Upper floors of the 48-storey Uptown Residences condo tower, nearly finished construction on Balmuto Street, glow in late afternoon sun on Jan 29 2011.
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
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