The historical relationship between Toronto and Lake Ontario has never quite amounted to a peaceful coexistence. For generations, several heavy industrial sites, including the famous Gooderham and Worts Distillery, served as physical barriers between the city and the harbour. In the latter half of the 20th century a rapid wave of deindustrialization resulted in much of the waterfront being abandoned, leaving a nearly blank slate for redevelopment. In subsequent years, public and private development has gradually reshaped the blighted landscape of contaminated brownfields and parking lots west of Yonge into a more-or-less successful mixed-use community. Now moving east of Yonge, one parking lot in particular—right at the foot of the city's cental north-south arterial—has provided developers Cityzen and Fernbrook Homes with the opportunity to make a bold statement in a highly visible location for their lakeside condominium, Waterlink at Pier 27.

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoRendering of Pier 27, image courtesy of Cityzen/Fernbrook

The contemporary design by architectsAlliance features four 11-storey towers topped and connected by two three-storey linking skybridges. Aligned perpendicularly to Queens Quay Boulevard, the careful positioning of the towers allows passersby to take in views toward the lake from the street. Access to the water will be through a new park running down the west side of the site, and wrapping around to the south side. The area will be landscaped, and a boardwalk similar to the one in the Harbourfront area west of York Street will be put in.

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoRendering of Pier 27, image courtesy of Cityzen/Fernbrook

The unique three-storey penthouse skybridges, currently being assembled above the now topped off towers, are being constructed with structural steel. Over the past few months, countless steel frames have been raised into place by skilled iron workers, forming the basic shell of both bridges. From his perch high atop the L Tower crane, forum member SkyJacked has provided some amazing photos which serve as a perfect timeline of recent progress on Pier 27’s skybridges.

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoPier 27's progress as of November 29th 2012, image by SkyJacked

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoPier 27's progress as of December 5th 2012, image by SkyJacked

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoPier 27's progress as of December 17th 2012, image by SkyJacked

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoPier 27's progress as of December 19th 2012, image by SkyJacked

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoPier 27's progress as of January 1st, image by SkyJacked

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoPier 27's progress as of January 18th, image by SkyJacked

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoPier 27's progress as of January 23rd, image by SkyJacked

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoPier 27's progress as of January 25th, image by SkyJacked

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoClose up of iron work on January 25th, image by SkyJacked

In recent weeks we have also seen the application of the first window panels on the east tower. In the following images, captured on January 12th by forum member cruzin4u, the glass appears to have a slight gray tone, framed with thin black mullions.

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoCladding on Pier 27's east tower, image by cruzin4u

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoCladding on Pier 27's east tower, visible on the far left, image by cruzin4u

At a landmark intersection certain to transform in the coming years, Waterlink at Pier 27 will be situated steps from key destinations including Union Station, the Air Canada Centre, the ferry docks, Sugar Beach, and the George Brown College Waterfront Campus. Occupancies at the project are expected to start late this year.

Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoRendering of Pier 27, image courtesy of Cityzen/Fernbrook

We will be back in coming days with an on the site construction tour from last fall. Below is one shot from the set, looking northwest through the growing eastern skybridge, taken from the top of the east tower. Waterlink at Pier 27 Cityzen Fernbrook Homes architectsAlliance TorontoView of eastern skybridge from east tower, image by Craig White

For additional information and renderings, please visit the UrbanToronto dataBase pages linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion?  Check out the related forum thread here, or post your opinion in the comments section below.