Some people may not be convinced as of yet, but statistics have shown Toronto to be climbing the ranks of the world’s most visited cities, with numbers of international tourists on the rise and the gap being narrowed between our city and the admittedly unreachable heavyweights like New York, London and Hong Kong. The ongoing wave of redevelopment in Toronto has aided the increase in tourism, producing five-star hotel properties like The Ritz Carlton, The Trump International Hotel and Tower, The Shangri-La and the Four Seasons.

While those high-rise properties do include luxury hotels, the hotel suites are all located on the lower floors, with private condominium suites occupying the upper floors. In fact, it has been two decades since a purpose-built hotel-only tower has been constructed in Downtown Toronto, that is until work started on the new Delta Toronto, the tallest element of developer GWL Realty Advisors and owner bcIMC’s 1.4 million square-foot Southcore Financial Centre complex. As the Delta is thus far the only hotel to occupy an entire tower built during the development boom, it should come as no surprise that the upper floors here will feature the highest hotel suites in the entire city.

Southcore Financial Centre & Delta Toronto, image by Jack Landau

The 45-storey Page + Steele / IBI Group–designed tower—47 storeys if you include the two mechanical floors now under construction up top—will be the new Toronto location for Delta, a company currently described by Ken Greene, President and CEO, as undertaking a large scale rebranding. The new hotel will be the flagship property for Canadian-based chain, setting a four-star standard that Delta intends to emulate chain-wide. The company formerly operated the Delta Chelsea at Yonge and Gerrard, now renamed the Eaton Chelsea under new operators.

The Delta's final floors being built, image by Jack Landau

With construction work on the tower's structure nearly complete, guests and media personnel were invited to the hotel’s future lobby to celebrate the ceremonial topping off. While the future lobby is still a roughed in space, only recently closed off to the elements, it shows quite a bit of promise. 

Naturally lit lobby space at the Delta, image by Jack Landau

Despite the unfinished lobby's current bare concrete and exposed steel columns, the amount of natural light flooding in, both direct and reflected off of the under-construction office tower to the east, made for an impressively bright and welcoming environment.

Guests gather in the Delta's naturally lit lobby space, image by Jack Landau

Speakers at the event included David Whitaker, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto, Mansoor Kazerouni, Executive Vice President of Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects and lead architect of the project, Jean-Luc Barone, Managing Director for Delta Toronto at Southcore Financial Centre, Ken Greene, President and CEO of Delta Hotels and Resorts and Paul Finkbeiner, President of Great West Life Realty Advisors.

L-R: David Whitaker, Mansoor Kazerouni, Jean-Luc Barone, Ken Greene, Paul Finkbeiner, image by Jack Landau

Guests attending the event were invited to be a part of history by signing a steel beam, which will soon be installed as part of the building’s final floor. 

Ceremonial final beam, covered in signatures and notes, image by Jack Landau

While the steel beam is not likely to be disturbed for decades, we take comfort in knowing that future explorers combing through the archeology of our cities will one day discover our calling card.

A hand-drawn UrbanToronto calling card complete with signatures, image by Jack Landau

The design of the building both blends in and stands out, extending the district's glass and steel vernacular, but busting out of the rectangular box mould. Visibility and recognisability for non-locals was a major factor in the design of the project’s exterior details: for example, spotting the speckled tower from the Gardiner or UP Express would lead guests to the right building when on more closed-in city streets.

Explaining the tower’s built form, lead architect Mansoor Kazerouni noted how the tower has two distinct forms separated by a dark glass reveal, with the shorter north portion taking a rectilinear form while the taller south portion takes a more sculpted approach. The dark glass reveal running up the east and west façades will be lit at night, giving the tower a commanding presence on the Toronto skyline. In describing the building’s signature reflective blue cladding with randomized white accents, Mr. Kazerouni likens the accents to champagne bubbles rising up a glass, diminishing in concentration as they near the top.

White accents diminish in concentration as cladding continues to rise, image by Jack Landau

For social and corporate events, the "Delta Toronto at Southcore Financial Centre" (full name) will offer 17,000 square feet of technologically advanced meeting and conference facilities as well as a 6,000 square foot ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows. A 4,000 square foot terrace will also be available offering a premier outdoor event space with panoramic views over Roundhouse Park and nearby attractions. The hotel’s ground floor lobby will extend into a column-free 230-seat restaurant and lounge boasting another 80 seats on an patio on Bremner Boulevard. The hotel will also include health and wellness facilities including a gym, yoga studio, steam room, whirlpool and an uniquely designed indoor pool (that we will tell you more about soon… sorry about the tease!).

Future restaurant space on the ground floor of the Delta, image by Jack Landau

The growing Southcore district—already cheekily condensed to “SoCo” by some—is on its way to becoming a top destination for business travellers, with a growing list of attractions and locations within walking distance, like the Convention Centre, Rogers Centre, the CN Tower, Ripley's Aquarium, the Roundhouse and Railway Museum, the Air Canada Centre, Real Sports, Union Station, Harbourfront, and too many other bars and restaurants to list. The Delta adds another top class hotel to the area along with the Le Germain.

Stairs leading up from the lobby, image by Craig White

Having gotten a good taste of the lobby, we are excited to return soon to the Delta Toronto to climb those stairs above, and explore some of the building’s 567 guest rooms, and amenity areas, now being prepared for a late-2014 opening.

Until our return visit, additional information and renderings can be found in our dataBase file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Click on the associated Forum thread link, or voice your opinion in the comments section provided at the bottom of this page.

Related Companies:  American Standard (part of Lixil Canada Inc.), bcIMC, Champalimaud Design, Corban and Goode, EllisDon, Enwave Energy Corporation, GWL Realty Advisors, KPMB Architects, Kramer Design Associates Limited, Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects, Trillium Architectural Products