Among the most-watched construction projects in Toronto, the first phase 49-storey South Tower of Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines' CIBC SQUARE office complex is now within reach of its final height at the corner of Bay and Lake Shore, opposite the Scotiabank Arena. The first of the complex's two WilkinsonEyre-designed office towers will soon stand 238 metres tall, as construction continues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

CIBC SQUARE's diamond cladding adds sparkle to the South Core skyline in Downtown Toronto, image by UT Forum contributor skycandy

In the weeks since the Province of Ontario ordered that businesses no longer deemed essential be shut down, the contractor has been working with the Province and City to determine what aspects of the project would be allowed to continue beyond the shutdown-exempt transit component—a GO bus terminal being built into the podium.

Looking north to CIBC SQUARE, image by Forum contributor skycandy

Most recently, the City’s Inspections Dedicated Enforcement Unit confirmed with the project team that work could continue for the "base building core and shell construction" under the conditions that workers adhere to strict social distancing protocols and other safety measures. Areas of the project not covered by the exemption, and that will be paused temporarily, include tenant fit-outs in leased areas of the building, and work related to the office tower amenities.

Looking east to CIBC SQUARE, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

Over three months have passed since our last update in January, and the working conditions have changed significantly since we last checked in. At the time of our last visit, the tower's concrete elevator core had topped out and steel assembly followed several levels behind. Steel has since overtaken the core as part of the exempted shell construction, and is now in the process of shaping the crowns that will top the offset roof line.

Steel beam placement taking place on the north crown in early April, image by UT Forum contributor skycandy

Throughout the course of construction, UrbanToronto Forum contributor Contra has been illustrating the progress with a series of diagrams, superimposing the current state of construction in colour against a grayscale architectural diagram of the building's west elevation. The diagrams below summarize construction progress since our last report, including a pronounced slowdown in exterior glazing installation since the start of March. A closer look at the latest diagram shows that only a small section of steel assembly remains before the tower reaches its full height. 

Timeline of progress at CIBC SQUARE, image by Forum contributor Contra

Deemed essential, the podium and its transit component have been moving along throughout the pandemic. Most recently, views from an adjacent condo tower to the south show that work is in full swing on installing the podium green roof.

Podium green roof installation at CIBC SQUARE, image by Forum contributor Michael62

You can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you'd like to, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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