The One Residences at Yonge and Bloor
The city is buzzing with excitement as construction begins on what is slated to become Canada’s tallest building.
In the 150-year history of Canada, the country has always punched above its weight when it comes to the design and development of iconic buildings. From Ottawa’s Parliament Hill to the Montreal Forum, to the CN Tower, Rogers Centre and New City Hall in Toronto, to Winnipeg’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Calgary’s Saddledome and the Empress Hotel in Victoria, great builders and imaginative architects have collaborated to leave an internationally admired imprint on our national landscape.
Soon to join this august list is The One Residences, destined to become Canada’s tallest building and the first to exceed 1,000 feet in height, located at Canada’s most important intersection of Yonge and Bloor in Toronto. The One will be the very definition of a statement building.
“This building is ambitious and it is bold, just like Toronto,” said Mayor John Tory at the October groundbreaking. “It connects to the community and it sets a standard of design equal to other world-class cities. It will certainly add to the vitality of Toronto.”
You almost want to call this 85-storey mixed-use development “The One and Only,” as Canada has never seen anything like it. Without question, it will be the most significant structure built in Canada since the CN Tower 40 years ago.
For a city that already has one of the world’s top 10 skylines, The One will be a game-changer in the appearance, composition, feel and character of Toronto. Standing 1,005 feet (306 metres) high, it will achieve the rare classification of “supertall” in the category of world buildings, and upon its completion in 2022 it will be among North America’s tallest buildings.
“Architecture tells me where we are and who we are, and it really identifies the character of a city” — Sam Mizrahi
The One, with the address of 1 Bloor West, is the vision and culmination of a three-year process of city-building by respected developer Sam Mizrahi of Mizrahi Developments. Their tireless efforts working through the often challenging process of civic approvals has finally made this landmark development a reality.
“Architecture tells me where we are and who we are, and it really identifies the character of a city,” says Mizrahi. “You can look at buildings and know immediately what the location is, and to me that’s identifiable, that’s art, and it’s a city’s art, it’s a country’s art, and it makes visible a city’s identity. The One will very much do that. You’ll be able to look at The One on its own and know it is Toronto, the same way you look at the CN Tower and know it is Toronto.”
As the great artist Paul Klee once said, when we look at something meaningful, “One eye sees, the other feels,” and undoubtedly, The One will command that visual and emotional connection. The One will feature triangular exterior framing, and its light-champagne colour will be highlighted by inset LEDs capable of producing any colour. The lights will set moods as desired and allow the distinctive building to glow by night.
Connecting the building to the street will be a five-storey podium: three storeys for retail and two storeys for restaurants. Retail space features 33-foot-high ceilings, and the ground floor will be 8,500 square feet uninterrupted by columns, an innovative feat of design and engineering from the project’s world-acclaimed architects, Foster + Partners of London, U.K.
The sixth floor of this mixed-use building will be a Sky Lobby for an 11-storey hotel within the development and for residents of the condominiums within the remaining levels above. The top of the anchor podium will feature a landscaped terrace amenity with a pool for residents, a sanctuary within the centre of one of the most densely urbanized areas of North America. The building will also offer direct connection to the PATH network and the interchange of Lines 1 and 2 of the TTC subway.
Mizrahi’s brief to Foster + Partners was not to build the tallest building in Canada, but the best, with the understanding that The One would be the last piece of the cluster of buildings at Yonge and Bloor, a responsibility that each of the partners involved in the project took very seriously.
“Foster + Partners are delighted to see the start of construction of such a unique project, and we are excited by the prospect of constructing Canada’s tallest building in the coming years,” says Giles Robinson, a senior partner at Foster + Partners.
The brilliance of Foster + Partners’ design approach is that it was not outside-in, but rather inside-out; they started first with the residential suites, envisioning how people would want to feel every night when they came home, and from that extending out to the actual floor plate design. As a result, design is somewhat secondary to the overall experiential feeling of the building.
“When you live in these spaces, you start to see and feel all of the different components of where the creativity comes from, and how you actually wear it when living there,” says Mizrahi.
The One Residences is a reflection of the vision, philosophy and standards that have made Mizrahi Developments one of Canada’s most respected developers. Not just with bricks and mortar, but with a desire to enhance the changing streetscape of Canada with carefully articulated mid-to-high-rise buildings that give those who work and live in them as much pleasure as those who just pass by.
For Sam Mizrahi, the importance of The One Residences to Canada and his unrelenting drive to see it become a reality provides him with perhaps the most satisfaction.
“What you are seeing with The One in every sense is really the voices of the city speaking as one,” says Mizrahi. “We are creating something that is going to be an iconic landmark such as we see in other cities around the world, which will identify Toronto and Canada as a world voice.”