On-Site Magazine

PCL tops off newest addition to Toronto’s skyline

By Adam Freill   

Commercial Construction

The final beam for the commercial office tower at 160 Front Street West was placed in mid-March; construction scheduled to wrap in December.

(Photo and video courtesy of PCL)

In mid-March, ironworkers placed the final curved steel beam 47 storeys above downtown Toronto, crowning Cadillac Fairview’s 160 Front Street West commercial office tower, creating a new and iconic addition to the city’s skyline.

“Constructing a steel office tower is unique in the Toronto market and we’re proud to have reached the top as we build Cadillac Fairview’s vision for their newest landmark building in Toronto, along with our talented construction and design partners.” said Monique Buckberger, vice-president and district manager at PCL Constructors Canada Inc. “Placing the final steel beam is a significant milestone for all those involved. Thank you to the hundreds of men and women who have contributed to building this project with safety and quality top of mind.”

Topping-off is typically celebrated when a building reaches its’ maximum height. In the case of a steel structure, celebrating the placement of the last beam is considered a major milestone for ironworkers, the construction team, and owners involved erecting the building. Traditionally, the final beam is signed by ironworkers and adorned with a small evergreen tree which is symbolic of the structure safely reaching the sky, along with good luck and prosperity for the new tenants of the building. The beam is also accompanied by a flag or banner representative of the workforce.


Earlier in March, the beam was signed during an event hosted by Cadillac Fairview for future tenants TD Bank and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Representatives from PCL, Walters Group and consultants key to the steel program also signed the beam prior to placement.

“As long-standing collaborative team with PCL, we’re proud to mark this significant construction milestone of our newest landmark building in Toronto,” commented Wayne Barwise, executive vice-president of development with Cadillac Fairview. “This milestone brings us closer to opening this brand-new building that will further connect the downtown core and we’re proud to see this project come to life.”

160 Front Street West’s curved profile applies both form and function, offering a distinctive shape to the city’s skyline and functionality for wind resistance. Structural steel was used in conjunction with a concrete core to help evenly distribute the weight throughout the building, maximizing floor space. In addition to its durability, the use of structural steel allowed the tower to be built efficiently within the confines of a busy urban environment.

“We are proud to be a part of such an iconic project,” said Tim Verhey, executive vice-president of engineering and operations at Walters Group. “Being brought into this team as a design-assist partner at the very early stages of the project was an incredibly rewarding experience. Having all stakeholders present to work through tough design challenges resulted in practical, cost-effective solutions that did not sacrifice architectural intent. Now that we’ve safely topped off, we extend our congratulations to CF, PCL and everyone involved in this project, and most importantly to the dedicated men and women ironworkers for safely reaching this milestone.”

Following groundbreaking in 2019, the team demolished part of an existing six-storey heritage building on site, while keeping its façade intact to incorporate into the new structure. A self-climbing formwork system was used to construct the tower’s concrete core, consisting of a top and bottom deck, two trailing decks and two levels that wrapped around the exterior of the core, enabling it to climb up the core as one unit. Completion of the above-grade concrete structure enabled the structural steel partners to move forward in completing the tower’s iconic crown.

With the steel structure topped off, the next steps for the build include finalizing the structure, removing the tower crane from the building that was primarily used for the structure, completing the building envelope, followed by interior finishes.

Construction completion is set for December 2023.




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