Closing out another year of our Topping Off series, we take a look at UrbanToronto's 10 most popular stories of 2016. It was another busy twelve months for our editorial team, with the relentlessly growing city giving us plenty to write about. While stories about new development dominate much of the Top 10, transit and public space—and even an illustrated glimpse at Toronto's future—round out our list.
Kicking off our list, our March storey broke the news of a plan to redevelop the prominent Yonge Street site of a Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Downtown Toronto. Designed by Quadrangle Architects, the Kingsett Capital plan calls for a pair of 45 and 65-storey towers to bring new density to the site.
Satisfying the public curiosity to envision the changing city's future, one of our most popular stories of the year offers an in-depth preview of Toronto's 2020 skyline. Created by Scott Dickson, the visual model was also analyzed in greater detail in our follow-up storey.
Another big development, and another big story. While ONE Properties' trio of high-rise towers drew a decidedly mixed review, the sheer scale of the project—and the changes it would bring to the Queen and Sherbourne area—make the story one of the most popular of the year. The project subsequently faced strong criticism at Toronto's Design Review Panel.
Transit takes the 7th spot, with our February story outlining a comprehensive new strategy for Toronto's public transportation future. Always a hot topic in Toronto, the city's transit future is perpetually evolving—and sometimes devolving—amidst the city's rapid growth.
Billed as Toronto's answer to Chicago's Millennium Park—and even New York's Central Park—Mayor Tory's proposed 21-acre green Downtown green space will probably be neither. Instead, the decked park would likely be a Toronto landmark in its own right, which is all the better. Assuming it gets built of course...
Much like the proposal to redevelop Honest Ed's and Mirvish Village, the transformation of Galleria Mall at Dufferin and Dupont evokes a complex array of hopes, concerns, and intangible gut feelings. Remaking a mall that's simultaneously a hopelessly outdated structure and an astoundingly resilient community hub is no easy feat. We've covered the Freed and ELAD Canada proposal from consultations, to the Design Review Panel, to the formal development application in October, with more news certain to come next year.
The development saga to reshape the foot of Yonge Street reached a crescendo in March, when an updated proposal for the 1-7 Yonge site was submitted to the City. Master-planned by Hariri Pontarini, Pinnacle International's updated plans saw the site's marquee tower rise to a supertall height of 320 meters, making it the tallest proposed development in Toronto. Since then, the height of the project has since been adjusted to 307 meters in order to reduce shadowing on a neighbouring park.
In our third most popular story of the year, Bjarke Ingels' presentation of the design for Allied and Westbank's attention-grabbing project at 489-539 King Street West revealed further details of the project. The Danish celebrity architect offered insight into the project's design rationale, while a subsequent panel discussion analyzed the social impacts of architecture, challenging Ingels' infectious optimism.
It's hard to miss the now-vacant lot at Yonge and Bloor. Taking up what is undoubtedly one of the most prominent sites in Toronto, the lot is set to become home to Mizrahi's supertall Foster + Partners-designed The One. Early in the year, a new plan saw the height of the proposed tower rise to a whopping 340 metres, unsurprisingly making for a popular story. As the planning process has evolved, however, the tower's height has been brought down to 304 metres. (And don't worry, that's still plenty tall).
Our top story of the year covers Northam Realty's plan to fit two 72-storey towers into the relatively compact site at the northwest corner of Yonge and Carlton. Designed by IBI Group, the project eschews the City's planning norms, offering an unprecedented degree of density—and lack of tower separation—at what is already a rapidly growing part of the city.
We look forward to another year of urban growth 2017. In the meantime, let us know what you think about this year's top stories using the comments section provided below.