This morning, having entered through the restored doors of the Concourse Building, executives and employees of Oxford Properties and EY Canada gathered in the lobby of their new Richmond Adelaide Centre office tower, along with some of the architects and planners who made the day's opening celebrations possible.

The restored doors of the Concourse Building lead to the EY Tower lobby, TorontoThe restored entrance to the Concourse Building leads to the EY Tower lobby, image by Craig White

The EY Tower is a 40-storey addition to the multi-building complex taking up the block between York and Sheppard streets and Richmond and Adelaide streets in Downtown Toronto. The new building, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox of New York and WZMH Architects of Toronto replaces the 16-storey Art Deco Concourse Building which used to rise at the southeast corner of the site. The 1928-built Concourse Building came to fall increasingly below code over the years as Oxford sought ways to adapt it to meet modern standards, but no business case was found that might have saved it, even as residential suites or as a hotel. Instead, the building was eventually allowed to be demolished, other than its highly regarded exterior Art Deco embellishments and interior artworks by Group of Seven member JEH Macdonald and his son Thoreau, all of which were saved and restored.

The facade was catalogued by heritage specialists GBCA Architects and rebuilt (now at 13 storeys, reflecting the higher ceilings of today's office towers), by Clifford Restoration and PCL, who oversaw construction of the entire project. Mosaics and other artworks were returned—now glistening—to the refabricated walls, while Macdonald-painted ceilings were brought into the new building's lobby, but now installed vertically in specially built cases. It was in this area that tables and food stations were brought in to add to the celebratory atmosphere.

EY Tower opening festivities in TorontoEY Canada and Oxford Properties employees gathered along with others who help create the EY Tower, image by Craig White

At 11 AM, David Costello and Blake Hutcheson of Oxford Properties spoke, followed by Eric F. Rawlinson of EY Canada, about the new home that anchor tenant EY has secured naming rights on. Oxford will also be moving their Canadian Head Offices into the building, while there will be other tenants sharing the building as well.

Ribbon cutting for the EY Tower in Toronto, Blake Hutcheson, Eric F. RawlinsonBlake Hutcheson of Oxford and Eric F. Rawlinson or EY cut the ribbon, image by Craig White

The new tower is clad in silver-blue glass, and would be a rectangle save for the significant chamfers and protrusions on the south, west and north walls. The first sloping cut into the rectangle was to the roofline, keeping it from adding new shadow to Nathan Phillips Square a block and a half to the north. Other cuts in the building were suggested by the first, and separate the building from the typical 'Toronto Box' of the city's Downtown skyline. The Concourse Building facade adds significant visual interest and a reminder of the city's history closer to ground. 

EY Tower in Downtown Toronto rises behind the Concourse Building facadeThe EY Tower in Downtown Toronto rises behind the Concourse Building facade, image by Craig White

For more information on the building, including renderings from several more angles than above, you will find our dataBase file for the EY Tower lined below. To get in on the conversation or to see many more photographs of the building over the course of its construction, check out the associated Forum thread. Feel free to leave a comment there or in the space provided at the bottom of this page.