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The Globe and Mail

A new connected 'downtown' hub grows in Markham

Long-term plan for what was recently an Ontario cornfield sees 40,000 people working there, with another 40,000 living there

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This rendering shows the long-term plan for Downtown Markham, a new mixed-use development northeast of Toronto in the City of Markham. The 240-acre suburban site is bounded by the Rouge River to the north, Warden Avenue to the east, and Highway 407 to the south.

Quadrangle Architects Ltd.

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Since that portion of the 407 express toll road is now complete, the land has been freed up for development. Key to Downtown Markham’s success will be its proximity to roads and public transit: It will be about a 10-minute walk from the new office and residential buildings to the upgraded Unionville GO station, which offers train service to Toronto and bus service in the region.

Quadrangle Architects Ltd.

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The business hub will be built in phases, with room for commercial high-rise towers, a hotel and retail and restaurant space. Buildings slated to open in 2016 include a Marriott Hotel and a Cineplex Odeon with a VIP Cinema. When complete, 40,000 employees are expected to work in the development, with another 40,000 taking up residence there.

Quadrangle Architects Ltd.

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Last month, Aviva Canada Inc. signed on as lead tenant in a 12-storey office building that will be owned by Remington Group Inc., the developer of Downtown Markham. “The retail, theatre and restaurants create a hub of activity for employees during the day and after work,” says Chris Bratty, president of land development for Remington. “They’re the sort of things Aviva doesn’t have in its current location. Downtown Markham has been a leap of faith, but it’s really starting to take shape and it has an ambience that will make it a place people want to keep going to.”

Quadrangle Architects Ltd.

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Aviva, an insurance company, will move 1,500 employees to the tower from the company’s current offices which are spread out campus-style in Scarborough. The firm hopes the new building will offer a more collaborative environment as well as more amenities within walking distance.

Quadrangle Architects Ltd.

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“It’s hard to argue with the amenities, the restaurants and park spaces, as well as the road and transit access here,” says Stewart Hamilton, vice-president of business analytics for Aviva.

Quadrangle Architects Ltd.

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“It’s a suburban development in an urban context. That seems basic, but it’s revolutionary for office buildings in Toronto’s suburbs,” says Sheldon Levitt, a partner with Quadrangle Architects Ltd., which is designing the Aviva tower. “It was important that this [Aviva] building relates to a street of a city that’s emerging and evolving around it.” Read more about the project at link below: Aviva to relocate HQ in new heart of Markham.

Quadrangle Architects Ltd.

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