A gathering of press, photographers, and a selection of executives and local politicians—including First Gulf CEO David Gerofsky, Ontario MPP Glen Murray, Toronto Mayor John Tory, and Publisher and CEO for the Globe and Mail, Phillip Crawley—came together in what will soon be the grand lobby for the new Globe and Mail Centre, designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and developed by First Gulf, to celebrate the topping-off ceremony, a major construction milestone.

Huddled in the cavernous front entrance—made festive and warm with the addition of several patio heaters, a coffee and refreshment table, and a hard-hat-donning DJ duo playing a mix of smooth jazz and classic Christmas songs—the proceedings began just after noon, with each speaker allowed ample time to acknowledge all involved in the project. 

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoThe crowd gathers in the future lobby of the Globe and Mail Centre, image by Jack Landau

First to the podium was First Gulf CEO David Gerofsky, who declared the occasion to be "a day of thanks," continuing on to say that the opening of the Globe and Mail Centre will represent "the start of the revitalization of King Street East," one which will bring "21st-century technology, jobs, and development to the downtown east side." Gerofsky concluded his remarks by offering a warm welcome to his fellow speakers, bringing MPP Glen Murray to the stage. 

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoFirst Gulf CEO, David Gerofsky, image by Jack Landau

Ontario Liberal MPP and Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray, was second to speak, letting slip right away that he reads the Globe and Mail every day, and that in fact, his home would now be in view of the new headquarters. In line with his political office, MPP Murray praised the Globe and Mail Centre for what its addition to the urban fabric means for the future of Toronto, citing the need for "good-quality residential and office space [which in turn promotes] density and transit growth." From an environmental perspective, MPP Murray was also quick to mention the development's LEED Gold rating, which beyond being green-friendly, will save money in the long run through its built-in efficiencies, fitting nicely within what the minister referred to as a the larger, "low carbon economy" of the future. 

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoOntario MPP Glen Murray, image by Jack Landau

Third to the podium was Toronto Mayor John Tory, who brought his regular jocularity and good graces to the stand, opening his remarks with a quip concerning the tough morning he had had with the editorial board at the Globe, and his subsequent requirement of "pulmonary resuscitation," following their hardball questions and demands. All joking aside, the Mayor was quick to point out that he does not make a habit of attending every ground-breaking and topping-off ceremony in the city, saving himself for the projects he deems most significant to the future of Toronto, the Globe and Mail Centre being one. The Mayor was also sure to thank all involved in the project, declaring the celebration of this "iconic" new addition to the city to be an "exciting day for Toronto." 

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoToronto Mayor John Tory, image by Jack Landau

Last, but not least, Publisher and CEO of the Globe and Mail, Phillip Crawley took to the stage, opening his remarks by declaring that, "a modern media company needs a modern building." From here, Crawley praised the newspaper industry as being the "cornerstone of democracy," their headquarters and place of business to thus be a place befitting of such reverence and esteem. In terms of the building itself, Crawley explained that the Globe and Mail Centre would include a designated space for its Globe Events, a place for the exchange of new ideas, discussion, and debate. Crawley concluded with the assertion that the new headquarters would be a "real delight" for the staff, who had in the former office space been forced to work in a space that no longer functioned for what had long since become a modern, 21st-century outfit.

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoPublisher and CEO for the Globe and Mail, Phillip Crawley, image by Jack Landau

After the applause had subsided, and the photo-op had come to an end, all four of the speakers graced the cement wall with their signatures, each offering their own unique send-off to the building, their words to be forever sealed under the layers of insulation, drywall, and paint that will soon be installed as construction draws to a close over the course of 2016. "Welcome to the hood," was written by MPP Murray, followed by Tory's, "Great jobs in a green building! Congrats," proceeded by Crawley's declaration, "An historic day. Great for the Globe, followed by Gerofsky's short, but sweet, "We did it!". 

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoDignitary signatory John Tory and others, image by Jack Landau

Following the ceremony, UrbanToronto was invited up to the roof for a tour, capturing some great views from atop the seventeenth floor office level, directly below the mechanical level above. On the way up—sans elevator—our intrepid photographer Jack Landau was able to also get some shots of the roughed-in office space for future tenant Yellow Pages (which will be joined by LoyaltyOne, along with anchor tenant, the Globe and Mail), followed by some staggering views of the surrounding urban environment. 

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoLobby and central hallway connecting King and Front Street entrances, image by Jack Landau

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoFuture home of Yellow Pages, midway up, image by Jack Landau

Progressing up to the seventeenth floor, and given the relative lack of high-rise density in the downtown east side (at least for the time being), the views of the skyline from atop the Globe and Mail Centre are unobstructed, the west and northwest views offering dramatic skyline views of the core, while the east view highlights the changes underway for the Lower Don Lands and surroundings. The view from up top also reveals that it will not be long until the density that now defines the core will soon spread eastward towards the Distillery District and south towards the lake.

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoSkyline view, looking west, image by Jack Landau

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoSkyline view, looking northwest, image by Jack Landau

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoLooking east, image by Jack Landau

The Globe and Mail Centre will feature a series of outdoor terraces, the structure itself to be clad in a two-tone glass curtain wall. While touring the upper levels of the structure, both the terrace level of one of the offices, along with a unique view of the top of the cladding, were photographed, revealing some of the construction process currently underway. From just below the rooftop mechanical level, crews were hard at work, the roof littered with construction materials and equipment, an active crane still installed while work continues over the winter. 

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoOffice terrace, image by Jack Landau

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoCladding from above, image by Jack Landau

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoGlobe and Mail south terrace and mechanical level, image by Jack Landau

Back at street level, exterior shots of the structure reveal the size and scope of the soon to be complete project. Taken just the day before the ceremony, these images give the best idea of how the finished product will appear once construction wraps up by the end of 2016.

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoGlobe and Mail Centre, viewed from King Street, image by Marcus Mitanis

Globe and Mail Centre, First Gulf, TorontoGlobe and Mail Centre, alternate view, image by Marcus Mitanis

Once complete, the Globe and Mail Centre will add 500,000 sq. ft. of LEED Gold office space to Toronto's downtown east side, its seventeen storeys to be occupied by anchor tenant, the Globe and Mail, to take up floors 13-17, along with Yellow Pages on floors 9-12, and LoyaltyOne taking up floors 2-6. The other floors, including the 1st, 7th, and 8th levels are available for lease, the ground level to be taken up by a mixture of lobby and retail space. Once occupied, the Globe and Mail Centre will bring hundreds of workers to the eastern stretches of downtown Toronto, an effort which will be supported in large part by the soon to open Canary District to the east, as well as the imminent opening of several other condo projects in the surrounding area. 

UrbanToronto will be sure to provide updates on the Globe and Mail Centre as progress continues into the New Year. For more information, check out our dataBase file for the project, linked below, and you are encouraged to join the conversation in our associated Forum thread, or to add your thoughts to the comments on this page.