Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Oxford Properties' plan for the Toronto convention centre area in downtown

Handout photo courtesy of Oxford Properties

Two towers proposed as part of a Toronto casino development could be among the tallest in Canada, rivalling in height the skyscrapers of the city's financial district and a planned trio of Frank Gehry-designed condominium complexes.

Oxford Properties Group wants to demolish part of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and rebuild it as a major mixed-use project. Besides the casino, it would include hotels plus two towers that combine offices with residential units. These skyscrapers would both have an estimated height of about 326 metres, more than 1,000 feet. Two shorter buildings would stand 254 and 184 metres.

They are only the latest in a string of increasingly tall towers planned across downtown and towards the city's waterfront, raising fears that development and population growth are outpacing already strained infrastructure.

Story continues below advertisement

On Thursday, Oxford said the building heights are only "thoughts," and the company isn't wedded to the size.

"The height isn't really a major factor," said Michael Kitt, an executive vice-president at Oxford, in an interview. "We see these as preliminary numbers that would change."

Office space, which would take up 40 storeys in each tower, would be the buildings' core component, Mr. Kitt said. The upper floors would be made up of apartments, and the final height would be determined by market demand.

The revelation comes just weeks after theatre impresario David Mirvish unveiled plans for three 80-storey towers in the Entertainment District on King Street West, designed by the world-renowned Mr. Gehry. By comparison, First Canadian Place, the country's tallest office tower, is 72 storeys. Its roof is 298 metres up.

City Councillor Adam Vaughan, whose ward includes the convention centre, argues that the sheer size of the project will worsen congestion. The convention centre sits on Front Street, in the shadow of the CN Tower and a few blocks from Union Station. Several surrounding streets, meanwhile, are access points to the Gardiner Expressway.

"It's insane," he said. "It's just the wrong project in the wrong part of the city. None of it is real. It's a fantasy proposal designed to snare a casino."

He said Oxford, the real-estate arm of pension fund OMERS, is dangling the prospect of a major project to entice the city to allow a gambling palace to be built on its land.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Kitt tried to assuage fears over the complex's size. He said casino-goers would mostly be there on evenings and weekends, so would not add too much congestion to the streets at rush hour. The project will also build a tunnel for buses and trucks and add more entrances to the parking facilities, he said.

Planning and architecture consultant Ken Greenberg said building proposals such as these seem to be shifting parts of Toronto toward a development model akin to densely packed, vertical cities such as Tokyo. But those cities, crisscrossed by subway lines and served by high-speed trains, have far better infrastructure.

Toronto must think seriously about how to build and pay for amenities – everything from transit to water to the power grid – in the face of massive development, and cannot simply approve one building at a time.

"You need to look beyond individual plans and think of the area as a whole," Mr. Greenberg said.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies