I snapped this picture of the Toronto Trump Tower as the moon crept across the southern sky yesterday evening at 8 p.m. Click the photo to view it full size.
August 22 2012: The city’s newest 5-star hotel, the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto, looms to the northwest of the Fairmont Royal York, the grande dame of Toronto luxury hotels
Star attraction: The cachet of red carpets and Hollywood celebrities is giving a big pre-opening advertising boost to the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto as the city’s newest 5-star hotel & condo tower nears the end of construction.
It’s not officially open to the travelling public yet, but the Shangri-La is buzzing with energy and excitement as construction crews hurry to put finishing touches on the 202-room hotel at the same time as hordes of movie industry VIPs schmooze and conduct business in the building during the Toronto International Film Festival, which opened Thursday.
When I walked past the hotel yesterday morning, construction crews were scurrying on three sides of the building, especially around the western entrance off Simcoe Street where there was an almost chaotic array of activity underway. Construction tradesworkers weren’t the only people rushing in and out of the hotel; Simcoe and nearby Nelson Street were clogged with traffic as delivery trucks rushed everything from skids of building supplies to carts full of fresh fruit and vegetables into the Shangri-La. Contractors, cleaners and photographers were also streaming in and out of the Soho House Toronto, the private club for creative professionals which will occupy the restored Bishop’s Block heritage building on the southwest corner of the Shangri-La property.
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Exterior work on the new Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, seen here July 29 2012, is currently focussing on the base of the soaring 55-storey condo and hotel tower, as well as on the streetscape at the northwest corner of Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue.
August 6 2012: In the courtyard on the east side of the Four Seasons tower, a driveway of elaborately patterned paving stones is being installed in front of the porte cochère …
… while work is underway on the other half of the courtyard, where an urban garden will grace the street level in front of the 26-storey Four Seasons condo tower
Meanwhile, just one block to the north, work is nearly finished on the podium of The Florian condo tower on Davenport Road at the top of Bay Street, seen July 29 2012
Marble, glass and masonry accent provide strong angular accents to the long facade of The Florian’s podium, which gently follows the curve of Davenport Road
Exterior finishing touches, including glass panel installation on podium-level balconies, were underway during the August holiday weekend …
… while the revolving lobby entrance door and sheltered front driveway beneath the sharply pointed prow of the podium were in full view to passersby
Finishing touches: During the past three years, public attention on The Florian and the new Four Seasons Toronto condo towers in Yorkville has generally been focussed upward, as construction of the three highrise buildings climbed steadily higher. Now that wooden construction hoarding has been removed from the sidewalks outside both buildings, passersby are finally able to take a good look at architectural details closer to earth, including the exterior of the podiums and the streetscaping and landscaping elements of each project.
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This sign had been draped above the Adelaide Street entrance to the Trump Toronto Hotel for the past several weeks, but has been rolled up and taken away …
… as crews hurry to finish work before the hotel’s opening this Tuesday
Final stretch: Construction crews were busy both inside the main floor of the Trump International Hotel + Tower Toronto as well as outside the building when I passed by this afternoon. There was a palpable sense of both urgency and excitement as the workers raced against the clock to finish the city’s newest 5-star hotel in time for its opening this Tuesday.
The hotel boasts 261 luxuriously-appointed guest rooms, a 2-level Quartz Crystal Spa and wellness centre, a lobby lounge called Suits, and Stock, a 135-seat restaurant on the 31st floor.
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September 29 2011: The spire on the Trump Tower Toronto soars skyward between neighbours Scotia Plaza, left, and First Canadian Place, right
September 28 2011: With its spire, the Trump Toronto is supposed to stand 276.9 meters — that’s 2 meters taller than next-door neighbour Scotia Plaza, left
September 28 2011: First Canadian Place, right, retains its crown as Toronto’s tallest building at 298 meters (not including its antennae).
Soaring spire: Construction of the Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto is drawing closer to completion — a point punctuated this week when work crews added the top section of the skyscraper’s signature spire and began disassembling the rooftop construction crane.
Soaring skyward between Scotia Plaza and First Canadian Place, the spire cements Trump Toronto’s status as a new architectural landmark on the Financial District skyline. According to the Toronto Skyscraper Diagram on skyscraperpage.com, the spire gives Trump Toronto a total height of 276.9 meters. Technically speaking, that means Trump Toronto takes honours as the city’s second-tallest tower, after 298-meter First Canadian Place. However, the slender spire rises only 2 meters higher than Scotia Plaza next door which will nevertheless continue to look like it’s still the second-tallest skyscraper.
With cladding remaining to be installed on only the three top floors, the building appears to be on schedule for the 261-room Trump Toronto Hotel to open its doors in January. (The hotel is currently accepting reservations through its website from January 10 2012 onwards).
Below are photos showing recent construction progress on the tower’s top floors and spire.
August 30 2011: An HtO Park view of Trump Tower Toronto rising behind First Canadian Place, left and the towers of the TD Centre
August 30 2011: Toronto Islands view of Trump Tower Toronto rising on the Financial District skyline
September 3 2011: Trump Tower Toronto viewed from Adelaide Street West near University Avenue
September 3 2011: Spire construction viewed from the west on Adelaide Street
September 3 2011: Spire construction viewed from the west on Adelaide Street
September 3 2011: The “quarter onion”-shaped base for the spire
September 3 2011: Trump Tower Toronto and Scotia Plaza, right, seen from the intersection of King & Bay Streets
September 3 2011: Upper floor construction on the south side of the tower
September 3 2011: Trump Tower Toronto viewed from King & Bay Streets
September 3 2011: The spire rises from the tower’s northwest corner
September 3 2011: Looking up at the construction form for the spire, left
September 11 2011: Trump Toronto’s ascent on the downtown skyline as seen from Tommy Thompson Park (aka Leslie Street Spit)
September 12 2011: Sunset view of Trump Toronto spire construction
September 13 2011: Riverdale Park view of the Trump Toronto rising on the Financial District skyline
September 13 2011: Trump Tower Toronto rises among the office towers
September 28 2011: Spire base viewed from the northeast
September 28 2011: Only three more floors await cladding installation
September 28 2011: The yellow crane is disassembling the main crane that soared above the Trump Toronto throughout its construction
September 28 2011: Another northeast view of Trump Tower Toronto spire
August 30 2011: Trump Tower Toronto construction progress
Top of the Trump: The frame for the Trump International Hotel + Tower Toronto‘s signature spire is fast taking shape atop the building’s northwest corner. The structure’s distinctive “quarter onion” design has been taking form over the past week and is visible throughout the downtown area. Below is an artistic rendering from the Trump Toronto website, showing how the top of the tower will appear when complete, followed by several photos I shot from my balcony showing construction progress during the past nine days.
From the Trump International Hotel + Tower Toronto website, this artistic rendering depicts the distinctive quarter-onion shaped rooftop structure that will be topped by a slender sky-piercing spire
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August 6 2011: The two Four Seasons Hotel + Private Residences Toronto towers viewed from the northeast on Church Street near Yonge Street
Looking sharp: Glass cladding installation is nearly finished as construction of the Four Seasons Hotel + Private Residences Toronto moves closer to completion.
Designed by Toronto’s architectsAlliance, the five-star hotel/condo project features two sleek and slender glass towers — one 26 storeys, the other 55 floors — that soar above Yorkville from the northeast corner of Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue.
The west tower firmly established itself as a new Yorkville landmark several months ago when it became the tallest building in the upscale shopping and residential neighbourhood. It will boast a lavish 253-suite Four Seasons Hotel in its shiny glass base, with posh condominiums rising from floor 24 to the 55th-floor penthouse, which recently sold for a record $28 million. The website shows six available floorplans, ranging in size from a spacious 1,956-square-foot 2-bedroom suite to a palatial 3,914-square-foot two-bedroom estate with two 12 x 12-foot terraces. Floorplans for the East Residence range from a 1,100-square foot 1-bedroom suite to an 1,815-square-foot 2-bedroom home. The towers’ 204 condos were designed by Gluckstein Design Planning.
The east tower will be connected to the west by an elevated bridge, giving its privileged residents easy access to the hotel amenities. “They will enjoy a pampered lifestyle, with all the luxurious amenities of the hotel at their doorstep, including 24-hour concierge, doorman and valet parking,” the project website promises.
The hotel’s main entrance on Bay Street will open into a Grand Lobby extending the full width of the building (from Scollard Street south to Yorkville Avenue). The hotel will have a lobby bar, a second-floor restaurant, ballroom and banquet facilities, and a luxurious 28,000-square-foot spa with a fitness club, indoor lap pool, whirlpools and an outdoor terrace. The lobby and amenities areas were designed by Yabu Pushelberg, while a central landscaped courtyard park fronting onto Yorkville Avenue was designed by Claude Cormier.
The Four Seasons Hotel + Private Residences Toronto is a joint venture project of Menkes Developments Ltd. and Lifetime Developments.
Below is a series of photos I’ve shot of the Four Seasons complex over the course of the summer.
May 5 2011: Construction of the 55-storey Four Seasons Hotel + Private Residences west tower viewed from Church Street near Park Road
May 6 2011: Balmuto Street view of the Four Seasons towers rising above Yorkville
May 6 2011: West tower viewed from Bloor Street near Yonge Street
June 22 2011: Fog surrounds the 55th floor $28 million penthouse
July 13 2011: Four Seasons viewed from the SW corner of Bay & Yorkville
July 13 2011: The west tower’s ground floor and lower levels seen from the northeast corner of Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue
July 13 2011: The hotel spa, ballroom and banquet facilities are housed in this 8-storey wing at the corner of Bay and Scollard Streets
July 13 2011: Bay Street view of the hotel section of the west tower
July 13 2011: Clouds reflect in the exterior of the hotel amenities wing
July 13 2011: Ground-level view of the amenities wing at Bay & Scollard Streets
July 13 2011: Looking up from the NW corner of Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue
July 13 2011: Cladding has been installed, but the balconies haven’t yet been completed on the East Residence tower
July 13 2011: Looking up the northwest corner of the west tower
July 13 2011: The sleek glass midsection of the 55-storey west tower
July 13 2011: Four Seasons towers viewed from the northwest on Davenport Road
July 24 2011: Roof fin installation underway on the west tower
July 24 2011: Balconies and construction elevator on the hotel tower’s SE corner
July 24 2011: Crane and upper six floors of the East Residence tower
July 24 2011: The soaring west tower viewed from Bloor Street near Yonge Street
July 24 2011: West tower viewed from the University of Toronto campus
July 24 2011: Hotel tower penthouse floors viewed from the southwest
August 6 2011: Yorkville Avenue view of the two towers
August 6 2011: Looking up the south side of the East Residence tower
August 6 2011: A pedestrian bridge links the East Residence tower to the amenities wing of the hotel building
August 6 2011: Reflections on windows of the East Residence tower
August 6 2011: The base of the East Residence tower
August 6 2011: This area will become a showpiece courtyard garden + hotel/condo entrance driveway designed by Claude Cormier
August 6 2011: The hotel tower base at Yorkville Avenue & Bay Street
August 6 2011: The hotel tower base awaits its exterior cladding
August 6 201: Yorkville Avenue view of what will become the driveway entrance to both the hotel and condo towers
August 6 2011: The condo floors rise from the slightly broader hotel base
August 6 2011: The Four Seasons west tower looks short from this angle, but actually rises high above the office towers at Yonge & Bloor Streets
August 6 2011: Four Seasons complex viewed from Yonge Street
August 1 2011: The Trump Toronto Tower viewed from Adelaide Street West near the Living Shangri-La Toronto (left), another new skyscraper I will profile in an upcoming installment of “Checking in on the 5-star hotel/condo towers”
August 1 2011: The north side of Trump Toronto, looking up from Adelaide Street
August 1 2011: The tower’s west side, viewed from Bay Street
Putting up the penthouse: Shouldn’t be too much longer before construction tops off on the Trump International Hotel + Tower Toronto.
From my balcony, I’ve been able to watch the penthouse levels of the 60-storey tower gradually take shape during the past two weeks, climbing into view above the top of the Bay Adelaide Centre. I expect completion of the mechanical floors above them to follow soon. And once its signature “quarter onion”-shaped turret has been built to cap the tower’s northwest corner, and in turn is topped with a spire, the Trump Tower Toronto will become the city’s second-tallest building, after First Canadian Place.
Designed by Toronto’s Zeidler Partnership Architects, the Trump Toronto will rise more than 900 feet on its compact site at the southeast corner of Bay and Adelaide Streets. According to the project website, the building will include 261 luxury hotel rooms on its lower levels in studio, 1- and 2-bedroom configurations, along with five Trump Executive suites. There also will be 118 condominium suites from floors 33 to 60, accessed via a Sky Lobby with concierge on the 31st floor. Condo residents will enjoy “full access” to the hotel’s amenities, including room service, housekeeping, concierge and valet. A five-star restaurant will occupy the 30th floor, while there will be an entire floor of executive meetings rooms in a “high-tech business centre.” A full-service spa with gym, exercise studios and swimming pool will occupy two levels of the building. The ground floor will feature a “sophisticated” lobby bar, while floors 2 through 7 will contain a valet-operated parking garage.
The Trump Hotel Collection website is currently accepting online reservations for Trump Toronto beginning November 1 of this year. Today, the site’s reservation system showed seven suites available for the night of Nov. 1; the lowest available price was $485 (plus tax) for either a superior king or superior double room, each 550 square feet in size. A 1,000-square-foot grand deluxe 1-bedroom suite with panoramic views was available for $885 (plus tax), while a 1,650-square-foot grand deluxe two-bedroom suite with city views and a kitchen was going for $1,785 (plus tax).
Below is a series of Trump Toronto photos I shot during the summer.
June 6 2011: The Trump Toronto crane stands prominently on the skyline
June 20 2011: Looking up at Scotia Plaza, the Trump Toronto, and Bay Adelaide Centre (right) from the sidewalk on Adelaide Street West
June 20 2011: Trump Toronto viewed from the University/ Adelaide intersection
June 26 2011: Trump Toronto’s ascent to the upper echelons of the Financial District is seen from Broadview Avenue above Riverdale Park
June 26 2011: Another Broadview Avenue view of the Trump Toronto and other Financial District skyscrapers
June 26 2011: A Broadview Avenue view of, from left, Commerce Court, CN Tower, TD Centre’s TD Bank Tower, Scotia Plaza, First Canadian Place, Trump Toronto and the Bay Adelaide Centre
June 29 2011: My balcony view of Trump Toronto rising on the skyline
July 1 2011: Trump Toronto viewed from Shuter Street to the northeast
July 1 2011: Trump Toronto begins climbing above the 51-storey Bay Adelaide Centre (right), but won’t stand as tall as 72-storey First Canadian Place (rear)
July 1 2011: Trump Toronto viewed from the TD Centre Plaza off King Street
July 3 2011: Trump Toronto joins the ranks of the tall bank towers in this city skyline view from the Humber Bay area
July 3 2011: Another view of Trump Toronto making its mark on the skyline
July 8 2011: Trump Toronto viewed from Nathan Phillips Square
July 13 2011: Spotlights on the Trump Toronto construction crane at sunset
July 20 2011: Trump Toronto viewed from the SW corner of King & Bay Streets
July 20 2011: Southwest view of the Trump Toronto from King Street West
July 20 2011: Southwest view of the tower’s upper floors. At this point, the Trump Toronto has reached 57 storeys
July 20 2011: Southwest view of the tower’s middle section
July 20 2011: A closer look at forms midway up the tower’s south side
July 20 2011: The external construction elevator rises up the green glass curtain wall on the building’s south side
July 20 2011: A closer look at the exterior construction elevator
July 20 2011: Windows near the tower’s southeast corner
July 20 2011: The construction entrance to the 54th floor. The exterior elevator climbs a total of 55 floors
July 20 2011: The tower’s northwest upper floors reach 57 storeys here
July 20 2011: Upper floors await their curtain wall installation
July 20 2011: Windows on the tower’s southwest corner
July 20 2011: Trump Toronto viewed from the west on Adelaide Street
July 20 2011: Upper floors on the tower’s west side
July 20 2011: Missing window panes and panels on the tower’s west wall
July 24 2011: Trump Toronto viewed from Bloor Street near Varsity Stadium
August 1 2011: Bay Adelaide Centre and Trump Toronto viewed from the west
August 1 2011: Trump Toronto and Scotia Plaza viewed from the west
August 1 2011: Trump Toronto reflects in the Bay Adelaide Centre)
August 1 2011: Windows on the lower levels of the tower’s north wall. A valet-operated parking garage occupies floors 2 through 7.
August 1 2011: Window and cladding details on the lower levels
August 1 2011: The tower’s northeast corner awaits some missing panels
August 1 2011: The Adelaide Street entrance to the tower’s porte-cochère
August 1 2011: Adelaide Street view into the porte-cochère, which features a curved public art mural made of glass, stone and ceramics
August 1 2011: An Adelaide Street view of upper floors on the tower’s north side
August 1 201: Bay Street view of the Bay Adelaide Centre and the Trump Toronto
August 1 2011: Lower floors on the west side of the tower, viewed from Bay Street
August 1 2011: Looking up from Bay Street at the tower’s west side
August 1 2011: Progress on the penthouse levels viewed from the west
August 1 2011: Green glass curtain wall on the tower’s west side
August 1 2011: West view of Trump Toronto and Scotia Plaza
Rooms at the Ritz: Toronto’s newest five-star hotel, the Ritz-Carlton, opened to guests last month. The hotel boasts 267 luxurious rooms on the bottom 20 floors of the 53-storey skyscraper. The tower’s upper floors, seen above, are private condo suites still under construction. Below is a closer view of the southwest corner condo suite with canary-yellow walls.
Towers rising: This view of Toronto’s Financial District — seen yesterday from the intersection of Adelaide Street West and Widmer Street — will change considerably in the next few months as the Living Shangri-La Toronto hotel and condo tower and Trump International Hotel + Tower Toronto climb taller.
This particular block of Adelaide will look drastically different in a couple of years, too. The 43-storey Cinema Tower condo is under construction behind the red hoarding at right; another 43-storey condo, the Pinnacle on Adelaide, will be going up beside it, where the white billboard stands.
Meanwhile, a developer is seeking city approval to build a 37-storey condo and office tower where the building with the yellow awnings is situated at left. That’s currently the location of the Entertainment District’s ever-popular Alice Fazooli’s Italian Grill. Mamma Mia! Where’s poor Alice going to go?
Just one of several hot pink signs atop the Living Shangri-La Toronto tower
Think pink: You can’t miss the Living Shangri-La Toronto construction at 180 University Avenue (at Adelaide Street West), even though the hotel & condo tower is only 20 storeys high so far. In-your-face fluorescent pink signs on several upper floors stand out for blocks, and will become even more widely visible across the downtown core as the tower climbs taller towards its 65-storey eventual height.
The building site is tickled pink at street level, too, but most of those signs get attention with a warmer, almost coral, shade that isn’t as bold, brash and loud as the signage higher up.
Hot pink is a colour I normally associate with tacky snowsuits and swimwear for five-year-old girls, not luxurious five-star hotels and condos. But since the high-end hotel and condo scene in Toronto is starting to get a little crowded, getting people to think pink is probably a great way to get noticed.
The Shangri-la Toronto is one of four glitzy and glamorous new five-star hotel/condo towers changing the city skyline this year.
Over on Wellington Street West, the Ritz-Carlton Toronto will be opening its doors to guests this month. Up in Yorkville, construction is moving right along for the two shiny glass towers of the Four Seasons Toronto Hotel & Residences. And just two blocks east of the Shangri-la, also on Adelaide, the Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto is three-quarters of the way to claiming its place as the second-tallest skyscraper in the city.
But the Shangri-la won’t need the pink signs to get attention once more of its striking blue windows are put in place. Glass has enclosed just part of seven lower floors so far, but already the windows are creating some eye-catching colours, textures and reflections. That’s especially the case on the University Avenue side of the tower, where just several panes of creased glass suggest how stunning the tower’s tall and sharply angled east and west glass walls will appear when finished.
A project of Westbank and Peterson Group, the building will feature a 220-room Shangri-la hotel and spa on the first 17 floors. There will be 279 condo residences on floors 18 to 48, and 73 “private estates” on floors 49 to 65. The project was designed by Vancouver’s James Km Cheng Architects with Toronto’s Young + Wright Architects.
Below is a rendering of the tower, along with photos I’ve taken at the project site between September 2008 and last week. To view more pics, check out the Living Shangri-la album on the Photos Sets page of the blog.
Artistic depiction of Shangri-La Toronto’s presence on University Avenue
Marketing billboard at Living Shangri-la Toronto excavation site on Sept 26 2008
A passerby watches the excavation activity from Adelaide Street
Site excavation progress on March 5 2009
Ritz-Carlton Toronto has a head start on construction at its location below the CN Tower, just a few blocks southwest of the Living Shangri-la Toronto site
Freezing rain delays installation of the Living Shangri-la Toronto construction crane on March 29 2009; the crane went up several days later
Construction crane awaits installation on a cold, rainy March 29 2009
Two construction cranes work the site on March 8 2010
Site’s southeast corner seen on March 8 2010
Construction progress viewed from Simcoe Street October 20 2010
Construction viewed from University Avenue on November 15 2010
Distinctive angular design element on the tower’s southeast corner
Southeast corner seen from Adelaide Street on November 15 2010
Simcoe Street view of construction progress on November 15 2010
West side of Living Shangri-la viewed from Neilson Street on November 15 2010
Hotel sign on hoarding along University Avenue’s west sidewalk
Tower viewed from University Ave. near Queen Street on Nov. 29 2010
Window installation on tower’s south side January 3 2011
Windows on tower’s south side January 3 2011
Tower viewed from Simcoe Street on January 3 2011
Tower viewed from Adelaide Street West on January 3 2011
Tower viewed from Metro Hall park on King Street January 3 2011
Blue glass, pink signs catch attention on University Avenue
Windows installed on lower floors above University Avenue
Signature design “crease” in windows above University Avenue
Looking up the tower from east side of University Avenue
Angled windows on east side of tower
Signature “creased” windows on east side of tower
Reflections in “creased” windows on east side of tower
Simcoe Street view of windows on west side of tower February 3 2011
West side of tower viewed from Simcoe Street February 3 2011
Pedestrians under construction hoarding on west side of University Avenue
Trump Toronto seen from Adelaide Street West on February 3
46 floors and counting: The Donald’s first construction foray into Canada is three-quarters of its way up.
On Thursday I counted 46 floors on the Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto, the luxury condo + hotel skyscraper that will ultimately soar 60 storeys above the corner of Bay and Adelaide Streets. With construction crews pouring a new floor about every six days, the granite- and glass-clad tower should top off sometime around mid- to late March.
I’m loving the Trump already — especially its distinctive green glass walls, which will add a refreshing new colour to a skyline that has been basically black, white and bronze for more than two decades. I think the building works well at ground level, too, where it looks right at home in the middle of the Financial District’s canyon of towers old and new. It almost feels like it’s always been there; I can’t even remember what stood on the site before.
Designed by a Zeidler Partnership Architects team led by Lydon Delaney, the Trump will house 261 hotel rooms on the tower’s lower levels, and 118 luxury condominiums from floors 33 to 60. With hotel rooms ranging from 550 to over 2,000 square feet, the Trump will offer the largest accommodations in Toronto, the project’s website brags. And just as you’d expect for a building bearing business mogul Donald Trump’s imprimatur, it will be “the most luxurious residential building in Canada.”
The superlatives don’t end there, of course. The Trump won’t be just an instant new landmark on the city skyline, the website gushes, it will be “an elegant new beacon for luxurious sophistication” (whatever the heck that means). “Accentuated by an articulated spire at its peak that commands attention from any angle, the Tower pays homage to classic Manhattan skyscrapers yet embraces the modern cosmopolitan flair that is distinctly Toronto.”
Aw, shucks. Is that The Donald’s kind way of saying Toronto has finally come of age and matured into a world class city? Below are two building renderings from the Trump Toronto’s website, along with some photos I snapped of the tower on Thursday afternoon.
Rendering shows Trump standing tall with Scotia Plaza and First Canadian Place
Website rendering of Trump Toronto’s lower levels above Bay & Adelaide Streets
Trump rising behind Commerce Court West (57 floors; built 1972)
Trump Toronto rising behind the Bank of Nova Scotia tower (27 floors; built 1951)
Trump Toronto seen from Bay Street just above King Street
Trump Toronto climbs skyward beside Scotia Plaza (68 floors; built 1988)
Looking up to the top (so far) of the Trump Tower from Bay Street
Trump Toronto is clad in granite and glass
Green glass windows and cladding on the tower’s southwest corner
Construction workers on a platform high above Bay Street
Granite exterior on the lower southwest corner of the tower
One of the construction workers’ elevators stops at the 28th floor
Platforms extend from nearly a dozen different floors on the south side
Two angled platforms on the exterior of the tower’s south side
Construction workers on a swing stage two storeys above Bay Street
Classic granite facade fits right in on the Bay Street corridor
Bay Street view of Trump Tower behind Commerce Court West
Trump Tower cozies up to its next-door neighbour, Scotia Plaza
A condo/hotel project is planned for the Ridpaths location on Yonge St.
Two towers: Toronto’s in the midst of a hotel building boom. As I mentioned in a recent post, the brand-spanking-new five-star Ritz-Carlton is scheduled to open next month, while three more high-end hotel/condo skyscrapers — the Four Seasons in Yorkville, the Living Shangri-La on University Avenue at Adelaide Street, and the Trump International Hotel and Tower at Bay and Adelaide Streets — are under construction and changing the city skyline already. The newest Le Germain boutique hotel opened at Maple Leaf Square a few months back, while a handful of other hotel properties (smaller and less expensive than the five-stars) are in the works for several downtown locations.
Now, another hotel/condo complex is being proposed for Yorkville near the new Four Seasons, on the site of the venerable Ridpaths furniture store on Yonge Street across from Canadian Tire. A developer wants City approval to build a 35-storey hotel/condo tower that would “partially” retain the existing Ridpath’s building on Yonge Street. A second tower — a condo building with 28 storeys — would be constructed on what is now a customer parking lot behind Ridpaths, accessed from McMurrich Street.
The complex would have 206 residential units; however, the application (as described on the City’s development applications website) does not indicate how many hotel rooms are planned.
In a November 2010 update on its website, The Greater Yorkville Residents’ Association (GYRA) said it plans to meet with Ward 27 councillor Krystyn Wong-Tam “to suggest a working group be formed for residents and other members of the Bloor-Yorkville Community to be actively engaged throughout the application approval process.”
I’m curious to know if the developer plans to keep only the Tudor-style Ridpaths facade, or part of the actual store. If Ridpaths could somehow remain in operation on the premises (unlikely, I know), condo purchasers would get to enjoy furniture shopping only an elevator ride from their apartments. Imagine the decadent convenience of not needing to bundle up in warm winter coats and boots when you want to go browsing for a new bedroom set or coffee table in the middle of February!
Below is a pic of the zoning application sign outside Ridpath’s, and a shot from McMurrich Street of the parking lot where a condo tower would rise.
Four Seasons towers rising above the Yorkville Ave. fire station and library
Rapid rise: Even though it’s still under construction, the Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences Toronto has already become a new landmark for the Yorkville neighbourhood. You can’t miss it as you approach the Yonge Street Canadian Tire store from Church Street. It’s obvious from the Annex and from many places along Avenue Road, Bay and Yonge Streets. You can even see it from the south side of Bloor across from Holt Renfrew. That’s no small achievement considering that views toward Yorkville are blocked by some of the area’s oldest skyscrapers (the Manulife Centre and the two bank towers at Yonge & Bloor) as well as several new towers (18 Yorkville, Crystal Blu and Uptown Residences, to name but three). It certainly will make it easy to help guide tourists to Yorkville (I won’t have to point at the CIBC tower at 2 Bloor West anymore and say “go there; Yorkville’s right behind it;” I’ll be able to point out the Four Seasons instead. Designed by hotshot Toronto firm architectsAlliance, the two-tower complex is a project of Menkes Developments. Below is an architectural rendering of the property, along with some pics I recently took of the Four Seasons complex from several different perspectives in and around Yorkville. You can view even more photos of construction progress on the blog’s Photo Sets page (just click on the red tab at the top of this page and scroll down to the Four Seasons album).
Architects’ rendering of the new Four Seasons Toronto hotel + condo complex
Four Seasons Toronto seen from Scollard Street January 9
Four Seasons Toronto seen from Church near Yonge on January 9
Four Seasons Toronto from Avenue Rd at Yorkville Avenue on January 9
Four Seasons Toronto seen from Bloor Street opposite Holts on January 9
Four Seasons Toronto seen from Scollard Street on January 9
Four Seasons Toronto seen from Bay Street at Davenport Road on January 9
CN Tower reflects on Ritz-Carlton Toronto tower on November 29 2010
Lifestyles of the Ritz and famous: The soaring glass and limestone skyscraper with its distinctively sloped upper floors has already taken its elegant place on the city skyline. Now, with guests scheduled to begin arriving within just a few weeks, the Ritz-Carlton Toronto is set to make a spectacular splash on the city’s five-star hotel scene, too. Standing 53 storeys, the Ritz-Carlton is the first of four new high-end hotel/condo towers that should finally put Toronto on the radar of affluent travellers around the globe during the next two years. (The others, currently under construction, include the Trump International Toronto, the Four Seasons Toronto Hotel + Residences, and Living Shangri-La Toronto.)
Seems it wasn’t so long ago that members of the International Olympic Committee, when considering Toronto’s ultimately unsuccessful bids to host the 1996 and 2008 Summer Olympics, complained that the city was sorely lacking in upscale accommodations. Moreover, Toronto hotels have rarely appeared on any of the annual lists that top international travel publications compile of the world’s best hotels. In November, for instance, Toronto failed to get a single hotel on the Conde Nast Traveler “Best in the World 2010” list, and didn’t even make it onto the magazine’s “Top 20 Resorts in Canada” ranking. Toronto hotels similarly didn’t make the upper cut for Conde Nast’s “Gold List” of the world’s best hotels and resorts, released in January. And just this week, Toronto Star Travel Editor Jim Byers blogged that only one hotel in all of Canada made it onto the American Automobile Association’s list of five-diamond hotels in North America for 2011 — and it wasn’t in Toronto, of course (it was the Four Seasons at Whistler, B.C.).
But if the attentive staff at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto make an impression, the constant snubbing of Toronto’s hotels should come to an end. The hotel website says the Ritz-Carlton Toronto will open in February, offering “a world-class spa, exceptional dining, impeccable service and 267 luxurious guest rooms and suites.” I couldn’t find room availability for any February dates when I used the hotel website’s online booking form, but I did manage to find rooms starting as low as $455 per night in early March. (I didn’t book, so I’ll just have to settle for viewing the building from the outside.)
Some construction work is still in progress, as crews rush to complete the hotel entrance, lobby and lobby bar. Work continues on many of the ultra-expensive condo suites in the tower’s upper levels while, on the exterior, the hotel’s signage has still not been installed, and work is finishing up on a wide walkway between the Ritz-Carlton and the CBC headquarters to its west.
Two architectural firms collaborated on the project: Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) Associates Architects and Planners of New York and Page + Steeles Architects of Toronto.
Further details about the Ritz-Carlton Toronto building are provided in this fact sheet from the hotel. Below is an artistic rendering of the tower (from the Ritz-Carlton website), along with a series of photos I’ve snapped on recent walks past the building.
Hotel website rendering of the Ritz-Carlton Toronto tower
Ritz-Carlton Toronto tower viewed from Wellington Street on November 29 2010
Ritz-Carlton Toronto viewed from Roy Thomson Hall on January 14 2011
Ritz-Carlton Toronto tower southwest view on November 29 2010
Ritz-Carlton Toronto viewed from Wellington Street December 16 2010
Ritz-Carlton Toronto Wellington Street entrance driveway
Ritz-Carlton Toronto front entrance viewed December 16 2010
Ritz-Carlton lobby awaits furniture installation on December 16 2010
Ritz-Carlton lobby bar under construction December 16 2010
Ritz-Carlton lobby bar under construction December 16 2010
Ritz-Carlton Toronto hotel (lower windows with drapes) and condo residences
Ritz-Carlton Toronto neighbours RBC Centre (middle) and Simcoe Place (right)
Ritz-Carlton Toronto tower west side view on January 14 2011
Ritz-Carlton Toronto tower northwest view on November 29 2010