Toronto Life - The Informer

Insider intel on the politics and personalities shaping the city. Sign up for Preview newsletter for weekly updates

Real Estate


This new Front Street office tower could change Toronto’s skyline for the better

(Image: Courtesy of Cadillac Fairview)

(Image: Courtesy of Cadillac Fairview)

Toronto has a fraught relationship with tall buildings. The general consensus is that we need more of them, but when it’s time to talk specifics—location, height, design—the discussion tends to go off the rails. NIMBYism, stringent city planning, and developer parsimony have saddled downtown with more than a few near-identical glass boxes. The architects shoot for Mies van der Rohe; Toronto ends up with the architectural equivalent of James Van Der Beek.

Though it’s important to approach any new architectural renderings with skepticism, we’re cautiously optimistic about this 54-storey office tower, proposed for 156 Front Street West by developer Cadillac Fairview and designed by Chicago’s Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. Its curved, slightly bulging profile sets it apart from some of the more rectangular buildings in that part of town. Those enormous, mouth-like openings in the facade add some welcome variety. And the podium incorporates a century-old heritage building, which should give the project some political cover.

If all goes as planned, the glittering tower would be a welcome addition to the north edge of the growing “south core” area, a district of new high-end offices that is steadily luring firms away from the more-established financial district to the north. The building still has a long approvals process ahead of it, and so there’s no telling how much the final project will resemble the rendering above. We can hope.

  • Julie-Lynn X

    Front Street is “the North edge of the South Core”??? No. Look at a map.

  • Orson

    The Couth Sore.

  • Richard Almasi

    Actually, it is. Take a walk south of Union Station and there’s dozens of new developments. The face of Toronto will change dramatically over the next decade.,_Toronto

  • Jason Paris

    The rail corridor would be, but this is 150m north. I think it would still qualify.

  • Khar99

    It is frankly hard to get too excited about a new financial district. Can’t we start really thinking about creating a more livable city rather than kowtowing to money.

  • David G Elliott

    Ridiculous comment. Business brings people downtown and it’s the economic power of the city and country. Maybe have a building tax but to not get excited is pretty absurd.

  • Khar99

    Thanks pal. I thought this was an area where people could express opinions. Nothing personal was meant by mine. I am sorry you took offense.