As Toronto's main streets continuously evolve through the redevelopment of assembled properties, many heritage elements are being incorporated with the new buildings, most often through restored or replicated heritage walls now fronting modern concrete and steel structures in behind.  Eight Cumberland is one of those projects combining the old with the new. Designed by architects—Alliance for Great Gulf and Phantom Developments, the 51-storey modern condo tower with heritage retail street-fronts, is located at the northeast corner of Yonge and Cumberland streets in the Bloor-Yorkville area.

An aerial view looking northwest of the tower and heritage facade, designed by architects—Alliance for Great Gulf and Phantom Developments

While the new tower was already topped off at the start of this year, this summer saw the unveiling of its podium's preserved heritage facades as restoration work was completed on them. On behalf of the developers, GBCA Architects assembled an Heritage Impact Plan for the project and have endeavoured to return this row of five three-storey heritage street-fronts to close to their original state. Nestled at the base of the tower, the buildings are addressed to 826 through 834 Yonge Street, and embody the traditional built charm of Yonge Street.

Since mid-2021, these heritage properties have been undergoing an in-situ restoration process, concealed by protective construction tarps. By June of this year, glimpses of this transformation began to surface, revealing intricate brickwork and detailing.

The heritage buildings partially hidden behind scaffolding and green tarp, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Vminkov

Upon removal of the tarps, the restored facades of the heritage buildings were revealed, presenting a canvas of red, brown, and buff-coloured brick along with masonry lintels and sills. A glass guardrail with a low-reflective treatment is visible behind and above them, a subtle buffer between the restored elements and the modern additions. Stepped-back further, the tower's visual impact on the heritage street-front aesthetic is somewhat mitigated. 

Looking southwest to the revealed heritage buildings in June, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Rimawi

Looking east to the southern building and the stepped back tower, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Northern Light

By September, while finishing touches await — including new retailers to fill the sidewalk-fronting shops — the panorama of heritage buildings was fully visible. The southern building showcases its Victorian-era design, including the distinct mansard roof treatment up top. These structures, from around 1867, bear the architectural ethos of the eclectic Second Empire style that was prevalent during the era. The northern buildings feature more typical full three-storey walls with decorative cornices above.

Looking northwest to the fully revealed heritage elements of the south elevation, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Benito

Tilting our gaze upwards, the heritage structures provide a friendly base for the topped-off Eight Cumberland tower, which boasts a sleek glass and aluminum exterior, amidst the surrounding ever-taller neighbours.

The tower and heritage buildings, looking southwest from Yonge Street, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor steveve

Once open, the 170metre-high Eight Cumberland will add 399 new residential units to the neighbourhood.

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, 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:  architects—Alliance, Egis, Great Gulf, Isotherm Engineering Ltd., o2 Planning and Design, Ontario Panelization, Peter McCann Architectural Models Inc., Qoo Studio, TUCKER HIRISE Construction, WND Associates Ltd