In late 2014, when the vibrant cladding that now adorns the Parliament Street Data Centre was first installed, the Downtown colocation centre brought a visually engaging new presence just north of Toronto's Distillery District. Paying homage to the patterns of early computer punchcards, a bright skin of ribbed and smooth porcelain panels gave a sense of character to a building that—housing servers—might otherwise have been just a box. Adding aesthetic diversity to the block, a second data centre is now being planned immediately to the north, with an interplay of lighter-toned brick cladding set to meet Front Street.

Downtown Data Centre, Toronto, by Urbacon, BRL Realty, WZMHLooking southeast across Front and Parliament streets to the new Downtown Data Centre, image via Urbacon

Replacing the Toronto Public Library's former administrative building (now demolished), the new Downtown Data Centre would be located at the southeast corner of Front and Parliament streets. Similar in massing and scale to its southern counterpart, the four-storey, 168,000 ft² building would be largely occupied by data floors, with the three upper storeys entirely dedicated to technical uses. Like its neighbour, the building's skin references early computer technology, with the punchcard cladding pattern creating an architectural dialogue across the two materially varied forms. 

Downtown Data Centre, Toronto, by Urbacon, BRL Realty, WZMHThe ground floor, image via Urbacon

At street level, meanwhile, the building's Parliament Street frontage would be occupied by office space, as well as a small lobby, with data storage facilities to the east. Along the south frontage, loading and vehicle access to the 30-car underground garage would be provided via the laneway that wraps around the site to the south and east.

Downtown Data Centre, Toronto, by Urbacon, BRL Realty, WZMHAerial view of the existing data centre, along with the second site prior to demolition (r-l), image by Jack Landau

Designed by Toronto's WZMH Architects, the first phase of the Parliament Data Centre was built by Urbacon for multinational data centre operator Equinix. While Urbacon—and property owners BRL Realty—are also developing the new phase, it appears that the new facility will not be managed by Equinix, but is one of four centres in Ontario and Quebec which Urbacon is branding under the name Urbacon Data Centre Solutions.  

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available, and the project advances through the planning process. In the meantime, you can learn more about the Downtown Data Centre and the Parliament Street Data Centre by checking out our dataBase files, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the conversation in our associated Forum threads.