Category Archives: Bloor-Yonge neighbourhood

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.



Nicholas & FIVE condos making big visual impact on Yonge Street; 1 Bloor tower set to follow suit

north downtown Yonge Street

November 14 2013: Construction of FIVE Condos (left) and Nicholas Residences (center rear) is dramatically changing the landscape of north downtown Yonge Street. This is a view from the east side of Yonge just below Maitland Street, one block south of Wellesley Street.



Shifting landscape: Two condo tower construction projects are rapidly changing the look of Yonge Street’s west side, between College and Bloor Streets, while a third new building will soon make a dramatic impact on views up the east side of Yonge Street.

The steadily rising concrete frames for FIVE Condos and Nicholas Residences now dominate the views up Yonge from as far south as its intersection with Carlton and College Streets. Depending upon your particular vantage point along the 10-block stretch of what city planners call “north downtown Yonge,” FIVE and Nicholas already obscure or partially block from sight several skyscrapers in the Yorkville neighbourhood — including the 51-storey Manulife Centre tower, which has been a familiar landmark indicating the intersection of Bloor & Bay Streets since 1972.

But with a long way still to go before construction of FIVE and Nicholas is complete, it’s already obvious that both new buildings will exude an even more powerful presence on the landscape once they have attained their full height. As of this weekend, construction of Nicholas has reached the 27th level on the way to 35, with cladding and windows installed up to the 13th floor so far. Two blocks down the street, construction of FIVE Condos has climbed to the 16th storey — exactly one-third of its way to the building’s final 48 floors. Installation of that tower’s cladding has not yet begun.

Meanwhile, the One Bloor condo project is poised to begin an equally remarkable transformation of views up the east side of Yonge Street. Rising at the southeast corner of Yonge & Bloor Streets, One Bloor will ultimately top off at 75 floors, completely reshaping the Yorkville skyline and one of the country’s most famous crossroads in the process.


One Bloor condos

November 27 2013: Looking toward the One Bloor condo construction site from one block to the south, at the intersection of Yonge and Charles Streets.




One Bloor condo building progress finally in view

One Bloor condo construction is now visible above the sidewalk hoarding

August 17 2013: Work on the 75-storey One Bloor condo tower finally comes into view as podium construction climbs above the sidewalk scaffolding …



Buildings at the SE corner of Yonge & Bloor being demolished in August 2008

… five years after demolition machines razed the low-rise retail, restaurant and office buildings that had occupied the southeast corner of Yonge & Bloor



Show time: It has taken five years, but people passing through the bustling Yonge & Bloor intersection can once again see a building structure (albeit one still in the very early stages of construction) standing on the southeast corner.

Five years ago this month, the southeast corner of Yonge & Bloor was surrounded by scaffolding, above which passersby could see demolition machines razing the upper floors of several low-rise retail, restaurant and office buildings that had occupied the corner property for decades. They were clearing away the old structures — and the pedestrian-friendly Roy’s Square lane behind them — to make room for construction of a highly-hyped 80-storey condo, hotel & retail complex that developer Bazis International called 1 Bloor.

With a promised “iconic” design, 1 Bloor would become a striking new landmark for the Yonge & Bloor area, and claim bragging rights to the title of tallest residential building in Canada. Prospective purchasers lined up for days before the presentation centre opened and, once it did, units sold like hot cakes.

By mid-September of 2008 the old buildings on the 1 Bloor site were completely demolished, leaving nothing but a big empty lot for passersby to see through security fences set up around the property. Architecture and building buffs — not to mention all the people who had bought condos at 1 Bloor — anxiously awaited word that construction was about to start.


1 Bloor promotional billboard November 13 2007

November 13 2007: This billboard advertised the original 1 Bloor condo tower that developer Bazis International had planned for the site.




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.


Photo update: a peek at below-ground building progress at the One Bloor condo tower site

One Bloor Condos

February 17 2013: Construction of the bottom underground level of the One Bloor condo tower has made considerable progress … 


1 Bloor condo

 … since I last photographed the site, back on December 5 2012


 One Bloor Condos

February 17 2013: A peek between the construction cranes at the northwest corner of the site


One Bloor Condos

February 17 2013: Walls and support columns are gradually taking shape on the north side of the site at the base of one of the construction cranes



Construction crane installation underway at ChazYorkville condo tower site on Charles St E

ChazYorkville crane installation

February 12 2013: Already standing in place at the ChazYorkville condo construction site are the mast, operator’s cab, and machinery & counterweight arm of the tall white crane being installed today. The long boom that extends diagonally toward the upper right corner of the photograph …



ChazYorkville crane installation

… is part of this portable crane, parked on Charles Street. It hoists segments of the construction crane off flatbed delivery trucks …



ChazYorkville crane installation

… and maneuvers them into position so crews can assemble the jib (working arm) that will eventually be lifted and attached to the fixed-place crane. 


Chaz gets its crane: The block of Charles Street between Yonge and Church Streets is closed to traffic today as crews from Total Crane Rental install a tall white construction crane on the building site for the ChazYorkville condo tower.

The crane’s arrival appeared imminent in recent days as construction crews created a concrete pad for the crane’s base at the bottom of the 5-level-deep excavation for the 47-storey condo tower.



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.



Fall photo update: One Bloor condo construction

1 Bloor condo

December 5 2012: Two construction cranes soar above the One Bloor condo tower excavation at Yonge & Bloor. Click on the photo to view a larger-size image.


Digging nearly done:  Last time I reported about construction progress on the One Bloor condo tower, in my September 4 2012 post, crews still had a huge amount of earth to excavate from the building site. As winter approaches some excavation work remains, but the two white construction cranes soaring above the property are a sure sign that the pace of building activity is going to pick up significantly. And at the bottom of the big pit more than five levels below the southeast corner of the busy Yonge & Bloor intersection, the base of the elevator core for the 75-storey skyscraper has started taking shape.



Development proposal sign posted at 625 Yonge

625 Yonge Street

November 21 2012 : Development proposal signs, like this one on Isabella Street, were posted this week outside the latest condo project site on Yonge Street


Sign posted: In my October 11 2012 post, I reported that a developer had filed an application with the City for authorization to build a 40-storey condo tower at the southeast corner of Yonge and Isabella Streets. At that time, however, few details had been available about which municipal addresses were part of the property for which redevelopment approval is being sought. This week, the City finally posted development proposal signs that offer that information.

According to the signs, YI Developments Ltd. wants to build the tower on property presently occupied by two separate buildings. The larger of the two is the 3-storey corner building that houses  Yonge Street Fitness Club as well as street-level retail and restaurant space at the municipal addresses of 625-637 Yonge and 1-7 Isabella. The second is a 2-storey structure at 9 Isabella Street which is home to a Rabba Fine Foods outlet on street level and other commercial businesses on the second floor. The development site does not include a two-storey retail and commercial building at 619-623 Yonge as some area residents had initially believed.

The application is still in the early stages of the city planning and approval process. One of the next steps will be a community consultation meeting at which full details about the development proposal will be presented to neighbourhood residents and other area stakeholders to obtain their comments and concerns. However, that meeting is unlikely to be arranged before February. Normal city procedure is for city planners to present a preliminary report to Toronto and East York Community Council (TEYCC), asking it to order that a community consultation be held. Since the next TEYCC meeting isn’t scheduled until January 22 (the council doesn’t meet during December), it appears a public feedback session is at least two and a half to three months away.

See my October 11 report for photos of the development site and its surrounding area.


Wrecking crews clearing sites for Casa 2, King+ and King Charlotte condo tower construction

42 Charles Street East

October 25 2012: Demolition crews are busy dismantling the 9-storey building at 42 Charles Street East that formerly housed offices for the Toronto YMCA…


39 Hayden Street

… as well as this 3-storey brick law office building right behind it, at 39 Hayden Street, to clear the site for the 56-storey Casa 2 Condominium tower


King Charlotte condo site

October 20 2012: Piles of rubble and metal are all that remain of the 3-storey warehouse building that once stood at 11 Charlotte Street …


11 Charlotte Street

… seen here on March 29 2011. It has been demolished to make way for the 32-storey King Charlotte condo tower. Click on the photo to view a larger image.


King+ Condos site

October 4 2012: Low-rise buildings that once stood at 37 Sherbourne Street have been razed to make room for the 17-storey King+ Condos


King+ Condos site

… which will incorporate into the new tower part of the facade of the historic National Hotel building at 251 King East, constructed in 1868



Getting wrecked: Demolition and other site preparation work is clearing the way for construction to commence on three condo tower projects in three different downtown neighbourhoods.

Two office buildings are being knocked down and ripped apart near Yonge & Bloor to make room for the 56-storey Casa 2 Condominium that will take their place. The 9-storey brick building at 42 Charles Street East formerly housed offices of the Toronto YMCA, while the 3-storey brick building to its north, at 39 Hayden Street, had previously been home to a law firm. (For more information on the Casa 2 project, see my September 17 2012 post.)



40-storey condo proposed for Yonge & Isabella

625 Yonge Street

A development application has been filed with the City for this 625 Yonge Street property at the southeast corner of Yonge & Isabella Streets. The proposal calls for a 40-storey residential tower with retail shops and offices to take its place.


625 Yonge Street

October 10 2012: The 625 Yonge building, viewed from the southwest


looking north on Yonge Street from Irwin Street

October 10 2012: Looking north on Yonge from Irwin Street. The 625 Yonge development site (white building with the yellow and black YSFC banners) has the cachet of being situated only three blocks south of the prime Yonge & Bloor intersection.


Condos on the corner: News that a rezoning application had been filed with the city for a commercial property on the corner of Yonge and Isabella Streets left the nearby neighbourhood rife with rumours and speculation yesterday about what is in store for the site. Not surprisingly, most people expected an announcement would be forthcoming that a condo  tower project is being proposed.

Word spread quickly that an entry for 625 Yonge Street had been added to the development projects page in the planning department section of the City of Toronto website. For most of the day, the website entry listed only the municipal address for the development application, its file number, and contact details for the city planner responsible for the file. It did not provide any specifics about how big or how tall the development would be, or whether it would be condos, offices, retail or a mix of all three. The absence of further information led to considerable conjecture about the owner’s plans for the property. (When I checked the entry late yesterday afternoon, it still lacked details; this morning, someone called my attention to additional information that finally had been added sometime during the evening.)