One week shy of three months ago, a ground breaking ceremony was held to celebrate the start of construction at Ivanhoé Cambridge and HinesCIBC Square, a new Toronto office complex that will soon add 49 and 54-storey towers to Bay Street south of Front. Designed by UK-based WilkinsonEyre Architects working with local firm Adamson Associates, CIBC Square will bring 2.9 million ft² of commercial space to Downtown Toronto, including a new headquarters for global financial institution CIBC, along with a new Union Station GO bus terminal.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, TorontoOverview of the CIBC Square phase 1 site, image by Forum contributor Michael62

In the time since the project kicked off, crews from GFL have been hard at work preparing the first phase 49-storey tower site at 81 Bay Street for the start of excavation. When we last reported on the project's early stages in late July, a large earthen berm was being formed along the north end of the phase 1 site, rising to the height of the adjacent elevated rail corridor. The berm was used as a platform to construct a large caisson wall earth retention system, going deep into the ground. This element of shoring—the resulting wall will support the rail tracks during construction—is now largely complete, paving the way for the start of tieback installation.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, TorontoFacing west across the CIBC Square phase 1 site, image by Forum contributor cc46

The newest images of the site show tieback drilling rigs now getting down to work. During the tieback installation process, the rigs bore slender holes through the concrete caisson walls and into the surrounding soil or bedrock, with steel rods inserted into them. Pressurized grout is then pumped in, increasing the surrounding soil's resistance and keeping the caisson walls upright and stable.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, TorontoTieback rigs in action on the north berm, image by Forum contributor Michael62

UrbanToronto Forum contributor Michael62—who has a great vantage point from a nearby condo tower to the south—has summarized the recent activity on site in a recent post in the project's Forum thread, stating: "The tieback machines are working their way long the top of the berm and along the west wall next to Bay Street. They finished doing the first row along Lake Shore under the Gardiner. The tie back machines consume a lot of water, there are a water tankers and one very large open top container that is constantly being refilled. They are down to 2 working boring machines. One is working on the north side of the 18 Yonge St building, and the other is now at ground level working away on the last little stretch in front of the Bay East Teamway."

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, TorontoFacing southwest across the CIBC Square phase 1 site, image by Forum contributor cc46

Another view of the work comes from UrbanToronto Forum contributor whose vantage point from atop the 18 Yonge podium looks down over the east end of a thin strip of the CIBC Square property. Here, a shoring rig is being used to prepare this elevated piece of ground to also be removed: this strip will become a vehicular access from Yonge Street to the underground garage and loading facilities.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, TorontoFacing northeast towards Yonge Street from 18 Yonge, image by Forum contributor cc46

The projected completion of CIBC Square's south tower and GO Bus terminal in 2020 will free up the space being used as the current GO terminal, immediately north of the tracks. This site will then be cleared to make way for the 54-storey north tower at 141 Bay. The two towers will be connected via a new public park that bridges over the rail tracks, turning what has historically been a barrier between the city and waterfront into a space that helps to unite the Downtown/South Core divide formed by the rail tracks and Gardiner Expressway.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, TorontoCIBC Square, image courtesy of Ivanhoé Cambridge/Hines

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available, and construction of the phase one tower continues. In the meantime, you can learn more about the project via our updated database file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread.