Wed. May 18th, 2022

A prime intersection in the heart of Toronto can look very different if a local developer gets his way, even though the city council representing the area is not at all happy with the ambitions of the skyscraper plan.

But first a little background.

Developer Sam Mizrahi is currently involved in a skyscraper race not seen since Manhattan in the Depression era, and is battling with Pinnacle Developments to own the crown that comes with erecting Canada’s tallest building.

Mizrahi’s The One at Yonge and Bloor (where Toronto’s worst-kept secret Apple Store is being built) and SkyTower at Pinnacle One Yonge at Yonge and Queens Quay are both well under construction.

Both will stand taller than any building currently existing in the country (CN Tower is not a building, look it up), but Pinnacle has a small edge in height above Mizrahi.

Unwilling to lose the race without a fight, Mizrahi applied for a height increase in late 2020 and asked the city to approve another nine floors that would bring the tower to a staggering 94-story height.

As part of the application review process, a virtual community consultation was held on Wednesday night, where the public and the local councilor could see a presentation from the developer and share their comments.

Even before the presentation began, Department 11, University-Rosedale Councilor Mike Layton came out swinging, indicating that the meeting was a formality in his eyes and that the approved height was as high as the tower should be.

“The developer has every right to insert another application, and we have to legally have a meeting like this,” Layton said. “Just because they can submit an application does not mean they get it approved.”

The developer’s presentation justifying the elevation gain – an issue that will take time for city staff to analyze – included plans to completely redesign the Yonge and Bloor intersection.

the one yonger bloor

Aerial view seen southwest over a redesigned Yonge and Bloor intersection. Reproduction of Mizrahi Developments by City of Toronto.

The redesign would allow Yonge and Bloor to continue to function as a major crossroads, while supporting enhanced programming such as street festivals and the annual Pride Parade.

Geometric hash marking patterns would fuse the designs of the intersection of the intersection and the structural exoskeleton of the mammoth tower under construction in the southwest corner.

Reproductions depict different iterations of what could be new pop-up holiday markets, with stalls, activities and seasonal displays spilling out from all four ends of the intersection.

the one yonger bloor

Aerial view seen southwest over a redesigned Yonge and Bloor intersection in holiday market configuration. Reproduction of Mizrahi Developments by City of Toronto.

Despite the beautiful reproductions that promised a more inviting street scene, Councilor Layton was not impressed with the gesture, saying plans are already funded for a future makeover for the intersection.

the one yonger bloor

Looking southeast over a redesigned Yonge and Bloor intersection used as a pop-up street market. Reproduction of Mizrahi Developments by City of Toronto.

“What no one has talked about is that the Yonge and Bloor junction will be torn up over the next eight years, entirely with the aim of expanding the subway platforms below,” Layton said.

“If we do not expand these platforms, people will die, is simply what we have been told.”

“We are not going to spend over a billion dollars on rebuilding the intersection without putting something really spectacular on top, something that fits the corner of Yonge and Bloor. We are not demanding the help of developers to put a little bit of frosting on a billion cake that we bake underground. “

Aside from the cold reception of the presentation, the race to build Canada’s tallest is still very much at stake.

Unique issues such as added height and its shady impacts at Jesse Ketchum Park had to be resolved in order for the application to be approved.

Either way, building on Yonge and Bloor is still taller than any building found in Canada today.

Even without the proposed height being suggested, The One has a good shot at at least temporarily winning the crown at Canada’s highest before the higher SkyTower eventually overtakes it.

Photos of

Mizrahi development via Toronto City

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