Touring the individual construction sites which comprise Toronto’s massive building boom affords UrbanToronto the opportunity to bring you views of the growing city from many angles, and specially rarified raised vantage points. Yesterday we presented the first installment of our tour through Cityzen and Fernbrook’s Waterlink at Pier 27, an interconnected group of mid-rise condominiums at Yonge and Queens Quay. The complex is normally seen as apart from the city, out on the edge of redevelopment along the lake, but we can show you today that the views offered from within are right up there with the heavyweight class high-rises which dominate the landscape to the north. If you haven’t had the chance to take a look at Part 1 of our tour, we offer this link by way of introduction to this modern architectsAlliance-designed complex. 

Equidistant from three distinct parts of the city—the Financial District, St Lawrence and the industrial port area—and sitting at the de-facto eastern border of the bustling Harbourfront neighbourhood and tourist district, Pier 27 offers a remarkable range of views to fit every taste. The western views are dominated by the towers of the rapidly growing mixed-use Southcore district near Union Station, with the Yonge Street slip and ferry docks in the immediate foreground. Looking across the parking lot which will one day become parkland, we see the engineless MS Jadran, more commonly known as Captain John’s, still defiantly moored (stuck would be more accurate) in the silt-filled Yonge Street slip.

Captain John's and the Yonge Street Slip to the west, image by Jack Landau

Though the fate of Jadran is a current hot topic, the western view also provides a great view of the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal docks, as well as a perfectly lined up view of the runway at Billy Bishop Airport in the distance.

Ferry unloading at the Bay Street Ferry Docks, image by Jack Landau

Looking southwest towards the runway at Billy Bishop Airport, image by Jack Landau

To the northwest, the downtown skyline serves as a backdrop to the brutalist Toronto Star complex, a polarizing example of 1970s architecture, and currently the focus of a massive redevelopment proposal.

Toronto Star complex and downtown skyline, image by Jack Landau

Readjusting our eyes and lenses towards the growing cluster of downtown skyscrapers, we lock in on another major collaboration between Cityzen and Fernbrook; the iconic L Tower, under construction at Yonge and The Esplanade.

The L Tower visible to the north, image by Jack Landau

Looking directly north, the Gardiner Expressway acts as a southern boundary to the historic St Lawrence neighbourhood. In the image below, key landmarks like the spire of St James Cathedral (centre left), and Context Developments’ Market Wharf (right) represent the neighbourhood’s eclectic mix of old and new.

Northeast view towards the St Lawrence neighbourhood, image by Jack Landau

As mentioned in Part 1, Pier 27 sits adjacent to the Redpath Sugar refinery, the last remaining industrial facility on Toronto’s central waterfront. Though much of the view of this facility is obscured by the eastern building’s precast concrete wall for safety reasons, there are still some vantage points where for the time being one can catch a glimpse of the day to day activity at this plant. Though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the eastern view certainly brings a unique element to the table.

The Redpath Sugar plant to the east, image by Jack Landau

Though Redpath is a reminder of the central waterfront’s past, looking to the southeast offers a view of where the industrial port moved to. In the photo below, a lake freighter in need of a coat of paint can be seen docked. The green ship in the foreground was being unloaded of its sugar at Redpath while we were visiting.

Southeast view towards the port area, image by Jack Landau

The southern views stand in stark contrast to the bustling city life and industry found looking in every other direction. Harbour tour boat Oriole heads east in the foreground while a Toronto Island Ferry departs the Ward’s Island dock full of citybound passengers in the distance. Looking into the distance, one can see patches of bare leafless trees amongst the green fingers of Tommy Thompson Park, a result of nesting cormorants.

Southern view across Toronto Harbour, image by Craig White

One more turn to towards the southwest and we get a glimpse of Toronto harbour's most enduring symbols, the ferries which ply the harbour carrying people to and from the green oasis of the Toronto Islands.

Southern view across Toronto Harbour, image by Craig White

We've saved the best for last! We return next with Pier 27’s upper floors featuring the signature bridges.

In the meantime, please visit the dataBase listing posted below or additional information, including building facts and renderings. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out one of the associated Forum threads, or voice your opinion in the comments section, provided below.

Related Companies:  architectsAlliance, Cityzen Development Group, Fernbrook Homes, Isotherm Engineering Ltd., Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, Studio Munge, The MBTW Group | W Architect Inc, Walters Group