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CityPlace – Parade II

Toronto’s CityPlace ranks among the most ambitious collections of highrise residential developments anywhere. And developer Concord Adex Inc. put the most ambitious touch in all of CityPlace between the existing Parade I condo and its fraternal twin, the more recently built Parade II.

Parade II, originally known as Block 29, consists of a cylindrical, 42-storey tower, plus a 24-storey tower and 10-storey podium. It shares this layout with the neighbouring Parade I, also known as Block 26 West, with a few minor differences: Block 29’s towers exceed those of 26 by four storeys each while 26’s main tower shape is square, not round.

Most twins separate once they’re born, but Concord Adex will keep these two connected with shared indoor amenity spaces, plus matching exterior materials and colours, like the glass and metal on the towers and the precast, detailing and colour on the podium level.

Pedestrian mews running between the two buildings will be flanked by 7,000 square feet of retail on either side and feature a substantial piece of public art.

Each twin gets a separate walkout second-floor terrace space that caters to sunbathers and barbecuers alike, while the area below the terrace shelters loading bays, garbage facilities and the ramp leading down to a shared garage.

Differing heights mean that Block 29 will house 921 suites, almost 100 more than Block 26 West’s 835. The extra suites came about, in part, due to a late granting of extra density by the City of Toronto to the CityPlace project, which Concord Adex applied to Block 29. “The uneven heights add to the iconic nature of the whole,” says Tim Gorley, executive vice-president of Page + Steele/IBI Group Architects.

Nearly identical project teams brought both buildings into being. Different interior designers brought different sensibilities to elements like the lobbies. “26 West has a more classic, timeless type of design,” says Jeff Wilkinson, project manager for Concord Adex. “29 is more modern, a little edgier.”

Residents will host parties in a 28th-floor Skybridge that will join the two towers. Guests can gaze south towards Lake Ontario, north towards the city, or straight down through five three-foot by five-foot glass panels in the floor.

The bridge also connects the buildings at the 29th and 30th floors. “A three-storey apartment connects on either side to the second floor and the roof level of the bridge, all destined for private use,” says Gorley.

The team considered three scenarios for building this bridge. Using mobile cranes to hoist pieces into position and building the bridge in place would have left the team with several concerns. “It isn’t a very safe option,” says Wilkinson, noting the team’s refusal to stage construction on the already-occupied Block 26 West. “You’d be totally at the mercy of the weather. Your exposure for delay is huge.”

Building the bridge on the ground and hoisting it into place using a mobile crane wouldn’t have worked either; the crane would have crushed the road it sat on.

Instead, the bridge structure and cladding took shape on scaffolding that kept the structure more than two storeys above the ground. With the exterior assembled in June, the project team set a lift date during the week of June 25, a period during which wind studies show the weather has historically been calm enough to allow for the eight-hour hoisting and hookup operation. Strand jacks at the top of each tower lifted the bridge into place. “The amenity and suite fit-up will follow and be ready by November 2012,” says Gorley.

Romeo Llamzon calls the bridge a “one-of-a-kind” in Canada, the type of project that demanded extra planning, scheduling and engineering, plus dealing with a few changes as the bridge took shape. The team realized the slab-on-grade setup would not support the Skybridge as it “gained weight.”

“It would exceed allowable soil-bearing capacity,” says Llamzon, project manager for PCL Constructors Canada Inc. in Toronto. “We had to perform extensive reshoring in each of the three levels of the underground parking garage,” noting that the operation took up 22 parking spots per floor in Block 26 West.

Concord Adex minimized the inconvenience to displaced Block26 West residents by arranging temporary parking spots for them. After the Skybridge left the ground, builders removed the temporary shoring and residents got their parking spots back.

The team also finalized the bridge design and plans as Block 26 West went up. They managed to do this with the collaboration of sub-contractors Walters Inc. and Western Mechanical Electrical Millwright Services Inc.

Since it would be too expensive to dismantle and remove the hoist beams, they will remain on the roofs in serendipitously large mechanical penthouses on both towers.

Concurrent with work on Block 29, the project team also managed construction of the CityPlace Pedestrian Bridge. This bridge passes over railway tracks running along the north edge of the development.

Built in two separate pieces, the south span was assembled on the linear park running just south of the railway while the north span came together in a train storage facility just off Front Street, the thoroughfare to which the bridge connects.

“We had to work night shifts, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., when installing the bridge over the railway, the only time of the day when almost no trains passed,” Llamzon recalls.”We collaborated with MetroLinx – previously the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority – to keep trains off tracks. Every time a train passed our work area, we had to stop work, let the train pass and start work again.” Llamzon’s team took numerous safety precautions, which kept the project team injury-free.

Now in place, the pedestrian bridge is set to open this fall once components like bridge lighting and safety mesh for the sides of the bridge arrive.

Developed by Concord Adex as integral parts of CityPlace, the bridge, the north linear park and the parkland will become city property, turning this once-barren railway brownfield into welcoming public space.

“Parade I and II and the linking bridge are the visual centrepiece of this new urban park,” Gorley says. “They will become a visual pointer to the entire development.”

Project highlights


Fort York Boulevard and Dan Leckie Way, Toronto, Ontario


Concord Adex Developments Corp.


Page + Steele/IBI Group Architects


Kahn Pedersen Fox


PCL Constructors Canada Inc. (Toronto)


Halcrow Yolles Partnership Inc.


MCW Consultants Ltd.


Ferris &Associates Inc.


Mike Niven Interior Design Inc. and Figure 3 Interior Design


812,750 square feet


$161 million

This article originally published in Award Magazine. For a PDF of this article, see below.

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