The hardhat tour has always been an interesting part of the UrbanToronto employee experience. Whether touring a topped-out high-rise or a half built mid-rise, the feeling of donning a hardhat and boots and stepping through the gate in the hoarding has been a reliably memorable experience. It isn’t difficult to get caught up in the moment touring a construction site, be it an 11th storey rooftop or a 30th floor balcony, the resulting feeling of awe is much the same. There are of course certain tours that take us above and beyond, and quite literally so in this instance. Last week we were lucky enough to get shown around Cityzen, Fernbrook and Castlepoint’s high-profile L Tower, now structurally topped off at Yonge and Front.

Topped off L Tower, viewed from the west, image by Jack Landau

Construction hoist and externally mounted tower crane, image by Jack Landau

Like many tours, the first stop is the top, and the preferred route of external hoist certainly isn’t for those prone to acrophobia. Exiting the hoist just below the uppermost residential floor, we notice a small metal gangway leading from the building to the externally mounted tower crane. This is the dizzying route, below, that crane operator (and UrbanToronto celebrity) Rob MacFarlane — better known online as SkyJacked — takes to work every day.

Gangway between the crane and building, image by Craig White

This is where Rob climbs to.

L-Tower crane above the structural top ridge, image by Craig White

This is Rob. He's still a ways above the top mechanical floor. Hi Rob!

L-Tower crane operator Robert MacFarlane, better known online as SkyJacked, image by Craig White

This is a zoomed-in shot of Rob: you can see every pore!

L-Tower crane operator Robert MacFarlane, better known online as SkyJacked, image by Jack Landau

We arrive at the top mechanical floor of the curving Daniel Libeskind-designed tower, surrounded by sweeping panoramic views in all directions. The views are all familiar to Forum members who frequent the L Tower thread, but even knowing what they would look like in advance didn’t prepare us for the surprise and beauty of experiencing it all firsthand.  

Western view from the top of the L-Tower, image by Jack Landau

Looking around Toronto from 60+ floors gives you a true sense of the L-Tower's impressive scale. The CN Tower and Southcore to the west stand out against the always photogenic Humber Bay in the photo above. Mammoth bank towers of the Financial District clustered to the northwest appear to terminate around eye-level, while dropping off like a cliff at Yonge Street to the north. 

Northwest view towards Financial District, image by Jack Landau

Looking down at Yonge Street, a larger floorplate is visible due to the building's curving profile, image by Jack Landau

Our tour guides from Dominus Construction taking in the stunning northern view, image by Craig White

To the northeast we see the St. Lawrence neighbourhood and..hmmm…is that the UrbanToronto office?

Northeast view from the top of the L Tower, image by Jack Landau

Looking due east, we see the southern end of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood and the Distillery District, with the rail tracks and Gardiner Expressway dividing off the Port Lands and East Bayfront to the south. 

Eastern view of St. Lawrence, Distillery District and Gardiner, image by Jack Landau

The southern view, seen here through RCS (Rail Climbing System) protection panels, looks out over the Harbour, the Toronto Islands, the Leslie Street Spit, and Lake Ontario. In fact on a clearer day it would have even been possible to see the Niagara Falls skyline draped in mist from the falls.

Southern view over Lake Ontario and Toronto Islands, image by Jack Landau

After taking in the views, Craig White, our fearless Managing Editor, [ed: I could remove that line, but I'm feeling comfortably smug about it] took the opportunity to make the final ascent to the structural peak of the building alone—without even the aid of a Sherpa. At this location, we can see the place where the recently poured final bucket contained a lucky loonie. Embedded there by site workers, it's a nationwide tradition famously dating back to the arena ice at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Structural peak of the L-Tower, image by Craig White

For a wider look at the tower's raised western peak, we turn to another image by crane operator SkyJacked, showing the incline at which the roofline rises.

Structural peak of the L-Tower viewed from crane, image by forum member SkyJacked

Since there is just so much to see at the L-Tower, we will return in the coming days for a look at the roughed-in interior spaces on the floors below. In the meantime, additional information and renderings regarding the L-Tower can be found at the associated dataBase page, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the related Forum thread, here, or voice your opinion in the comments section below.


Related Companies:  Castlepoint Numa, Cityzen Development Group, Claude Cormier + Associés, Fernbrook Homes, Milborne Group, Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects, Studio Daniel Libeskind, Studio Munge