Since mid-2017, a $100 million renewal project has been active at Toronto's 1975-built Manulife Centre at Bay and Bloor, set to expand the lower levels of the complex's office tower with new retail and restaurant space. Interior gutting of many of the previous ground floor retailers and demolition of the exterior walls and surrounding landscaping commenced in June, and is now largely complete. Most recently, the first steel structural elements of the Moed de Armas & Shannon and B+H Architects-designed addition have materialized at the corner of Bloor and Balmuto.

Manulife Centre, Toronto, Bay, Bloor, Balmuto, Moed de Armas & Shannon, B+HSteel structural elements at Bloor and Balmuto, image by Jack Landau

The two-storey steel frame wrapping around the western corner of Bloor and Balmuto marks the first visible sign of the new addition. Images captured over the weekend indicate that the addition's steel skeleton is being assembled at its full two-storey height, and will be extended from this corner to the south and to the west. As the new structure takes shape, removal of the old base's concrete slabs continues, while support work for the addition continues behind the scenes on the P1 and concourse levels.

Manulife Centre, Toronto, Bay, Bloor, Balmuto, Moed de Armas & Shannon, B+HSteel structure for the Manulife Centre addition, image by Jack Landau

Upon completion in 2019, the Manulife Centre addition will introduce 35,000 ft² of new retail space, 50,000 ft² of which will become a Giannone Petricone-designed Eataly, the first Canadian location of the international Italian food hall chain. 

Manulife Centre, Toronto, Bay, Bloor, Balmuto, Moed de Armas & Shannon, B+HManulife Centre addition, image courtesy of Manulife

New retail and the long-anticipated Eataly location will be joined by new lobby spaces for the office tower above, to feature interiors by GH+A Design. Surrounding the new addition, the sidewalks—despite being narrower—will still be wider than the average Toronto sidewalk, and the public realm design by B+H Architects may end up offering a better pedestrian experience, placing retailers closer to the street with the potential to foster a closer interaction between the complex and passersby.

Manulife Centre, Toronto, Bay, Bloor, Balmuto, Moed de Armas & Shannon, B+HSteel structure for the Manulife Centre addition, image by Jack Landau

Additional information and images can be found in our database file for the Manulife Centre, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.