With the last days of September flying by, developers Collecdev are now only one month away from toasting the groundbreaking of their mixed-use residential development, Cielo Condos, located at 300 Bloor Street West, just west of St George Street. Interest has followed the development, designed by KPMB Architects, because of the unique character of the project, which will see an highly contemporary 29-storey tower built above an historic building of cultural and architectural significance, the Bloor Street United Church.

View of Cielo Condos design from Huron Street facing northwest, image from submission to City of Toronto

Constructed in 1886, the church is experiencing a makeover for the ages, instigated by the congregation, with a restoration of the heritage attributes overseen by specialists ERA Architects. With the construction of the condo dependent on the church being fully gutted, the first stage of construction, which began in March, has been focussed on careful demolition while keeping exterior walls standing. 

Over the last few months we have tracked this process, looking at milestones like the demolition of the interiors, heritage work on the exterior, the removal of windows, and the take-down of the roof. This week, we will be looking at the work taking place to prepare the church’s west wing for a significant new-build addition. 

View of south elevation from Bloor Street facing north shows new build section, image from submission to City of Toronto

Examining the renderings that depict the project’s south elevation, the 4-storey volume clad in glass is set to be the home of the development’s commercial and community spaces. Not only will the extension offer premium office space for relocation of the denomination's head office, a conveniently situated retail unit will also be created at grade, well-suited for a café. 

The extension is also characterized by an atrium space that acts as the buffer between the heritage and contemporary spaces, an important aspect considering the level of pedestrian activity on the southern frontage. Curtain wall finishing and a 4-storey ceiling height will flood the atrium with natural light, while the minimalist approach to the design will create a more gentle transition from old to new that works to bring calm to those passing through the space. 

View from Bloor Street facing northeast shows demolition progress on west wing, image by UT Forum contributor Johnny Au

In the last month, the state of the west wing has changed quite drastically. The leading force behind this has been the removal of stones from the south-facing wall, set back about 10 metres from the street. A photo by UT Forum contributor Johnny Au, captured on September 20th, shows the extent of stone-by-stone deconstruction of parts of the wall, with a large opening appearing at the top, just below the roof. 

View from Bloor Street facing east shows stones from west wing stacked in neat piles, image by UT Forum contributor Johnny Au

Another photo by Johnny Au captured at the same time shows how the stones are being carefully placed in preparation for the eventual reconstruction of the wall once more significant excavation and construction has taken place. Soon, sections of the church’s exterior walls that are remaining in situ during the redevelopment process will be supported by a steel framework that will allow excavation behind to commence.

UrbanToronto will continue to follow updates for this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you'd like, 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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Related Companies:  Bousfields, Collecdev, HGC Engineering Inc, Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, Janet Rosenberg & Studio, Orin Demolition, A Division of Orin Enterprises Inc.