There's construction all across Toronto, and in fact it can feel as if the whole city's under construction when you move through it, but there's one site where it feel's like a whole city is under construction on one block, or at least is about to be. The Well is Toronto's largest mixed-use excavation site currently, and will continue to be for the next several months, until November that is, when the 14-month long dig is scheduled to be complete.

The Well, Toronto, developed by Diamond Corp, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, WoodbourneA view from Sunday, April 8, of the excavation pit for The Well, image by UT Forum contributor Keyz

In the quiet weekend shot above, you can see most of the bright-green painted equipment parked near the northwest corner of the site near Wellington Avenue, but to carve out the huge site, the shovels are normally scattered across it, feeding 500 truck loads a day with excavate. By the time the excavation is complete, 690,000 cubic metres of material will have been tucked offsite.

The Well, Toronto, developed by Diamond Corp, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, WoodbourneLooking west from Front and Spadina on April 9, image by UT Forum contributor AHK

The task is being accomplished by 9 excavators, 3 bulldozers, and 1 loader. Front Street is being kept clean by 2 full-time street sweepers. The excavators are heading down to 23 m or 75 ft in the middle of the site, with 6 below grade levels created (only 4 below the office tower at the east end), while a 7th partial underground level will be built to service a pair of cisterns for Enwave which will be dug significantly deeper—approximately another 37 m or 121 ft further down—on part of the site.

The Well, Toronto, developed by Diamond Corp, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, WoodbourneLooking west along the Wellington Street frontage on April 9, image by UT Forum contributor AHK

The perimeter caisson walls of the excavation are 821 metres long, and they include steel soldier piles inserted deep into the underlying shale (the shale starts about 11.5 m or 35 ft down on average here), to hold up walls with enough cement in them to building a typical 10-storey Toronto apartment building, wth all of its floors slabs, walls, and columns.

The Well, Toronto, developed by Diamond Corp, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, WoodbourneApplying insulation onto the walls below 401 Wellington building, image by UT Forum contributor tstormers

Eventually, the underground levels of The Well will include four levels of parking with spaces for 1,732 vehicles, one level mostly made up of loading docks—15 for commercial operations on the site and 6 for residential servicing—while another level, the closest to the surface, while contain a significant amount of The Well's retail space. The size of the hole being dug to incorporate all of this is comparable in size to 10,000 average backyard swimming pools.

The Well, Toronto, developed by Diamond Corp, RioCan, Allied, Tridel, WoodbourneDrill starting the second row of tie-backs along the Wellington Street retaining wall, image by UT Forum contributor AHK

It's such a big project, we will be back with much more over the coming months. In the meantime, you can find extensive imagery of The Well in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to talk about it? You can get in on the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.