/Get Inspired/Urban Update

Three Character-Defining Projects On the GTA’s Horizon

Two master-planned communities and a Danish-designed office tower have our full attention

By Sara Cunningham

Even on scramble mode, great intersections have rhythm. That’s not the case at Bloor and Dundas, where multiple transit lines, a never-ending Loblaws parking lot and loud buildings jostle to make this west-end zone the worst. Luckily, there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon. That is, if an ambitious – like, capital “A” ambitious – master plan by Hariri Pontarini Architects is built. Developed by Choice Properties REIT, the proposal would see a ten-acre site south of Bloor turn into a mixed-use community, with nine high-rise towers (composed of condos, purpose-built rentals and affordable housing), a new secondary school, transit hub, and a European-inspired retail promenade. The project is massive, but a developer video shows what’s in store for pedestrians: a covered winter garden, greenhouse, cherry blossom bowl, skate park, and a proposed pedestrian and cycle bridge to the West Toronto Railpath – and more.

At 264 metres high, Union Centre by Allied Properties REIT and Westbank will be tall enough to compete with the most vertiginous downtown towers. Although, it’s a series of innovative features – designed by Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group – that will turn heads. Located on a tiny site next to Union Station, the tower will have a staggered “urban forest” at its peak . Along the facade, illuminated elevators will create engaging lightshows for Toronto’s night owls. And during the day, a rainwater-absorbing woonerf by Toronto’s Public Work will give pedestrians the feeling of being at the shoreline. A towering proposal, we think, for an office, data centre and event venue.

Lakeview Community Partners has tapped Boston architecture firm Sasaki – whose credits include the Riverwalk in Chicago and 798 Arts District in Beijing – to design a sustainable mixed-use neighbourhood on Mississauga’s waterfront. The 177-acre redevelopment, dubbed Lakeview Village, sits on the site of a former coal factory. “It’s rare to find a project of this size and scope anywhere in the world,” says Sasaki principal Dennis Pieprz. In fact, when completed, the community will house up to 17,000 people. Residents will have access to abundant retail, office and outdoor space, including – early renderings show – a waterway. The design is still being refined, but one thing’s for sure: Lake Ontario is going to feel a lot closer to home.

Categories: Urban Update