The wheels are in motion at the site of the new Ontario Court of Justice just northwest of Toronto City Hall, with excavation in full swing for the project's underground levels. Designed by the world-renowned Renzo Piano Building Workshop working alongside local firm NORR Architects, the 17-storey facility will allow provincial courts to consolidate operations from five leased locations in the city into one state-of-the-art purpose-built facility.

Excavation for Ontario Court of Justice Toronto, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

2018 was a big year for the Infrastructure Ontario project, with the design team revealed in January, renderings in February, and planning submissions in both June and December. After partial shoring and an archaeological dig, the site sat dormant as planning continued behind the scenes. By Fall 2018, building permits had been issued, shoring rigs were back on site, and excavation had resumed.

Excavation for Ontario Court of Justice Toronto, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

Crews continue to dig down to a depth of two storeys for the tower's foundations and basement levels. Digging is now bottoming out at a depth of approximately 9 metres in areas of the pit, while a horizontal drilling rig is active installing the second row of tiebacks into the pit's pile and lagging system shoring walls.

Horizontal drilling rig working on tiebacks, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

The latest planning documents from mid-December offer a comprehensive look at the approximately 60,550  acility. With a roof height of 95.56 metres and an architectural mast/spire stretching to 117.89 metres above the street, the tower has been designed to add to the City Hall area skyline without dominating it. While details of the mast are still in development, current plans show a system of prefabricated tubes with custom tapering geometry, topped with an aircraft warning light.

Ontario Court of Justice Toronto, image via submission to City of Toronto

A heritage report from +VG Architects includes details of the planned life-size etching of the former British Methodist Episcopal Church which will be incorporated into the east elevation of the tower base. The church occupied part of the site until it was demolished in 1988.

Heritage interpretation, Ontario Court of Justice Toronto, image via submission to City of Toronto

Designers are intending that a 20-metre tall atrium will help give the project landmark status when it opens its doors in Spring 2022. The building will have 63 courtrooms of various configurations and sizes. Efficiency measures in the design are targeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Silver certification.

Atrium, Ontario Court of Justice Toronto, image via submission to City of Toronto

Additional information and images can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.

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Related Companies:  +VG Architects • The Ventin Group Ltd, EllisDon, Infrastructure Ontario, Live Patrol Inc., NORR Architects, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Trillium Architectural Products