Of our five year end poll topics, the one which attracted the most votes was this forward-looking one: what project are we most anticipating to throw its doors open this year? Might it be that we have more hope for buildings before they are finished, than we have admiration for the final product? We are a tough crowd: a tour through the Forum threads will show that we are not quick to excuse shoddy workmanship, or design changes that downgrade the quality of something promised in the dreamy renderings. We want to see high quality design and workmanship translated into great buildings - and not into those afflicted by The Cheapening™.

That said, here are the buildings which most carry the burden of our longings this year, out of the 27 which we included on our list:

Living Shangri-La Toronto, image by CML, 2011.12.27Living Shangri-La Toronto, image by CML, 2011.12.27

In first place, by a longshot, just shy of a third of you are most looking forward to the completion of Living Shangri-La, the 66-storey hotel and residential condominium tower by BC developer Westbank Corporation, now driving towards its July, 2012 opening. The slender hexagonal tower with the faceted east façade, designed by Vancouver's James Cheng and Toronto's Hariri Pontarini Architects, seems to have caught the imagination of our readers more than any other. UrbanToronto's October tour of the construction site by Westbank Prexy Ian Gillespie left us quite confident that the building will be finished to exacting standards, and left us eager to see the finished product: we know that many goodies in this project are yet to be revealed!

Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto, image by someMidTowner, 2011.12.19Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto, image by someMidTowner, 2011.12.19

No building on UrbanToronto gets more attention than the Trump International Hotel and Tower. While its architecture has proven to be somewhat controversial amongst our readers, this building fascinates beyond all others with its quarter onion dome, its spire, its most urban location, its three-storey penthouse, its 30th floor restaurant balcony, its luxurious finishings… well one can go on and on, and all totaled up, the soon to open building is the first choice of over 10% of you, a very respectable second place in the anticipation sweepstakes. While designer Zeidler Partnership Architects has a long, illustrious history in this city and many more projects in the pipeline, we wonder, will newcomer Talon International bring Toronto another building? Only time will tell.

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences, Toronto, image by urbandreamerFour Seasons Hotel and Private Residences, Toronto, image by urbandreamer 2011.12.16

Close by in third place as most anticipated opening, at just under 10%, is the new Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences. Now the tallest peak in Toronto's Uptown Core, the umbilically joined 26 and 52-storey glass towers, developed by Menkes, Lifetime Developments, and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, are admired for the disciplined lines, the handsome proportions and the restrained grandeur of their architectsAlliance design. While some disdain every example of the 'Toronto box', others see this buildings as a leading examplar of its understated type. We look forward to seeing what opulence will be found within the deceptively simple exterior when these doors open officially too!

Your three top choices? All luxury hotel/condominium combinations. All surely tweak the imagination somewhat more than most, um, more typical condominium towers, but one of those stood out above the remainder of the crowd too.

Market Wharf Condominiums, image by Cruzin4U, 2011.12.26Market Wharf Condominiums, image by Cruzin4U, 2011.12.26

Market Wharf Condominiums, also designed by architectsAlliance, this time for Context Development, charms just less than 9% of you the most, taking fourth place. It's certainly a building that has our curiousity: while the podium is complete, the second phase tower with its signature alternating-wave balconies is now rising. We knew they were coming, but somehow now that we can see them for real, those curves have caught us by surprise at the same time. Once the glazing is applied, the fluid balconies promise to make the building a landmark.

There are many more buildings we are looking forward to opening this year, and just as many that we look forward to seeing climb into the sky, or those about to go into the ground, while we anticipate others going on sale… and we're always tantalized by the latest rumour or the next re-zoning application. It's a fun time to be a Toronto watcher!

Want to see more of projects above? Check our dataBase entries below, or click on the associated Projects & Construction Forum threads to get in on the discussion.