Excavation is in full swing at the future site of CIBC Square at 81 Bay Street in Downtown Toronto. The first of two phases at the Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines project, will stand in 2020 as the tallest office building constructed in Toronto since the 1990 completion of the TD-Canada Trust Tower. Designed by UK-based WilkinsonEyre Architects with locally based Adamson Associates as Architects of Record, the complex will add 49- and 54-storey towers to the east side of Bay Street between Front Street and Lake Shore Boulevard.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, Adamson, TorontoCIBC Square site, image by UT Forum contributor Michael62

At the time of our last update on construction activity for the first phase 49-storey tower, crews from GFL were in the process of shoring and installing tiebacks in preparation for the sites excavation. In the 11 weeks since, excavation for the project's three underground levels has kicked into high gear.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, Adamson, TorontoView into growing excavation at CIBC Square site, image by Forum contributor Jasonzed

The current digging activity is unearthing the site's past as remnants of early 20th century infilling of Toronto Harbour are exposed again. At the time, docks with greater draught for larger ships were extending the city's waterfront southward into deeper water. The timber retaining walls of the older, shallower docks are now being revealed by GFL's excavators.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, Adamson, TorontoTimber retaining wall unearthed at CIBC Square site, image by Forum contributor Michael62

A cluster of these timber piles are being stored onsite, their age apparent.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, Adamson, TorontoRemnants of timber retaining wall, image by Forum contributor drum118

Parallel to Bay Street along the site's west edge, a structure has been formed below which a rough-in area is being reserved for future expansion/reconfiguration of the Harbourfront Streetcar's Union Loop. The Downtown transit hub is affecting the site in another way; a new Union Station GO bus terminal will be built into the first phase. Once it is open, the site of existing facility to the north will be freed up for to allow development of CIBC Square Phase 2.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, Adamson, TorontoWest side of the CIBC Square site, image by Forum contributor Michael62

Upon completion, the 49-storey first phase and the follow-up 54-storey second phase will house a combined 2.9 million ft² of commercial space, much of it for global financial institution CIBC's new headquarters, retail, a new park over the rail corridor, and the new GO bus terminal.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, Adamson, TorontoPhases 1 (L) and 2 (R) of CIBC Square, image courtesy of Ivanhoé Cambridge/Hines

We will keep you updated as construction 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.