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Development News

One Bloor East takes shape

The corner of Yonge and Bloor was known for decades as Canada’s main intersection, where two of its biggest streets meet in its biggest city.

But things haven’t been good there for a long time, and even in Toronto, its centrality has been usurped by Yonge and Dundas, Bay and Bloor, and even Queen and Spadina.

But looking at One Bloor East go up, I wonder if things aren’t snapping back to where they should be.

It was meant to be Canada’s tallest condo, but that fell apart. Aura, a little bit south on Yonge, took that honour. But it doesn’t relate to the street well at all. At least not yet. It’s out of scale, its mass overbearing, more appropriate to a much bigger street in a much bigger, and darker, city. Give it 20 years, maybe it’ll fit right in.

But One Bloor, designed by Hariri Pontarini, looks good already, its curves a welcome relief from the rectilinearity that has beset this city’s condo boom.

This week, it reached the 26th floor, and the curtain wall is going up, giving us a better sense of how it’s going to look.

The tower-and-podium show City Hall has imposed on all development has resulted in an almost unbearable degree of homogeneity in our buildings. But Hariri Pontarini show here how it can be done better. Working within restrictions and guidelines has always been a boon to the more talented, engaged artists and designers of every generation, ones who are also not constrained by unreasonable, unworkable budgets. It seems like Great Gulf decided to make a showpiece. I’m glad someone finally did.

We’ll check in with this one a little later. It’s been going up at roughly a storey a week, which would put the topping-off right about this time next year.

Writer: Bert Archer
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