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. 

10. Rezoning Application Submitted to Allow 65 Storeys at 475 Yonge

Left: West elevation (fronting Yonge, looking southeast) Right: East Elevation (looking west), image courtesy of Quadrangle

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. 

9. A Glimpse Into the Future: Illustrating Toronto's Future Skyline

A close-up view of the Financial District, South Core, and the waterfront, image courtesy of Toronto Life.

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.  

8. Massive Development Proposed for Queen and Sherbourne 

245 Queen Street East, image via submission to the City of Toronto

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. 

7. Toronto Unveils 6 and 15 Year TTC and GO RER/SmartTrack Plans

The 'dream network' for 2031 could feature a Bloor W to Sheppard relief line

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. 

6. Tory Announces Plans for 21-Acre "Rail Deck Park" Downtown 

The area of the proposed 21-acre park (not yet designed), image courtesy of the City of Toronto

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...

5. Application Officially Submitted for Galleria Mall Redevelopment 

A part of the Galleria Mall redevelopment will be a public park, image via City of Toronto

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. 

4. 1-7 Yonge Redevelopment to Include Toronto's Tallest Tower 

March proposal for 1-7 Yonge, image via submission to the City of Toronto

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 PontariniPinnacle 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. 

3. Bjarke Ingels Brings "Yes is More"—and New Design—to Toronto 

Aerial view of the site, image courtesy of Westbank/Allied

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.

2. The One Grows Even Taller as Design Continues to Evolve 

The former 340-metre iteration of The One, image via submission to the City of Toronto

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).  

1. 72-Storey Twin Towers Proposed for Yonge and Carlton 

Rendering of 2 Carlton Street, western view, image retrieved via submission to the City of Toronto

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.

Related Companies:  Allied Properties REIT, Arquitectonica, Bjarke Ingels Group, Claude Cormier + Associés, Core Architects, COUNTERPOINT ENGINEERING, Diamond Schmitt Architects, ELAD Canada, Hariri Pontarini Architects, IBI Group, KingSett Capital, McIntosh Perry, NAK Design Strategies, Northam Realty Advisors, ONE Properties, Perkins + Will, Pinnacle International, Public Work, Quadrangle, RJC Engineers, S9 Architecture, Sweeny &Co Architects Inc., The Planning Partnership, Urban Strategies Inc., Westbank Corp