Tag Archives: Exhibit Residences

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.


Demolition underway at Bloor Street site for 32-storey Exhibit Residences stacked cube tower

Exhibit Residences

February 3 2013: You can’t see it from the street, but demolition is well under way inside the buildings behind the fences and hoarding at 192, 194 and 200 Bloor Street West, where developer Bazis Inc. will build its distinctive “twisting cube” Exhibit Residences condo tower 


Exhibit Residences condo tower

This artistic rendering depicts how Exhibit will appear when viewed from Philosopher’s Walk on the south side of Bloor Street. The  32-storey condo tower was designed by Rosario Varacalli of Toronto’s r. Varacalli Architect Inc.


Restaurant razing: Three Bloor Street West buildings that once housed busy budget-friendly restaurants, including a controversial McDonald’s outlet, are being razed to clear the site for construction of the Exhibit Residences condo tower, which will cut a distinctive figure on the Yorkville skyline with its striking stacked cube design.

Four popular restaurants once occupied the low-rise buildings: Pho Hung and China Garden at 200 Bloor West, a Gabby’s Bar & Grill at 194 Bloor West, and an open-all-night McDonald’s at 192A Bloor West. Gabby’s has since relocated two doors down the street to 192 Bloor West (which originally was expected to be part of the condo redevelopment property, but was dropped from the site plan during revisions to the project proposal). Pho Hung closed last June, but its sister Vietnamese restaurants remain open in Mississauga and on Spadina Avenue in Toronto’s Chinatown.  As reported in the Toronto Star, the McDonald’s closed nearly a month ago — on January 6 — after operating on the site for 41 years. But it will eventually return to occupy new street-level premises in the forthcoming condo tower.


 Exhibit Residences condo tower location

February 12 2011: The McDonald’s outlet operated for 41 years at 192A Bloor West. The City-owned property had been leased to McDonald’s for only $15,5000 in annual rent. The 192 Bloor West building with the Gabby’s Bar & Grill is not part of the Exhibit Residences condo property, and will remain as is, but the 3-storey structure with the Stretch Fitness centre sign at 194 Bloor West is part of the redevelopment site and is being demolished along with the McDonald’s building.




Exhibit Residences to give Bloor Street a twist with striking 32-storey stacked cube condo tower

Exhibit Residences condo tower

Architectural rendering supplied by Exhibit Residences suggests how the condo tower will appear when viewed from Philosopher’s Walk south of Bloor Street

Culture, condos and controversy: During the past 10 years, major building projects for cultural institutions and condos have captured public attention and sparked considerable controversy and criticism on the Bloor Street block between Avenue Road and Bedford Road. Now, a stunning new highrise condo project, Exhibit Residences, is set to keep the busy east-west corridor in the public eye — and quite possibly stir up some more civic consternation in the process. Essentially four stacked cubes, three of which rotate slightly from the base, the 32-storey Exhibit Residences condo tower resembles a skyscraper version of a shimmering glass Rubic’s Cube. Though the condo project is still in the sales phase (its presentation centre has just opened in Yorkville), the tower’s distinctive design means Exhibit Residences is destined to turn heads on Bloor Street both during construction and long after afterwards. That’s no mean feat, considering the stiff architectural “competition” nearby, especially the Royal Ontario Museum’s Michael Lee-Chin Crystal directly across the street.

This particular block of Bloor has been a busy hub of building activity for a decade. But the growth, and some of the architectural design, has drawn mixed and sometimes highly-charged negative reaction from the public. Change started on the south side of the street when the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) launched its “Renaissance ROM renovation and expansion project” and hired internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind to design the Crystal — a building addition featuring spectacular new gallery space and a dramatic Bloor Street entrance.  Evocative of giant ice crystals bursting through the brown brick façade of the original 1914 neo-Romanesque museum’s north wall, The Crystal celebrated its official opening during a massive street party on June 2 2007. Controversial from the start, the Crystal has become one of the city’s top “either love it or hate it” buildings, its design derided by many Toronto residents and visitors while lauded by others, including Conde Nast Traveler magazine, which named it one of “The new seven wonders of the world” in April 2008.

Meanwhile, right next door, the venerable Royal Conservatory of Music engaged in an extensive renovation and expansion project of its own, building its Telus Centre for Performance and Learning. Designed by Toronto’s Kuwabara, Payne, McKenna, Blumberg Architects, the Telus Centre gave the RCM two brand-new performance venues as well as new academic classroom and studio facilities. The academic wing opened in September 2008, while the grand 1,135-seat Koerner concert hall debuted to wide critical acclaim in 2009.

On the north side of Bloor, eyes have focussed on highrise condo construction rather than cultural icons. The first residential tower to rise on the block was another Kuwabara, Payne, McKenna, Blumberg-designed building — One Bedford, at the northeast corner of Bloor and Bedford Road.  Like the ROM’s Crystal, the One Bedford project encountered controversy from the start. Many Annex residents initially opposed the 32-storey luxury condo tower in part because they believed its height and size were simply too big for the area. Now partially occupied after more than three years of construction, One Bedford seems, to me at least, to fit quite nicely into the neighbourhood; it will enhance the Annex gateway even more once work finishes on its exterior landscaping and Bedford Road courtyard entrance. In the middle of the block, the slender 19-storey Museum House on Bloor luxury condo highrise has topped off, and looks more complete each day as window installation approaches the penthouse level. By the time Museum House is finished construction and its exclusive, posh suites are fully occupied, preliminary construction work could be ready to start on Exhibit Residences.

A development project by the Bazis, Metropia and Plaza corporations, Exhibit will rise immediately to the east of Museum House, occupying several adjacent sites currently home to retail shops and restaurants, including a popular McDonald’s outlet. That particular property has a history of controversy, too. Once owned by the City of Toronto, the site was sold to McDonald’s for a bargain price of $3.38 million; the restaurant chain re-sold the land to Bazis International Inc., the developer of Exhibit.  Details of the dispute over that contentious real estate transaction are outlined in a March 6 2008 story in the Toronto Star.

Designed by Rosario Varacalli of Toronto’s r. Varacalli Architect, Exhibit will cut a striking figure with its stacked cube shape, wrap-around windows and fritted-glass balcony panels. But the dramatic design isn’t the only intriguing element of the tower. Since it’s going up next to the Bloor subway line, the tower’s parking area must be built above-ground. Since the parking floors will be situated in Cube One (the bottom cube), residents in the lower tower section will enjoy “the unique convenience of above-ground parking on the same level as their suite,” the Exhibit Residences website notes. For some residents, it might actually be easier to leave the building by car than by foot! Although that’s bound to please some condo purchasers, some people are quite unhappy about the tower’s height; namely, heritage groups and activists who have been fighting to preserve vistas of the Ontario Legislature building at Queen’s Park to the south.  They fear that, when seen from as far south as Queen Street, the Exhibit tower will appear to loom largely behind the Queen’s Park silhouette, spoiling northward views of the historic government building. Whether or not their fears are justified will become apparent in a couple of years once construction approaches the tower’s top cube.

Below are some photos of the Exhibit Residences location on Bloor, along with a tower rendering that appears on the project website.

Exhibit Residences on Bloor condo tower development site

April 1 2011: Exhibit Residences on Bloor condo tower development site


Exhibit Residences on Bloor condo tower development site

April 1 2011: The Exhibit Residences billboard was installed earlier this month after signs for the building’s prior retail occupants were removed.


Exhibit Residences on Bloor condo tower development site

April 1 2011: The McDonald’s property was owned by the City of Toronto until 2008, when it was sold to the restaurant company for $3.38 million.


Prince Arthur Avenue view of the Exhibit Residences site

April 1 2011: A view toward the Exhibit Residences development site from one block north on Prince Arthur Avenue in the East Annex. Exhibit will rise to the left of the Museum House on Bloor condo tower currently under construction.


Royal Ontario Museum Michael Lee-Chin Crystal

January 9 2011: Bloor Street at Avenue Road view of the Royal Ontario Museum’s Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, left,  One Bedford condo tower, rear right, and Museum House on Bloor condo construction, center right.


Exhibit Residences on Bloor condo tower development site

February 12 2011: Bloor Street view toward the Exhibit Residences site


Exhibit Residences on Bloor condo tower development site

February 12 2011: The controversial McDonald’s property and adjacent sites on which the Exhibit Residences tower will be built


Royal Conservatory of Music and Telus Centre

November 1 2010: The main Royal Conservatory of Music building and its new Telus Centre on Bloor Street. The RCM sits next door to the Royal Ontario Museum, and directly across the street from the One Bedford condo tower.


January 19 2011 view of Queens Park and towers on Bloor Street

January 19 2011: A view of Queen’s Park and towers on Bloor Street. One Bedford looms 32 storeys to the left of the historic Ontario Legislature building, while the construction crane indicates where Museum House on Bloor will reach 19 stories. Exhibit Residences will soar 32 stories in between. Heritage activists worry that tall towers planned for Bloor Street will ruin views of Queen’s Park.

Exhibit Residences condo tower rendering

From the Exhibit Residences website, an illustration depicting how the stacked cube condo tower will appear from Avenue Road, looking west along Bloor Street.


City Scene: Bloor Street keeps building up

Bloor Street

Looking west on Bloor Street from Avenue Road on February 12 2011

New kids on the block: The north side of Bloor Street from Avenue Road to Bedford Road keeps filling in and growing taller. Museum House condos is close to topping off and has nearly all its windows installed, while the One Bedford condo tower to its west is partly occupied and almost finished construction. Yet another condo tower — Exhibit Residences — is poised to join them. Their residents will only have to walk across the street to visit the Royal Ontario Museum (left) and the Royal Conservatory of Music, while the Yorkville neighbourhood is just around the corner.

Museum House rises above its namesake on Bloor

The Royal Ontario Museum’s Michael Lee-Chin Crystal appears to point at the Museum House condo under construction across Bloor St.


Nearly there: With only three storeys left to build, and windows already installed on more than half its floors, Museum House on Bloor is drawing some attention away from its famous namesake across Bloor Street — the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). The slender luxury condo tower will top off soon at its full 19-storey height, offering a mere 26 “discerning residences” to its very well-heeled buyers (fully detailed descriptions of the building and its suites are provided on the Museum House website.) Below are some fresh Museum House construction pics I shot this afternoon, along with a slideshow of other photos taken since 2008. I hope Museum House enjoys its moments in the limelight, while they last, because a much taller condo project is waiting in the wings to steal its thunder. Right next door is the site for the proposed Exhibit Residences condo tower, which is currently accepting registrations from interested potential purchasers. Sales for that project haven’t been launched yet, but its website does give some sneak peeks at the dramatic design being considered for Exhibit, as you’ll see in the three images at the bottom of this post.


January 9 2011 view of construction progress at Museum House on Bloor


January 9 2011 view of construction progress at Museum House on Bloor


January 9 2011 View of newly installed windows in Museum House


January 9 2011 view of Museum House (right) and One Bedford condos


January 9 2011 view of construction progress at Museum House on Bloor


Museum House construction crane reflects in the ROM’s Michael Lee-Chin Crystal


Bloor Street West site for proposed Exhibit Residences Condo Tower


Artistic rendering of proposed Exhibit Residences condo tower


Artistic rendering of proposed Exhibit Residences condo tower


Artistic rendering of proposed Exhibit Residences condo tower