Ground was broken several months ago now at the construction site for Backstage on the Esplanade, the 36-storey condominium tower by Cityzen, Fernbrook Homes, and Castelpoint Realty Partners. The Page + Steele Archtiects-designed tower will rise on a tight site, hemmed in by Yonge Street, The Esplanade, Union Station's rail tracks, and 25 The Esplanade, while still preserving views of 25 The Esplanade's famous bullnose.

Backstage on The Esplanade condos Toronto by Cityzen, Fernbrook, and CastlepointBackstage condominiums construction site from the TD Centre, 2011.05.29, image by Drum118

Since that time much of the what has gone on at the Backstage site has been L Tower related, however. L Tower, developed by the same team, although designed by starchitect Daniel Libeskind, is now rising directly north of Backstage on arguably an even tighter site on the southwest corner of the Sony Centre for the Performing Art's lot. Backstage's foundation will in fact be the parking garage for the space-constrained L Tower, with a connecting pedestrian tunnel to run between them under The Esplanade.

Backstage on The Esplanade condos Toronto by Cityzen, Fernbrook, and CastlepointBackstage condominiums construction site from London on The Esplanade, 2011.08.18, image by Craig White

Backstage, meanwhile, is unique in that it will be Toronto's first condominium located so that it cuts right into the berm that supports Union Station's tracks. Three disused storage tracks have been removed from the north side of that berm, and shoring for the Backstage excavation is now underway. A number of UrbanToronto photographers have been snapping shots of the site over the summer, including aerial views by Drum188 and myself above, while Red Mars has caught recent images from the street.

Backstage on The Esplanade condos Toronto by Cityzen, Fernbrook, and CastlepointBackstage condominiums construction site from The Esplanade, 2011.09.03, image by Red Mars

Backstage on The Esplanade condos Toronto by Cityzen, Fernbrook, and CastlepointBackstage condominiums construction site from The Esplanade, 2011.09.03, image by Red Mars

The Photoshopped image below from the developer shows Backstage's position along the rail tracks. Backstage's podium will house both suites - facing The Esplanade - and its own parking garage hidden in behind. The parking garage's south wall acts as the building's extra-strong concrete crash wall, keeping potentially wayward trains from hitting anything vital.

Backstage on The Esplanade condos Toronto by Cityzen, Fernbrook, and CastlepointAerial rendering of Backstage on The Esplanade condominiums site showing the rail corridor, image courtesy of Cityzen

Here is how Backstage will one day look from the corner of Yonge and Front streets.

Backstage on The Esplanade condos Toronto by Cityzen, Fernbrook, and CastlepointBackstage on The Esplanade condominiums, image courtesy of Cityzen

UrbanToronto's dataBase entry for Backstage on The Esplanade has been beefed up with 4 new detailed close-up views, which you can see by clicking on the dataBase entry below. To keep up with Backstage construction, and to join in on the conversation, visit the Forum threads also linked below.