC WaterPark Place office building


RBC WaterPark Place

West side of RBC WaterPark Place viewed from lower York Street



RBC WaterParkPlace

South face of RBC WaterParkPlace seen from Queen’s Quay Blvd. The tower was designed by WZMH Architects of Toronto.



RBC WaterParkPlace

Upper half of the 30-storey tower, viewed from the southwest



RBC WaterPark Place

Another view of the tower from Queen’s Quay to the southwest



Studio on Richmond condominiums


Studio on Richmond

Looking up the north side of the Studio on Richmond condo tower situated between Simcoe and Duncan Streets in the Entertainment District. It will top off at 31 storeys. Its 41-storey sister tower, Studio2, is currently under construction behind it on Nelson Street.



Studio on Richmond condo

Studio on Richmond podium and tower viewed from the north side of Richmond Street near Simcoe Street



Studio on Richmond condo

The two-tower Studio on Richmond condo complex was designed by Quadrangle Architects of Toronto.



Studio on Richmond condo

A view of the Studio on Richmond condo from the west on Richmond Street near Duncan Street. The building is a project of Aspen Ridge Homes.



 Delta Hotel and Bremner office tower at Southcore Financial Centre


Delta Hotel and Bremner office tower

The Delta Toronto hotel (left) and the Bremner office tower are nearing completion at Southcore Financial Centre on Bremner Boulevard between York Street and Simcoe Street. The buildings are seen here from Roundhouse Park, near the Toronto Railway Museum.




Delta Hotel and Bremner office tower

The 45-storey Delta Hotel tower reflects on the west wall of the 30-storey Bremner office tower in this view from the southwest corner of Lower Simcoe Street and Bremner Boulevard.



Delta Hotel

Looking up the northwest corner of the Delta Hotel. The Bremner office tower is partially visible behind it.




Delta Hotel

Upper west side of the Delta Hotel. Scheduled to open in 2015, the Delta will be a premium 4-star hotel with 567 guest rooms.



Delta Hotel

The angled south face of the Delta Hotel, seen from Bremner Boulevard




The L Tower condominium


The L Tower

Upper floors of The L Tower seen from the west on Sept 16 2014. The dramatically curved skyscraper was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind.




The L Tower

A closer view of some of the upper levels of the 58-storey L Tower, which is located at the corner of Yonge Street and The Esplanade, directly behind the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.



The L Tower

The L Tower makes an emphatic point on the downtown skyline



The L Tower

A telephoto view of the construction crane that has soared above The L Tower construction site for the past several years



The Mercer condo tower


The Mercer condo

Looking up the southeast corner of The Mercer condo building, which rises 33 storeys at the corner of Mercer and John Streets in the Entertainment District



The Mercer condo

The Mercer was designed by BBB Architects, and is a project of Graywood Developments Ltd. and Beaveerhall Homes.




Three Hundred Front Street West condominiums



300 Front Street West condos

The upper floors of the 49-storey Three Hundred Front Street West condo tower



300 Front Street West condos

Looking up the southeast corner of Tridel’s Three Hundred Front West condo. The building was designed by Toronto’s Wallman Architects.



Theatre Park condominiums


Theatre Park condo

The 47-storey Theatre Park condo tower is under construction on King Street West, right next door to Toronto’s historic Royal Alexandra Theatre. I shot this photo of Theatre Park from two blocks to the northwest.



Theatre Park condo

Theatre Park was designed by architectsAlliance of Toronto. The condo is a project of Lamb Development Corp., Niche Development and Harhay Construction Management Ltd.



Theatre Park Condos

Glass balcony panels are gradually being installed on the tower’s north side



Theatre Park Condos

Design details on the tower’s west side



ÏCE Condominiums


ICE Condos

The upper west sides of the 67- and 57-storey ÏCE Condominiums, located at 12 and 14 York Street in the south downtown core



ICE Condos

The top of the 67-floor ÏCE Condo at 14 York Street. A project of Lanterra Developments, the two skyscrapers were designed by Toronto’s architectsAlliance.




ICE Condos

 ÏCE Condo towers viewed from the southeast on Queen’s Quay Blvd.



ICE Condos

A view of the two towers from Grand Trunk Crescent to their northwest




Aura condominium


Aura condo tower

I shot this pic of the 78-storey Aura condominium tower from the podium green roof at Toronto City Hall. Aura is the tallest condominium building in Canada.




Aura condos

The upper third of Aura, viewed from several blocks to the southwest




Aura condo tower

A view of Aura from two blocks to the west on Elizabeth Street



Aura condo tower

Aura viewed from the northwest corner of College Park. A Canderel development project, the tower was designed by Graziani & Corazza Architects Inc.




Aura condos

The top of Aura, viewed from the southwest



Aura Condos

The top of Aura, viewed from the north



Nicholas Residences condominiums


Nicholas Residences

A view of 35-storey Nicholas Residences from the north on Balmuto Street. The condo is a project of Urban Capital and Alit Developments.



Nicholas Residences

Looking up the tower’s northwest corner, from the intersection of St Mary and St Nicholas Streets. The building was designed by Toronto’s Core Architects Inc.



Nicholas Residences

Nicholas viewed from the southwest on St Nicholas Street.



Nicholas Residences

West side of Nicholas, viewed from St Mary Street near Bay Street




FIVE Condominiums


FIVE Condo tower

Looking toward the 48-storey FIVE Condos tower from two blocks to the southeast, at the corner of Yonge and Maitland Streets.  To its right is the Nicholas Residences condo tower, two blocks north.




FIVE Condo tower

FIVE Condos was designed by Toronto’s Hariri Pontarini Architects



FIVE Condo tower

Looking up the south side of FIVE Condos from Wellesley Street West



FIVE Condo tower

The tower has a wonky appearance when viewed from the south, thanks to the undulating pattern of balconies on the east and west sides.



FIVE Condos S

Construction of the tower’s mechanical penthouse is underway. FIVE Condos is a project of MOD Developments Inc., Graywood Developments Ltd., Tricon and Diamondcorp.




FIVE Condos

Windows on the east side of FIVE Condos on September 5



FIVE Condos

FIVE Condos viewed from the east on the morning of September 11




FIVE Condo tower

A view of FIVE from the south on St Luke Lane, next to the Toronto Central YMCA Centre (left).  This view will change drastically in several years when Lanterra Developments builds its 60-storey 11 Wellesley on the Park condo tower on the property partly visible on the left side of St Luke Lane (presently occupied by a row of trees and a condo presentation centre behind them).




Chaz.Yorkville condominiums


ChazYorkville condos

Chaz.Yorkville Condominiums, on Charles Street between Yonge and Church Streets, is a project of 45 Charles Ltd. and Edenshaw Homes Limited.



ChazYorkville condos

A signature design element of Chaz.Yorkville is the large rectangular box that juts from the tower’s south side. It’s the Chaz Club, a 2-storey private club for exclusive use of condo residents.



ChazYorkville condos

The tower was designed by Sol Wassermuhl of Page + Steele IBI Group Architects in Toronto. It will stand 47 storeys tall when complete.



Casa Condominium and ChazYorville Condos

Chaz.Yorkville is only a few weeks away from overtaking the height of its next-door neighbour, the 46-storey Casa Condominium tower, which was built in 2010.



One Bloor Condominiums


One Bloor Condos

Although construction has climbed only one-third of the way to its ultimate 75 storeys, the One Bloor condo tower is already making a huge architectural statement at the Yonge & Bloor crossroads in Yorkville. I shot this photo from the southwest corner of Yonge & Charles Streets.



One Bloor Condos

I often hear passersby comment favourably on the delightful sweeping curves of One Bloor’s podium and tower.



One Bloor Condos

Looking up at One Bloor from the southwest corner of the Yonge & Bloor intersection. The building was designed by Toronto’s Hariri Pontarini Architects.



One Bloor Condos

A view of One Bloor from the northwest, on Yonge Street just above Bloor




U Condos


U Condos

A view of the two U Condos towers from two blocks to the south on Bay Street, at Phipps Street. The construction crane at left is building the 32-storey 1Thousand Bay condo tower at the southwest corner of Bay and St Joseph Streets.



 U Condos

The west U Condos building has topped off at 45 storeys, while the east tower continues its climb toward 55 floors. U Condos is a project of Pemberton Group, and was designed by architectsAlliance of Toronto.




X2 Condominiums


X2 Condos

Construction crews are closing in the mechanical penthouse levels of the 49-storey X2 Condominiums at the southwest corner of Jarvis & Charles Streets



X2 Condos

X2 Condos viewed from one block to the southwest on Isabella Street. The tower is a project of Lifetime Developments and Great Gulf Homes.



X2 Condos

A September 3 view from the south of X2 Condos left, and the first X Condos, right, which was constructed in 2010. X2 was designed by Wallman Architects, while X Condos was designed by architectsAlliance.



Underground floors filling in fast for 1 York Street office building & Harbour Plaza condo towers

Artistic rendering of the One York Street office tower and 90 Harbour Street condo towers by Menkes Developments

This artistic rendering depicts a view from the southwest of the One York Street office building and the Harbour Plaza Residences condo towers that Menkes Developments Ltd. is constructing in the south downtown core



1 York Street office tower

January 18 2013: So far, only cranes and hoarding are visible at the construction site, as seen here from the southwest corner of York and Harbour Streets…



1 York Street and 90 Harbour Street

… but what passersby can’t see is that, behind the hoarding, construction of the underground levels for the office & condo complex is nearly at street level



Approaching grade: It won’t be long before the landmark Menkes condo and office tower development at 1 York Street and 90 Harbour Street begins to rise from the ground and significantly transform the entire look and feel of the southeast downtown core.

Hidden behind hoarding and not readily visible to most people passing by, work has been progressing quickly on the underground parking levels for the One York Street office building and the two Harbour Plaza Residences condo towers.

Only 13 months ago, excavation was just getting underway on the building site — a long, rectangular parcel of land awkwardly situated between several major traffic arteries — the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard to the north, York Street to the west, and Harbour Street and the elevated York/Bay/Yonge offramp from the Gardiner to the south. The property was formerly occupied by a 5-storey brown brick building originally constructed for the Ontario Workmen’s Compensation Board in 1953, and subsequently used as headquarters for the Ontario Provincial Police. The building was demolished during the summer of 2011 (see my July 17 2011 post for photos showing how the site looked before it was acquired by Menkes Developments Ltd.).

By late summer of 2013, work had started on the office tower’s bottom underground level, even though hundreds of truckloads of soil remained to be excavated from the easterly two-thirds of the block-long site.

But by the beginning of December 2013, the below-ground parking floors were steadily taking shape across the entire length of the property.

Now, within weeks, the One York Street office tower will start to climb above the hoarding, finally bringing the construction activity into clear view of passersby.


1 York Street

December 13 2012: A crew works on the western perimeter of the future One York Street office tower location. This is a view looking south across the building site from the southeast corner of Lake Shore Boulevard and York Street.



1 York Street

August 19 2013: A crew works on the bottom underground level of the One York Street office tower as excavation continues on the eastern two-thirds of the building site where the Harbour Plaza condo towers will ultimately rise



1 York Street

December 3 2013: Underground levels are quickly taking shape



 1 York Street

January 18 2014: Rebar for several support columns on the west side of the office tower building site extend almost to street level



Please turn to page 2 of this post to view additional construction photos and see more than a dozen artistic renderings of the One York Street office building and the two Harbour Plaza Residences condo towers.




First Gulf breaks ground for Globe & Mail Centre; 17-storey tower will bring jobs to SE downtown

Phillip Crawley, Bill Hatanaka, Brad Duguid, David Gerofsky, Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Pam McConnell

Globe and Mail Publisher Phillip Crawley, left, OpTrust President & CEO Bill Hatanaka, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges & Universities Brad Duguid, First Gulf Corporation CEO David Gerofsky, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Toronto City Councillor Pam McConnell wield shiny silver shovels at the recent groundbreaking ceremony for the new Globe and Mail Centre at King & Berkeley Streets.



Construction kick-off: For the past half-dozen years, Toronto’s southeast downtown has been teeming with a variety of low-, mid- and high-rise residential construction projects that have been steadily transforming the city’s Old Town, Corktown, Distillery District and West Don Lands areas. A new 500,000 square foot office tower that First Gulf Corporation has started building at King, Berkeley and Front Streets will boost the region’s revitalization even more, bringing up to 5,000 jobs to the bustling area.

First Gulf Corporation recently broke ground on its 17-storey Globe and Mail Centre, named after the building’s anchor tenant, The Globe and Mail newspaper, which will relocate from its current premises near Front Street and Spadina Avenue on the west side of downtown. Local politicians joined executives from The Globe and Mail, plus First Gulf and its development partner OPTrust, in an October 30 ground-breaking ceremony that officially kicked off construction of the Centre. Completion of the tower is anticipated for 2016.

Designed by Toronto’s Diamond Schmitt Architects, The Globe and Mail Centre will cut  a unique profile on the southeast downtown skyline thanks to the building’s distinctive design of stacked, alternate-sized floor plates and large outdoor terrace spaces. Ten-foot-tall windows will let natural light penetrate deep into the building interior, while presenting occupants with expansive views of Toronto’s waterfront, Financial District, and adjacent residential neighbourhoods.


Gobe and Mail Centre building rendering

This artistic illustration, by Diamond Schmitt Architects, shows how the Globe & Mail Centre will look when viewed from the southeast along Berkeley Street




Downtown skyline views from the Toronto Islands

The downtown Toronto skyline as seen from Ward's Island

A Ward’s Island view of the downtown Toronto skyline earlier this month


Pics and video: A lunchtime bikeride on the Toronto Islands earlier this month gave me a chance to check out how much the downtown skyline has changed in the one-year period since my last trip to the islands.

Although there are dozens and dozens of condo towers and several office highrises under construction in downtown Toronto, only a handful of projects have so far made a significant impact on the skyline views.

The southwest downtown core is now dominated by the two ÏCE Condominium towers which are still under construction on York Street, while the nearby Delta Hotel tower at Southcore Financial Centre on Bremner Boulevard also makes a big impact from some perspectives. 

Off to the west, the Library District Condominium tower is a noteworthy addition to the Concord CityPlace skyline; a year ago, only its construction crane was visible.

Over on the southeast side of the downtown core, The L Tower is the most eye-catching new building, with the water’s edge Residences of Pier 27 also commanding attention even though it’s only a midrise condominium project.  Much farther east, the Distillery District is easier to locate now that construction is drawing closer to completion on the Gooderham Tower.



Construction views from Roundhouse Park


Constantly changing scenery: The Rogers Centre, the CN Tower and the skyscrapers of the Financial District once dominated the north and east views from Roundhouse Park on Bremner Boulevard. But a slew of nearby construction projects is giving park visitors new views that change by the day. Above is a video I shot from the park yesterday, showing building activity at five major construction sites nearby: Infinity3, the final phase of the Infinity condo complex between Bremner and Lake Shore Boulevard; the two ICE Condos towers at York Centre on the east side of the Infinity buildings; the Delta Toronto hotel and Bremner office tower at Southcore Financial Centre; the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada approaching the end of construction at the foot of the CN Tower; and the Three Hundred Front Street West condo tower to the northwest.



South downtown skyscraper construction offers soaring backdrop for Toronto’s new aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada and tower construction projects  in Toronto's south downtown area

April 4 2013: Construction is proceeding on schedule for a summer opening of the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada (foreground), located on Bremner Boulevard at the foot of the CN Tower.  The new aquarium is one of eight different buildings seen at various stages of construction in this photo shot from the pedestrian walkway on the east side of the Rogers Centre. Rising behind the aquarium are, from left, The L Tower, the Delta Toronto Hotel and Bremner Tower office building at Southcore Financial Centre, the two cylindrical ÏCE Condos skyscrapers, and the two towers of the Infinity3 Condominiums. Click on the photo to view it in a larger format.



Winter building pics: March 2013

 My March 2013 album on Flickr features more than 500 photos showing dozens of downtown construction projects and building sites. Click once on the image above to view a small-format slideshow of the pictures, or click twice to access the actual album where you can view individual full-size photos with captions.



Frozen fingers: It’s only a few days into spring and I’m still sorting through hundreds of building and construction photos I took during the winter. What has struck me the most is how gloomy and grey the city looked most of the time. Sunny, clear days were few and far between — and when they came, it was usually too bitterly cold and windy for me to risk freezing my fingers by wandering around with my camera.

I did manage a few long photo walks, though, and have been gradually posting the pics in albums on’s Flickr photostream.  Above is a link to my fourth winter photo album, March 2013.




Winter building pics: February 2013

Above is a link to my February 2013 Flickr album of building and construction photos I shot during walks in the downtown area. Click once on the image to view a small-format slideshow of the pictures, or click twice to access the album directly on Flickr and see full-size photos and captions.


Winter building pics: January 2013

Above is a link to my January 2013 Flickr album of building and construction photos I shot during walks in the downtown area. Click once on the image to view a small-format slideshow of the pictures, or click twice to access the album directly on Flickr and see full-size photos and captions.


Winter building pics: December 2012

Above is a link to my December 2012 Flickr album of building and construction photos I shot during walks in the downtown area. Click once on the image to view a small-format slideshow of the pictures, or click twice to access the album and see full-size photos and captions.


ETFO office construction nears completion

ETFO office building

January 16 2013: Construction of the new ETFO office building at Huntley & Isabella Streets is in the final stages with completion anticipated for this coming March


ETFO office building

January 16 2013: A view of the 4-storey building from the east, along Isabella Street


End in sight: While the bitter contract dispute between the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the provincial government continues to drag on with seemingly no progress or end in sight, the same can’t be said about construction of the new ETFO’s new headquarters at Huntley & Isabella Streets. Building contractors have been making steady progress there, and the new offices are on target for completion this coming March, less than two years after construction commenced.

The ETFO is the largest teachers’ federation in Canada, representing more than 76,000 elementary school teachers and educational professionals across the province.  The organization has been operating from premises in an office building at 480 University Avenue near Dundas Street for years, but had outgrown those premises. ETFO acquired a site at the southeast corner of Huntley and Isabella Streets, in the 180-year-old Upper Jarvis neighbourhood, and hired Toronto’s Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB Architects) to design environmentally-senstive new headquarters that would fit nicely into the predominantly residential area.




Pit Stops: Photo roundup of below-ground and at-grade construction activity at 21 downtown condo, office & university building sites

Picasso on Richmond condos

As 2012 drew to a close, some noteworthy downtown building projects had reached different stages of at- and below-grade construction progress. At some sites, like this one for the Picasso on Richmond condo tower, preliminary foundation drilling work was in full swing …


Studio on Richmond condos

… while at others, like this one for the Studio on Richmond and Studio2 condo towers just two blocks east of Picasso, site excavation was ongoing.


The Yorkville condos

Over the same period of time, underground parking levels were taking shape at some building sites, like this one for The Yorkville condo project on Davenport Road …


X2 Condos

… while over on Charles Street East, construction had reached a milestone mark at X2 Condos, where building had started on the ground level of the tower


Fall photos: Until condo and office tower construction starts to climb above street level, it can be difficult to track how quickly work is progressing on the dozens of new buildings going up in Toronto’s downtown core. Ground-level views of building sites are often obscured by hoarding and security fences, plus concrete delivery trucks, dump trucks and other construction vehicles maneuvering into and out of staging areas adjacent to construction zones. I find it’s a big challenge to monitor ongoing progress at places where underground levels are taking shape, let alone keep an eye on sites where shovels are just breaking ground or preliminary work is being undertaken to prepare for full-scale construction. The vast number of projects scattered throughout the downtown core certainly doesn’t make the task any easier.



Proposals for four skyline-changing towers set for review at Tuesday meeting of TEYCC

York/Harbour Street office & condo towers

This illustration, from a city planning department report, compares the heights of four towers proposed for the York Street/Harbour Street area to the two ÏCE Condominium skyscrapers currently under construction nearby. Click on the image to view it in a larger format.


1 York Street office building

The proposed towers include a 37-storey office building …


Harbour Plaza condo sign

… and two condo skyscrapers rising 62 and 66 storeys …


1 York Street / 90 Harbour Street

… on this surface parking lot property at 1 York Street and 90 Harbour Street, viewed here from York Street looking east.


 Ten York condo tower

Just across the road on the west side of York Street, this surface parking lot is the location for developer Tridel’s proposed Ten York condo tower …


 Tridel Ten York Condominium

 … which would soar 65 storeys from its wedge-shaped site, as depicted in this artistic illustration provided courtesy of Tridel. The developer recently launched sales previews for the 735-foot, 725-suite skyscraper.


Decision day: Two development proposals that would dramatically change the look of the city skyline are up for review at the monthly meeting of Toronto and East York Community Council (TEYCC) on Tuesday. 

The proposals — the Ten York condo tower by Tridel, and the 1 York office tower and two  Harbour Plaza condo skyscrapers by Menkes — both have the blessing of City planners, who have recommended “approval in principle” of Official Plan and zoning bylaw amendments that would permit the projects to proceed, subject to the provision of adequate parking space.




Office & condo tower complex would revitalize under-used ‘island’ site at York & Harbour Streets

1 York/90 Harbour Street

City planners have suggested the City give an official thumbs-up to a massive multi-use development project Menkes Developments Ltd. has proposed for a 1-hectare site at 1 York Street/90 Harbour Street. Their report recommends approval of a 37-storey office building, one 62-storey condo tower, and one 66-storey condo skyscraper — a significant revision from the original plan described in the development proposal sign posted on the property.


1 York Street office & condo site

October 4 2012: Looking east from York Street. The development site extends to the property line near the historic 6-storey Toronto Harbour Commission building at 60 Harbour Street. The heritage building was constructed in 1917.


1 York Street / 90 Harbour Street

September 25 2012: CN Tower view of the 1 York/90 Harbour development site, presently a surface parking lot (near center of photo).  To its right is the construction site for the 30-storey RBC WaterPark Place office building. Visible in the bottom right corner of the photo are the two ÏCE Condo towers and the Infinity3 condo complex under construction between York and Lower Simcoe Streets. At left are the 50- and 54-storey condo towers of Maple Leaf Square. Click on the photo to view a larger-size image.


Island bridge: City planners are recommending approval in principle of a proposal to develop a piece of prime real estate on Harbour Street into an office and condo complex with three towers ranging in height from 37 to 66 storeys.

The planners’ September 21 2012 report to Toronto and East York Community Council (TEYCC) says redevelopment of the 1-hectare parcel at 1 York Street/90 Harbour Street — essentially an “island” of property between the Financial District and the Central Waterfront area — would “contribute to the City’s economic base, enhance the public realm of the Central Waterfront and help connect a key site in the downtown to its local context.”

The property already has been identified, in the City’s Official Plan as well as a Secondary Plan, as being “underused and in need of revitalization from its present use as parking lots and surrounded by highway ramps to something more vibrant and contributory to the community,” the planners observed in their 67-page report.