January 7 2012: A midafternoon view of the Toronto Financial District skyline from Cherry Street, just outside the sprawling construction site for what will become the athletes’ village for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
May 8 2011: Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto construction progress viewed from Nathan Phillips Square
Getting taller: I keep waiting for the Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto to make a big impact on my balcony view of the Financial District. For more than a month, I’ve been able to see the Trump Toronto’s rooftop construction crane poking above and behind the 51-storey Bay Adelaide Centre. But within a couple more weeks, I should finally be able to see the actual tower itself. Below are several recent photos showing the Trump Toronto’s progress ascending to the ranks of the city’s tallest buildings.
April 8 2011: Trump Toronto construction viewed from Nathan Phillips Square
April 23 2011: From my balcony, I can see the Trump’s construction crane poking out from behind the Bay Adelaide Centre building
April 23 2011: A zoom view of the Trump Toronto rising behind BAC
May 8 2011: Another view of Trump Toronto from City Hall
May 13 2011: Trump Toronto viewed from corner of Adelaide and York Streets
Reaching skyward: In this view from the depths of the Bay Street skyscraper canyon, the 13-storey office building at 302 Bay Street (top) appears to rise almost as tall as the still-under-construction Toronto Trump Tower, which is around 50 floors high so far and climbing steadily on its way to 60 storeys. Originally the Trust and Guarantee Building, 302 Bay was built in 1917 but received a rooftop addition in 1929. The building now bears the Bank of Montreal name above its front entrance. On the left is the 51-storey Bay Adelaide Centre, Trump Toronto’s neighbour on the north side of Adelaide Street, built in 2009. Part of the 68-storey Scotia Plaza tower built in 1988 is visible at right and in reflection on the south side of Bay Adelaide Centre.
The Trump Tower made the news today in a Toronto Star article that gives an “exclusive peak” inside the Trump Hotel section of the skyscraper, which received an occupancy permit from the City last Friday. The hotel is scheduled to open later this spring. The newspaper article also profiles the tower’s 42-year-old billionaire builder, Alex Shnaider, and hails his “noteworthy accomplishment” of having “built the tallest residential tower in Canada — and the second tallest building in Toronto, after the CN Tower.” Seems the Star is jumping the gun: the Trump isn’t even as tall as the Bay Adelaide Centre yet, and it’s far from “built.” Moreover, when complete, it still won’t rise as high as 72-storey First Canadian Place, so Trump will have to settle for third-highest place on the Toronto skyline. Below are some pics I’ve taken of the Toronto Trump Tower this month.
March 14 2011: Adelaide Street West view of Toronto Trump Tower construction
March 7 2011: Toronto Trump Tower viewed from Bay & Adelaide Streets
March 7 2011: Southwest view from Bay below Adelaide Street
March 7 2011: Upper-level construction viewed from the southwest
March 7 2011: Nathan Phillips Square view of the Toronto Trump construction
March 7 2011: West view of Bay Adelaide Centre and Toronto Trump Tower
March 7 2011: From left are the Bay Adelaide Centre, Toronto Trump Tower, Scotia Plaza and the Bank of Nova Scotia building at 44 King Street West.
March 7 2011: Trump Tower viewed from Bay Street outside First Canadian Place
March 7 2011: Toronto Trump Tower and the Bank of Nova Scotia building at 44 King Street West. The 27-storey bank building at the northeast corner of King & Bay Streets was constructed in 1951.
March 14 2011: Adelaide Street West view of Toronto Trump construction
March 14 2011: Toronto Trump Tower, Scotia Plaza and First Canadian Place
March 14 2011: When completed, the Toronto Trump Tower will stand taller than Scotia Plaza — when measured to the top of its spire. But Scotia Plaza’s roof will still be higher, as a diagram on skyscraperpage.com demonstrates.
March 14 2011: Toronto Trump Tower and Scotia Plaza
March 22 2011: Scotia Plaza, Toronto Trump Tower and Bay Adelaide Centre
March 22 2011: Northeast view of the Trump Toronto from King Street West
March 22 2011: Upper-level construction viewed from the northeast
March 22 2011: King Street view of the northeast corner of the Trump Toronto
March 22 2011: Toronto Trump Tower street level view from King Street
March 22 2011: Cement trucks at the tower’s King Street construction entrance
Artistic rendering of the three Southcore Financial Centre towers…
…and a southeast view of the Centre as it appeared on February 18. The 26-storey PricewaterhouseCooper head office building at 18 York Street (right) is nearing completion, but excavation is still in early stages for the Delta Toronto hotel and Bremner office tower office still to be built.
Trackside towers: As downtown’s newest office tower approaches the end of construction, site excavation has only just begun for its two younger siblings, who will gradually grow into prominent hotel and office towers standing proudly right next door.
Work on the 26-storey PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) office building at 18 York Street is winding down, and occupancy for most of its floors is scheduled for the third quarter of this year. (Four and a half floors of the PwC tower, which is 86% leased, won’t be ready for occupancy until early in 2013.)
Meanwhile, crews are preparing to build downtown’s next new highrise hotel, the Delta Toronto, as well as the city’s next new office block, the Bremner Tower, on lands along Bremner Boulevard just west of PwC.
But this young family of buildings, formally known as the Southcore Financial Centre (SFC), is already having a major impact on the city. Along with some newer neighbours (Telus Tower and Maple Leaf Square) who recently took up residence nearby, SFC is changing the look of the skyline and railway lands while at the same time drawing the Financial District to the south side of the train tracks.
And with construction currently underway for the ÏCE and Infinity3 condo towers just one block to the south, and construction expected to start later this year on the Ripley Toronto Aquarium one block to the west, this formerly derelict railway lands district is being transformed into a bustling and vibrant urban neighbourhood.
Sometimes I still can’t believe this is happening. Before I even moved to Toronto in the early 1980s, politicians kept promising new office and residential developments would revitalize the ugly railway lands between Union Station and Lake Shore Boulevard. As is typical for Toronto, it took so long for things to get going, I never thought I’d see construction actually get underway. But it has been happening, and the pace of transformation from blight to bright has been phenomenal.
For years, there wasn’t much more than a few parking lots and dusty, vacant fields on the vast swath of land stretching from the CN Tower in the west to the old Canada Post building at the corner of Bay Street and Lake Shore Blvd., in the east. Then the Air Canada Centre opened in 1999, followed in late 2005/early 2006 by the 35- and 16-storey Infinity condominium buildings at the corner of Bremner and Simcoe. Last year, both the Telus office tower and the Maple Leaf Square condo/office/hotel/retail complex opened on the east side of York at Bremner. This year, condos, offices and a hotel are under construction, and a major tourist attraction will be joining them soon. Whew! Three years from now, I might not even recognize the neighbourhood!
But let’s get back to Southcore, the new kids on the block bounded by Lower Simcoe Street to the west, Bremner Blvd. to the south, York Street to the east, and the railway tracks to the north. The Delta Toronto will be a 45-storey, 566-room, four-star hotel standing at the corner of Bremner and Simcoe, conveniently just across the street from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The 30-storey Bremner Tower will sit between the Delta and PwC, on Bremner Blvd.
When I walked around the area last week, a construction crew and pile driver were working along the north perimeter of the site, right next to the rail tracks. Below are some pics I snapped from street level and from the Convention Centre stairs, along with some hotel and office tower renderings from the Southcore Financial Centre website.
Website illustration of the south elevation of the three Southcore towers
Rendering of the Southcore Financial Centre towers viewed from the southeast
Website rendering of the 45-storey Delta Toronto hotel tower
Website rendering of the Delta Toronto hotel tower courtyard
January 3 2011: West view of the PricewaterhouseCoopers office tower, left, the Maple Leaf Square complex and the Infinity condos (right)
January 3 2011: The top floors of the west side of the PwC office tower
January 3 2011: Southwest view of the PwC tower and Telus Tower
January 3 2011: PwC office tower construction gate on Bremner Blvd.
January 3 2011: Northwest view of the Southcore Financial Centre location for the Delta hotel and Bremner Tower. Overlooking the site are the PwC tower and Telus Tower at left, Maple Leaf Square towers (center), and the Infinity condos.
January 3 2011: Trailers and dumpsters on the hotel and office tower building site
February 18 2011: Delta Hotel and Bremner Tower site viewed from the southwest corner of Bremner Blvd and Lower Simcoe Street. Once built, the two towers will completely block this view of the Financial District skyscrapers.
February 18 2011: Another view of the hotel and office tower building site
February 18 2011: Yellow pile driving machine (center) on the Southcore site
February 18 2011: Toronto Convention Centre view of the Southcore building site
February 18 2011: Another convention centre view of the building site
Within months, full-scale excavation of this site will be in progress
February 18 2011: Pile driver at the site’s railway perimeter
While the pile driving machine prepares the Southcore site for excavation, another huge construction project is underway nearby — the Union Station railway platform revitalization project (the covered area at the rear left side of the photo).
The structure behind the pile driving machine is the north side of the PwC tower
Construction workers guide the pile driver
A closer look at the foundation-building machine
February 18 2011: PwC tower viewed from corner of York St. and Bremner Blvd.
A closer look at the top southeast corner of the PwC tower
February 18 2011: Simcoe Street view of the cranes atop the PwC office tower
Closer view of the upper west side of the PwC office tower
February 18 2011: A Simcoe Street view of the CN Tower reflecting in the west windows of the new PricewaterhouseCoopers office building.
Design details: The various design patterns in the glass walls and balconies of the Maple Leaf Square south condo tower become evident in this photograph of the 50-storey skyscraper, shot from the east sidewalk on York Street. A project of Lanterra Developments, Maple Leaf Square was designed by Page + Steele IBI Group Architects and KPMB Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects.
Five towers: From left are the CN Tower, Maple Leaf Square south tower, a construction crane atop the PWC 18 York office tower, Maple Leaf Square north tower, and the Telus office tower. Photo was taken from a parking lot next to the Toronto Harbour Commission building on Harbour Street on February 18 2011.
High road: The Maple Leaf Square towers viewed from a parking lot located off Harbour Street beneath the Gardiner Expressway.
High life: The two Maple Leaf Square condo towers viewed from Harbour Street. The towers rise from a nine-story podium housing a Le German boutique hotel, offices, shops, restaurants, a grocery store and a bank. The South Tower, left, stands 50 floors, while the North Tower soars a little higher: 54 storeys.
Above the awning: Another view of the Maple Leaf Square south condo tower, this time from beneath the unique artistic awning that extends above the sidewalk along the east side of York Street. More pics of the entire complex — from both indoors and out — can be viewed in the Maple Leaf Square album on the Photo Sets page of the blog.
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?
The earth is moving at the X2 Condos project site
X2 marks its spot: I felt a touch of nostalgia when I saw a drilling machine and backhoe cutting into the snow-covered ground at the corner of Jarvis and Charles Streets this afternoon.
Don’t know why, but I suddenly started thinking about the ugly three-storey office building that used to occupy the site. For the longest time it housed an overpriced Becker’s convenience store and a sports bar called Caps that served awesome — but wickedly hot — BBQ chicken wings, good burgers and reasonably-priced beer. Caps was popular with sports teams as well as the cops who worked across the street in a police building that ultimately met its demise when the hugely popular 44-storey X Condominium tower started construction several years ago.
Eventually, the Becker’s store and the bar closed down. The PizzaPizza company acquired the property, spruced up the building, and moved its headquarters inside. But the days of the PizzaPizza place were numbered. X Condos was a tremendous success; its units sold like gangbusters, leaving no doubt there was a strong demand for more condos in the immediate neighbourhood. It was obvious that the PizzaPizza property would be worth an absolute fortune as a condo tower development site. Inevitably, signs were posted on the property in 2008 to advise the neighbourhood that plans were afoot to build a 44-storey condo highrise there.
In November 2009, a sales office for X2 Condos was constructed on Charles Street on the site of two brick mansions that formerly housed law firms and other offices (properties that also would ultimately be demolished to make way for the condo highrise.) Demolition of all three buildings began last August, and throughout the autumn the lot sat empty while soil testing and other preliminary site preparation work was performed.
In the meantime, the city approved the developer’s request to add more floors to X2, bringing the tower’s total height to 49 storeys. Now, digging has begun in earnest on the northeast perimeter of the site.
Don’t know why, but suddenly I’m craving beer and chicken wings! Too bad I can’t walk up the street to Caps anymore.
Below is a rendering of the X2 Condo building (designed by Toronto’s Rudy Wallman Architects, by the way), along with photos I’ve taken of the X2 site over the past three years. More photos can be viewed in an album accessible from the Photo Sets page of the blog (where you’ll find another album with pictures showing the construction of X Condos, from site excavation to fully-finished and occupied tower.
Although X and X2 look a lot alike, as sisters usually do, X was designed by a different architect — Peter Clewes of Toronto’s architects Alliance.)
Artistic rendering of X2 Condo tower at the corner of Jarvis & Charles
August 14 2008: Condo development proposal sign on X2 Condos site
Sept 3 2008: View of the former PizzaPizza offices on the X2 site
Sept 3 2008: Jarvis Street view of the former PizzaPizza headquarters
December 3 2008: Charles Street view of the development site
November 2 2009: PizzaPizza building being prepared for demolition
November 2 2009: X2 Condos sales office sign on Charles Street East
November 2 2009: X2 Condos sales office being constructed on the project site
November 22 2009: X2 Condos marketing signs on the PizzaPizza building
November 22 2009: X2 Condos marketing signs on the PizzaPizza building
Bright pink signs on exterior of X2 Condos sales office
August 29 2010: Demolition of the PizzaPizza building underway
August 29 2010: Big empty lot behind the PizzaPizza building being demolished
August 29 2010: X2 Condos sales office gradually being demolished
August 29 2010: Charles Street view of demolition activity at the X2 Condos site
August 29 2010: Jarvis Street view of the PizzaPizza building demolition
August 29 2010: Jarvis Street view of the PizzaPizza building demolition
X2 Condos sales office in its new location: a townhouse at X Condos
October 3 2010: View of the lot where X2 will be built
November 11 2010: Work crew tests soil conditions
November 11 2010: Soil testing operations at the west end of the site
December 18 2010: X2 Condos site after a light snowfall
January 9 2011: A blanket of snow covers the X2 Condos site
February 8 2011: Machines digging away at the perimeter of the property
February 8 2011: Digging at the northeast perimeter of the X2 Condos site
February 8 2011: Tag-team excavation activity on the X2 Condos site
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
Skyscrapers keep rising at the massive CityPlace district west of the CN Tower
Tracking progress: Condo towers and construction cranes greet visitors arriving in downtown Toronto by GO Train or Via Rail. As the trains slow down for their arrival at Union Station, they pass the steadily expanding Concord CityPlace development on the south side of the tracks. This was the Bathurst Street Bridge view of CityPlace on the afternoon of January 14.