As the Government of Canada prepares to vacate Toronto's Dominion Public Building across from Union Station after 86 years, a more permanent home is being prepared for its 1,900 federal employees. Now, two buildings at Yonge and St Clair, also home to some Federal ministry offices, are being retrofitted for Public Services and Procurement Canada to house the Ontario flagship offices of the Federal Government in a newly redesigned Arthur Meighen Building. Named for the 9th Prime Minister of Canada, the building will house Ontario’s branch of the Canada Revenue Agency and several other Federal ministries when it is completed in 2022.

Arthur Meighen Building, DIALOGRendering of the Arthur Meighen Building rehabilitation project, image by DIALOG

The building aims to set the standard for Carbon-Neutral buildings in Canada, leading the charge on the Federal Government’s initiative to have a completely carbon neutral building portfolio by 2030. The massive renovation project involves multi-disciplinary firm DIALOG working with the Canadian Green Building Council as part of a pilot project to set a new standard for Zero Carbon Buildings. The certification requires that the building significantly reduce its carbon emissions and offset the remaining balance through clean energy production in its first 12 months of operation. The Arthur Meighen building is one of 16 selected to participate in the pilot project which also includes the Oxford Properties Toronto South Core office tower proposal The HUB, which is currently in the planning process. The Meighen building will achieve a zero-carbon designation through an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, geothermal heating, and photo-voltaic solar panels.

Arthur Meighen Building, DIALOGAriel rendering of the solar panels atop the Arthur Meighen Building, image by DIALOG

Not only will systems be put in place to curb energy consumption, but the design of the building itself will provide efficiency. The building will be gutted for structural and electrical engineering purposes all while improving the architecture to a more modern, yet classic design. Diagonally stepped glazing traverses the limestone clad building to serve two purposes; paying tribute to the two existing buildings, and creating a light-filled environment on the interior that encourages use of the building’s feature staircases and communal workspaces.

Looking south at the two buildings at 25 and 55 St Clair West, TorontoLooking south at the two buildings at 55 and 25 St Clair West that will be rehabilitated, image from Google Maps

The Government is also making efforts to integrate major accessibility features into the core of the retrofitted building. They have touted their partnership with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to implement an assistive devices network not only throughout the building itself but also in the surrounding neighbourhood. The plan is to install beacons at local businesses that will communicate with the smart devices of those with disabilities, offering a descriptive narration of what is happening around them. 

Arthur Meighen Building, DIALOGInterior rendering of the feature staircases and communal work spaces, image by DIALOG

Concern has ben noted in the UrbanToronto Forum regarding the preservation of the late-deco stylings framing the current building at 25 St Clair East, specifically the Bas-Relief spandrels featuring etched designs of forested and lakeside landscapes. Might the design elements remain on the exterior, or might they be integrated into the building's interior?

Arthur Meighen Building, DIALOGView of the Late-Deco framing at the ground level of 25 St Clair E, image retrieved from Google Street View

Bas-Relief spandrels over te entrance to 25 St. Clair West, image Google MapsBas-Relief spandrels over the entrance to 25 St Clair West, image from Google Maps

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 thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.

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