Toronto has had a long history of opening and closing publicly accessible observation decks. Among the many viewing decks that declined in popularity after the CN Tower's 1976 opening, the City Hall observation deck is still an extremely popular destination during the annual Doors Open Toronto celebrations. During May 2009's Doors Open Festival, the southwest facing view from the City Hall overlooked a few construction sites in the Entertainment District, and some more beyond. Several cranes can be seen in the image below, including those of the 42-storey Festival Tower and tiff Bell Lightbox in the foreground. The West Harbour City crane can be seen further to the southwest, atop the topped-off 36-storey condo development.

View southwest from the City Hall observation deck, May 2009, image by Edward Skira

Only seven years later, a view from the same vantage point captured in May 2016 reveals major changes to the cityscape. In addition to the long-complete Festival Tower, countless condominium towers have been added to the view, eliminating distant views of Lake Ontario and far-off projects like the completed West Harbour City. The most major change in this frame is the addition of the 66-storey Living Shangri-La condominium and hotel tower, visible towering over the brutalist Hilton Hotel. From left to right, the photo also shows new completed additions including the 47-storey Theatre Park, the 35-storey tower at Boutique Condos, 33-storey The Mercer, the 42-storey Festival Tower, the 41- and 31-storey towers of Studio and Studio2 on Richmond, the 46-storey Pinnacle on Adelaide, and the 43-storey Cinema Tower. The 42-storey The Bond can be seen topping off on the right hand side of the image, while the completed Peter Street Condos can be seen near the right edge of the image.

View southwest from the City Hall observation deck, May 2016, image by Marcus Mitanis

We will return next week with another look at the changing face of Toronto!

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