With the 2015 Pan Am Games just two and a half years away now, work is proceeding rapidly to create the village that will house the athletes, journalists, and technicians from across the hemisphere who will descend upon Toronto to compete. The buildings now under construction will eventually become the permanent homes of the pioneering residents of the West Don Lands, including those who will live in the Canary District Condos offered by Dundee Kilmer, while others will become housing for students at George Brown College. A new YMCA community centre is also under construction as part of the George Brown campus, and infrastructre including completely rebuilt streets and a new TTC LRT line is going in as well.

UrbanToronto member Razz has a commanding view of the crane-filled site from his unit in Pure Spirit condominums, and he recently caught us up on construction there as well from ground level. Here is what he saw over the last several days:

Cranes rise over construction sites in the West Don Lands, TorontoCranes rise over construction sites in the West Don Lands, image by Razz

Cranes rise over construction sites in the West Don Lands, TorontoCranes rise over the George Brown College and YMCA construction sites in the West Don Lands, image by Razz

It's the George Brown College residence site with its adjacent YMCA recreation centre that fills up the bulk of the construction in the images above. In behind, a new TCHC affordable housing buiding is in the works too. Seen from a distance at ground level, those projects use the four closest cranes to the left side of the photo below.

Cranes rise over construction sites in the West Don Lands, image by Razz

Here's the George Brown/YMCA construction closer up.

Cranes rise over the George Brown/YMCA construction site in the West Don Lands, Cranes rise over the George Brown/YMCA construction site in the West Don Lands, image by Razz

Cranes rise over construction sites in the West Don Lands, image by RazzCranes rise over construction sites in the West Don Lands, image by Razz

Agan, that's the George Brown/YMCA site above left. One the right side above, rising behind the former home of the Canary Restaurant are the Canary District Condominiums. Designed by KPMB Architects, it is hoped that the condominiums and other redevelopment will trigger the restoration of the Canary as an eating establishment after the games.

Looking south down the once and future Cherry Street, the currently closed right-of-way will shift slightly after it has reopened to accommodate a new LRT line heading south and under the Gardiner Expressway towards the East Bayfront lands, also being redeveloped under the auspices of Waterfront Toronto. Before arriving at the Gardiner, the 35-storey Gooderham, the last of the towers in the Distillery District, all architectsAlliance designs for Dundee Realty and Cityscape developers, is now rising. Its sister tower, the 40-storey Clear Spirit at full height to the right of it, is now beginning to be occupied.

Cherry Street waits to be reborn in the West Don Lands, image by RazzCherry Street waits to be reborn in the West Don Lands, image by Razz

Despite all of the cranes here now, there are still a few more to come before all of the buildings that will be up in time for the Pan Am Games are ready. The area won't be completely built-out as of the Games either; there will still be brownfield land in the area ready to developed and knitted into the city's fabric in the area, and much more public infrastructure is coming too: Don River Park is set to open soon, joining Underpass Park and more as vital new public spaces for Toronto. Besides the new LRT line, a new GO station is also expected for the area connecting this area to First Gulf's new commercial neighbourhood across the Don River. A new TTC subway station on the proposed "DRL" line is also a strong possibility in the slightly longer term. Give it ten years, and no-one will believe how empty the area was in 2012-2013.

Cranes rise over construction sites in the West Don Lands, image by RazzCranes rise over construction sites in the West Don Lands, image by Razz

If you would like to know more about the projects described above, many renderings can be found in our dataBase entries linked below. If you would like to get in on the discussion of these projects, choose one of the associated Forum thread links.