The 49-storey first phase of Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines’ CIBC Square is well under construction just south of Union Station in Downtown Toronto, as planning continues for the second phase to the north. A new Site Plan Application to the City for phase two introduces a number of revisions to the project, most notably a slight reduction in height and changes to the podium and public realm.

Designed by UK-based WilkinsonEyre Architects with Toronto's Adamson Associates serving as Architects of Record, the second phase tower's floor count has been revised from 54 floors to 50 owing to a rearrangement of mechanical space at the top of the tower, while dropping from the previously-proposed 243-metre height down to a new height of 241.4 metres. The updated plans call for 124,485 square metres (1.34 million square feet) of space.

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

A number of changes have been implemented to plans for the seven-storey podium and its public infrastructure, including details of the connecting pedestrian bridges, a mid-block connection to the elevated park, and the north portal structure that will connect the elevated park with the street.

The tower will feature a pair of elevated PATH system bridges connecting the project to buildings to the west and east, providing climate-controlled access to Union Station and to Backstage Condos respectively. The bridges would realize a long-planned connection from Union Station easterly towards buildings on The Esplanade, providing an indoor link through the CIBC North tower base. The east PATH bridge over Yonge Street will connect with an existing but closed corridor in the Backstage condo development with potential connections further east in the future.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, TorontoLooking west to phase 2 of CIBC Square, image via submission to City of Toronto

To the north of the seven-storey podium, a narrow strip of land between CIBC Square and the Dominion Public Building at 1 Front West, currently where the GO Union Bus terminal and a surface parking lot exists, will be transformed into a landscaped laneway from Bay to Yonge Street. The east half of the laneway will be lined with retail space in the CIBC North podium, while the west half will front the office tower’s lobby.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, TorontoPrivate laneway at phase 2 of CIBC Square, image via submission to City of Toronto

Halfway along the landscaped laneway, a grand staircase carves through the CIBC north podium, offering pedestrian access to the elevated park above the rail corridor between CIBC North and South. The mid-block connection has evolved in the latest plans, with a new rendering of the connection showing a series of staircases that will bring pedestrians up to park-level.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, TorontoMid-block connection at phase 2 of CIBC Square, image via submission to City of Toronto

Another prominent change is a redesign of the interface of the CIBC North tower with Bay Street. Previous plans involved a standalone north portal to provide access to the park in advance of phase two's construction. Following CIBC's announcement that the bank would anchor both towers and build them in quick succession, the new plan scraps a plan to build a north park portal in advance of work on the north tower. The redesigned Bay Street interface creates a more open pedestrian plaza and a more slender pavilion inside which pedestrians will find escalators and elevators to take them up to park level, while improving sightlines to and from the park above. A canopy extending from the tower will shelter see of the public plaza and the north end of the park.

CIBC Square, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines, WilkinsonEyre, TorontoLooking east to phase 2 of CIBC Square, image via submission to City of Toronto

To accommodate these changes, the elevated park has been redesigned slightly, including alterations to the north side of the park where it will link with both the mid-block staircase and the north portal pavilion.

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