In the time since a ceremonial groundbreaking was held to commemorate the start of construction on Ivanhoé Cambridge and HinesCIBC Square just over a month ago, plenty of work has been accomplished on what will become Toronto's newest Downtown office complex. Designed by UK-based WilkinsonEyre Architects working alongside Adamson Associates, the project will feature 49 and 54-storey office towers across from Union Station on Bay Street, to be anchored by Canadian banking titan CIBC.

CIBC Square phase 1 (R) and 2 (L), image courtesy of Ivanhoé Cambridge/Hines

The complex's 49-storey south tower at 81 Bay is being built as the first phase of the project, and will include a new GO bus terminal. The completion of the terminal—expected in 2020—will free up land to the north of the rail tracks where the current GO terminal is. Its move will in turn will allow for the start of work on the 54-storey north tower at 141 Bay.

Shoring at the site of CIBC Square, image by Forum contributor Michael62

One of the first steps in constructing phase one has been the creation of an earthen berm at the north end of the site. The berm rises to the height of the rail corridor beside it, and is now being used as a work platform for shoring rigs to build a caisson wall earth retention system. Once the caisson wall is complete, excavation for the three-storey underground garage will start.

Earthen berm at the site of CIBC Square, image by Forum contributor Michael62

The phase one site includes a narrow strip of land which runs between the rail corridor on the north and 18 Yonge condos on the south. To be the location of a garage entrance and access for trucks to the loading dock, prep work has begun here as well. (Cars—but not service trucks—will also be able to access the garage via Bay Street.)

Future site of vehicular entrance/exit, image by Edward Skira

With the rail corridor acting as a significant barrier between Toronto's Financial Core and the new South Core area, CIBC Square will literally bridge the divide and better integrate the two parts of Downtown via a new Privately Owned Publicly accessible Space (POPS) above the rail corridor. This new green space in the air over the rail corridor is an important step forward for the increasingly dense area's public realm, and similar uses of the air over rail tracks are now being explored on the other side of adjacent Union Station, at Oxford Properties' Union Park project, and with the competing Rail Deck Park and ORCA proposals, both proposing significant additions of similarly elevated green space to the area west of the core.

CIBC Square Park, image courtesy of Ivanhoé Cambridge/Hines

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available, and construction of the phase one tower continues. In the meantime, you can learn more about the project via our updated Database file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread.

Related Companies:  Adamson Associates Architects, American Standard (part of Lixil Canada Inc.), Cushman & Wakefield, Hines, Isotherm Engineering Ltd., Ivanhoé Cambridge, Public Work, RJC Engineers, The Mitchell Partnership Inc., Urban Strategies Inc., Walters Group, WilkinsonEyre Architects