The votes are in from our annual Year-End Readers' Poll! Every year, Toronto ends up with a new crop of freshly completed buildings. While everybody would like every new building to be a spectacular architectural triumph, we know that cannot or will not happen; most new buildings will end up being unremarkable. Every year some of them stand out though, so we give everyone who wants a chance to vote on which buildings did not disappoint and have been their favourites from the past year. The Year-End Poll voting over the holidays was grouped by height categories. Here's how this year's vote, presented by PMA Brethour, went:
6-9 Storeys: (20 entries)
There were more 'Avenues Style' buildings completed in Toronto over the last year than any other typology. That's not to say that they all looked the same though; different architectural approaches were taken, and some developers charged much more than others (and sometimes spent a lot of the extra on the exterior). That higher spend is evident in our winner, while our second and third place buildings represent a more typical modern style, but were the best liked examples of that style in Toronto from 2021.
1st: 28 Hazelton Avenue (27.2%)
2nd: The Bluffs (16.89%)
3rd: The Roncy (7.13%)
Of note, 4th, 5th, and 6th places were very close to 3rd, so it's worth mentioning that Upper Beach Club, Heartwood The Beach, and George Condos and Towns are all close Honourable Mentions.
However, at the other end of the spectrum, neither The Lanes at O'Connor nor The Guildwood, received any votes at all. None. Nothing. Zilch. Rien. It's tough out there.
10-19 Storeys: (12 entries)
This category includes buildings that would be considered high-rise in many cities, but not here; less than 20 storeys, this is just mid-rise in Toronto now, and the sites that these are built on are all larger and deeper than the 'Avenue Style' buildings lining our major streets. Out of this batch, one building really stood out to our voters, Aquabella, standing beside Toronto Harbour. Terraced up top, its balconies are framed in a way to make them intimate spaces overlooking the water.
1st: Aquabella (26.83%)
2nd: One Forest Hill (17.82%)
3rd: Harris Square (16.89%)
Last place here was Vintage Garden Phase Two with 0.56% of the vote, while Lumina at Emerald City doubled that (low) score with 1.13%.
20-29 Storeys: (16 entries)
Garrison Point made a splash in our vote, with two entries both placing highly. The South Tower, on the left in the image below, won its category, while the North Tower came in second place in the next taller category. The buildings stand out for their striking chamfered and framed elevations and help them stand out from the crowd.
1st: Garrison Point South Tower (26.08%)
2nd: LivMore High Park (16.7%)
3rd: Montgomery Square (8.63%)
Last place here is a tie between The Point at Emerald City and Cypress at Pinnacle Etobicoke, each pulling in 1.13% of the vote. Not so good, but some people love them.
30-40 Storeys: (16 entries)
Two office towers were completed this year, and both won in their height categories. Maybe it's not a fair comparison to put office towers (where more money is typically spent on the exteriors) up against residential towers, but that's why we also 2nd and 3rd place finishers so those buildings can be recognized too. In the case of 100 Queens Quay East at Sugar Wharf, this building is essentially a tower box on top of a podium box, but its tower cladding includes slender windows that angle into the building envelop in a randomized pattern across the elevations, meaning that the building appears to shimmer somewhat in certain lighting conditions.
1st: 100 Queens Quay East at Sugar Wharf (23.08%)
2nd: Garrison Point North Tower (18.95%)
3rd: Max Condos (12.2%)
In dead last place here was 159SW. Apparently the SW in this case stands for 'so what,' with only 0.56% of the vote. The Peak at Emerald City edged ahead of it with 0.94%, while the rental project Novus at Garrison Point did a little better at 1.13%, but nowhere near its condo cousins across the street, both noted above.
41+ Storeys: (8 entries)
Our tallest category had the fewest entries but the largest margin; our winner, the South Tower at CIBC SQUARE was the only building to have more than twice as many votes as the next closest building in any category. Besides winning this category, it's clearly the overall Building of the Year in Toronto. Best of luck to whatever competes against the North Tower the year that it completes!
1st: CIBC SQUARE South Tower (43.53%)
2nd: Massey Tower (18.01%)
3rd: PJ Condos (14.63%)
There's no point in identifying a last in this category as Vita on the Lake, 1 Yorkville, 2221 Yonge, and Wellesley on the Park all did respectably, but I should single out a 4th place Honourable Mention here for Yonge + Rich.
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