Just about to top off at its full height of 35 storeys, the Sun Life Financial Tower has brought a new presence to Toronto's South Core skyline. With cladding now mostly installed along the height of the building, the tower's clean, minimalist aesthetic is taking shape as construction progresses. While the office tower is already making its high-rise presence felt, the project's residential component, the 66 and 62 storey Harbour Plaza Residences—which have quickly begun rising above the podium levels—are soon set to make a far more visible impact on the city's skyline.

Sun Life Financial Tower & Harbour Plaza Residences, Menkes Developments, HOOPPSun Life Financial Tower, with Harbour Plaza Residences seen rising in the background, image by Craig White

The three tower development by Menkes Developments and HOOPP Realty (the investment subsidiary of the Healthcare Of Ontario Pension Plan) will see two slender condominium point towers rise alongside the office tower (below), which, though substantially shorter, is built on a far larger floor plate typical of Class A office buildings. All three towers rise from a shared, 4 storey podium that will house 200,000 square feet of retail, with the Sweeny &Co Architects-designed office building scheduled to open in 2016.

Sun Life Financial Tower & Harbour Plaza Residences, Menkes Developments, HOOPPA rendering of the project, image courtesy of Menkes Developments

The 35 storey tower will become the eponymous headquarters of Sun Life Financial, with the company set to operate a full 10 floors of the building. The move will see the company consolidate its current offices—both of which are currently located on King Street—into the central South Core Headquarters.

Sun Life Financial Tower & Harbour Plaza Residences, Menkes Developments, HOOPPThe Sunlife Financial Tower approaches its final height, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor UrbanOptic

The move evidences a recent trend of corporate relocation, which is arguably seeing the South Core usurp the city's older Financial District at Bay and King as Toronto's premier location for high-end office space. Since the South Core's office towers are almost all recently built, having been constructed to meet contemporary demands and specifications, they are generally better equipped to meet current business needs than their Financial District predecessors, some of which date to the 1960s and even earlier, and which are now renovating in an effort to remain relevant.

Sun Life Financial Tower & Harbour Plaza Residences, Menkes Developments, HOOPPThe Harbour Plaza Residences beginning to rise above the podium, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor stjames2queenwest

Standing alongside the Sun Life Financial Tower, the two architectsAlliance-designed Harbour Plaza Residences buildings will bring residential density to the area. All three towers will be directly connected to the PATH network, as well as the extensive retail options in the complex's podium. The two towers are now rising approximately ten storeys above the podium, with the distinctively notched, shifting balconies becoming evident.  

Sun Life Financial Tower & Harbour Plaza Residences, Menkes Developments, HOOPPThe towers rising beside the Harbour Commision Building, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor drum118

The sculptural form of the residential towers will contrast sharply with the clean lines of the office building, giving the development a stylistic variety that will add an element of visual interest to the skyline. Inside, the decor and interior design will be appointed by Cecconi Simone, with landscaping by the NAK Design Group.  

We will keep you updated as the project develops. More information about the project can be found in our dataBase file, linked below. To get in on the discussion, feel free to leave a comment in the space provided on this page, or in the Forum thread, which features recent additional photography by Chris Kotsy