Just north of the railway tracks near the foot of Yonge Street, a newly installed pedestrian crosswalk marks the Downtown Toronto intersection of Yonge and The Esplanade. At the foot of the all but completed Backstage On The Esplanade condominium, the corner marks the beginning of a well-established stretch of tourist-friendly restaurants. As new residential density comes to the St. Lawrence neighbourhood, however, the stretch between Yonge and Church is poised to become slightly more varied in its offerings, beginning with the 36-storey Backstage tower.

Backstage on The Esplanade, Cityzen, Fernbrook, Castlepoint Numa, TorontoBackstage On the Esplanade, image by Stefan Novakovic

Designed by Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects, the Cityzen Development Group, Fernbrook Homes, and Castlepoint Numa project is already home to hundreds of residents as construction wraps up and amenity spaces take shape. As exterior finishes—including balcony railings and porcelain cladding—conclude, the construction managers are working to secure landscape permits to begin work on the new Esplanade sidewalk, with a July start date cited on the project's construction website. 

Backstage on The Esplanade, Cityzen, Fernbrook, Castlepoint Numa, TorontoPodium levels, Backstage On the Esplanade, image by Stefan Novakovic

Appointed by Claude Cormier + Associés, widened sidewalks and new plantings will make for a more engaging and pedestrian-friendly environment. A pair of retail spaces are also set to open at the base of the tower—though tenants have not yet been announced—hopefully to bring some animation to the south side of the street. 

Immediately to the north, another change is underway. Occupied by the 58-storey L Tower and the adjoining Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, the north side of the street is evolving, as longstanding renovations to the Sony Centre continue. Directly across Scott Street, meanwhile, the recently shuttered 'Condo Store' sales centre is making way for new retail, while changes are also coming to the nearby stretch of restaurants.

Backstage on The Esplanade, Cityzen, Fernbrook, Castlepoint Numa, TorontoSony Centre, looking west, image by Stefan Novakovic

Expanding into the former Fionn MacCool's chain pub at the corner of Esplanade and Church, the new 19,000 ft² BierMarkt will come online as a collaboration with Chicago-based brewer Goose Island, opening in July. With renovations to the former BierMarkt space wrapping up, the pub/restaurant is being retrofitted to feature Goose Island brewing facilities on-site, including a number of seasonal Toronto-specific offerings. 

Back on the south side of the street, the surface parking lot just east of the Novotel's colonnade finally appears to have its days numbered. Harhay and Carterra's plans to replace the lot with a high-rise condominium at 75 The Esplanade date back to early 2015, a series of revisions to the architectsAlliance-designed project have gradually brought the plans closer in line with the City's planning priorities and the local community's input.

75 on The Esplanade, Toronto, by Harhay, Carterra, architectsAlliance Previous rendering, 75 on The Esplanade, image via Harhay / Carttera

Now proposed as a 29-storey tower, an updated submission earlier this year further refined the plans. Setbacks have been increased to create a slightly larger public realm, while the unit mix has also been amended to prioritize larger suites. 36 three-bedroom units (averaging at about 1,100 ft² in size) are now planned.   

We will keep you updated as work on Backstage on the Esplanade continues, and the street continues to evolve. In the meantime, further information about the project is available via our Database file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the conversation in our associated Forum thread.