The Canada Lands Company in conjunction with the City of Toronto's 2015 Games Readiness Office have announced the first of the major clean-up projects planned for Toronto in advance of next summer's Pan and Parapan Am Games

The city's chief landmark, the CN Tower, will be getting a much needed makeover. 40 years after the concrete was poured, patches are obvious and the tower is looking shabby. While not structurally comprised, the owners want the tower looking its best again. "In 2007 we revolutionized the lighting of the CN Tower, last year we completed work on a new entry pavilion, and now it's time to complete the job with a recladding of the concrete" said Sizdah Bedar, spokesperson for Canada Lands.  

The concrete is looking patchy, CN Tower, TorontoThe concrete is looking patchy, image by Craig White

The company has released a call for tenders with a cut off for submissions on April 30. The winning bidder will be announced on May 30, and the company will be able to start work as of July 2, once World Pride and the Canada Day weekend have passed. The work will have to be finished on June 26, 2015, two weeks in advance of the Pan Am Games. The readiness office will provide half of the cost of the upgrade to a maximum of $42 Million.

The CN Tower and its new entry pavilion, completed last year, TorontoThe CN Tower and its new entry pavilion, completed last year, image by Craig White

When asked what expectations Canada Lands has for the tower's new look, Bedar said "The tower will need to look fresh again. We have a colour range that the submission must fall within, but we do not want to limit the bidding firms any more than that. We are looking an inspired design, after all this is one of Canada's most recognizable symbols. The winning design could be a paint job, it could be mosaics, it could be spandrel, it could be EIFS, it could be siding."

When pressed by a reporter from another outlet in regard to Toronto being a city of red brick, Bedar answered "Submit a great brick proposal, and it could be brick. It could be white brick, it could be gray. Red brick does not reflect modern design." 

Blemishes on the CN Tower's concrete, TorontoBlemishes on the CN Tower's concrete, image by Craig White

Tourists walking around the base of the tower generally agreed that the sprucing-up was a good idea. Annex resident Avril Poisson was taking family from the United States to the tower yesterday. "I'm sorry this hasn't happened sooner. My cousins are saying the Freedom Tower looks so much shinier. Let's get going on this already."

Detail, blemishes on the CN Tower's concrete, TorontoDetail, blemishes on the CN Tower's concrete, image by Craig White

Tomorrow will be the next of the 2015 Games Readiness Office's announcements, when Toronto Hydro will announce the streets chosen for the burial of electrical services, allowing the city's third world electric poles to be taken down. It's not known how much money has been set aside for that. Meanwhile, the Readiness Office is holding back $4 Million from its budget for community projects. The office will favour projects suggested by residents associations which promise the most impact for projects costing $500,000 or less. The cutoff date for submissions is May 16.

UrbanToronto will follow the exciting plans to clean up this city as they unfold. To get in on the discussion, leave a comment in the space provided on this page.