The future cityscape: 11 buildings that will change Toronto

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Torontonians may have been locked down over the past year during the pandemic, but construction and development kept going. Now, with the city on course to slowly emerge, we’re taking a look at some of the most interesting buildings and developments slated to go up in the next few years that will transform how we experience the cityscape – for better or for worse.

From developments billed as sustainable to future skyline icons and hyped neighbourhood game-changers, we looked at projects that will alter the city in environmental and aesthetic ways, impact the city’s heritage buildings and attempt to address the city’s affordable housing crisis.

The One

Who is involved: Foster + Partners, Core Architects
Location: 1 Bloor West
Categories: Skyline

How it will change the city: The condominium tower will become a skyline icon – and the tallest building in Canada.

The One, an 80-storey (306 metres) condominium combined with retail use, is set to become the tallest building in Canada, and the second-tallest man-made structure in the country after the CN Tower. Located at the heart of Yonge and Bloor, the team behind this skyscraper has plans to make it the first vertical retail icon of its kind in Toronto, and create a second, more northern visual focal point in the skyline.

Giles Robinson, an architect and senior partner at Foster + Partners, says the multi-level retail components of the buildings will be distinctly sectioned off from the rental units above, reflecting the unique design of the building.

Tall buildings continue to be a point of contention in the city of Toronto; while considered necessary to add densification, some residents have advocated for more mid-rise buildings out of concern for the aesthetic and shadowing that comes with towers.

Cheryll Case, founder and principal urban planner of CP Planning, says that if the city wants to achieve income and housing equality, there would be more of an investment in spreading housing density across neighbourhoods instead of backing construction of tall buildings in the core. “Whatever benefits come from that individual building, there is a loss in capacity for areas outside the core to develop as walkable neighbourhoods, therefore increasing car dependency and transit inefficiency,” she says.

St. Lawrence Market North

Who is involved: City of Toronto, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Adamson Associates Architects
Location: 92 Front East
Categories: History, Heritage

How it will change the city: Bringing back the historical connection between St. Lawrence Hall and the iconic market.

The development of the much-anticipated St. Lawrence Market North building has been over 10 years in the making. There have been multiple iterations of this building so far since the 1800s, acting as a sister building to the South Market and St. Lawrence Hall. Ivan Harbour, architect and senior partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, says the project will attempt to bring the scale of the South Market back to the North Market.

“The main aspect to the project is to find a way to create a building which is very human and engages with the area of the neighborhood around it,” he says. “This will help further regenerate and bring life to this part of town.”

The development will combine courtrooms, offices and a large market in the open hall that will continue to operate as a covered, outdoor marketplace that can be adjusted to the seasons. A parking lot will also be constructed underground. Harbour says a standout element of the design is the connection between the two markets through St. Lawrence Hall. “In the old building, there was no connection, so hopefully again in the future, that sort of overlapping of activities through the Hall and into the new North market will expand beyond the boundaries of what used to be there,” he says.

The site has operated as a makeshift open market for years as the development has been delayed, but once the construction of this building is done, the St. Lawrence district will be open for business in all its former glory once again.