On-Site Magazine

Topping off George Brown College’s Limberlost Place

By Adam Freill   

Construction Green Construction Institutional

Ontario’s first mass-timber, net-zero institutional building marks milestone as it gets closer to completion.

Limberlost Place at George Brown College. (Photo courtesy of Salina Kassam)

Limberlost Place, Ontario’s first mass-timber, net-zero carbon emissions institutional building, has now reached the highest point in construction, reports PCL Construction. The final wood and steel beams were installed in the 10-storey facility located at George Brown College’s (GBC) Waterfront campus in Toronto’s east Bayfront community.

To celebrate the topping-off milestone, a beam signed by project partners and the trades workforce was lifted into place at the top of the building.

Limberlost Place’s structure was completed using an intricate installation method including a sequence where each mass timber column and cross-laminated slab band would be placed. The structure includes three, three-storey mass timber columns — some of the largest in North America.

The building’s structure uses made-in-Canada mass-timber components and a structural steel core, with 139 cross-laminated timber and concrete composite slab bands that were prefabricated at an off-site facility before being shipped to site for final installation.


To facilitate construction each of the cross-laminated timber pieces was prepared with kerf plates, screws, rebar, concrete, M&E sleeves, roof anchors and column bases, and slab bands were piled in order of installation, indicating the exact spot where each timber piece would be installed in the building. In total, Limberlost Place’s structure is made up of approximately 1,190 pieces of cross laminated timber pieces and 571 glue-laminated mass timber pieces.

Topping off signifies a shift in focus to completing the exterior envelope, starting the interior fit-up, including the installation of other mass timber pieces such as the learning landscape feature stairs, and commissioning the building. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2024.

“As we reach the halfway point in building Limberlost Place, we reflect on George Brown College’s innovative vision and each one of our partners’ drive and commitment to bring it to life. A special thank you goes to the tradespeople who built Limberlost Place from the ground up. We have put our passion for a resilient future to work in order to reach the top,” stated Myke Badry, District Manager, PCL Constructors Canada Inc. “Now, together, we will deliver Limberlost Place as a beacon of sustainability that will drive the future of mass timber construction for years to come.”

Designed by Acton Ostry Architects and Moriyama Teshima Architects with PCL Construction managing construction, Limberlost Place will be home to GBC’s schools of architectural studies and computer technology, and the Brookfield Sustainability Institute. Students will have the opportunity to learn in and from the innovative and future-proof facility. Its internationally award-winning design and construction surpasses the Toronto Green Standard for reduced carbon emissions and is changing national and provincial building codes for mass-timber buildings over six storeys.

“Limberlost Place is a complex project to oversee because of how far its design is pushing the boundaries in advancing current sustainable building practices. We are incredibly proud of how everyone involved – from project consultants to skilled trades – is demonstrating true collaboration and commitment to bring this landmark learning destination to life,” said Gervan Fearon, president of George Brown College. “Along with our donors and partners, we had a shared vision about sustainability and Limberlost Place is a celebration of our working together.”


Project Team

  • Owner: George Brown College
  • Architect: Moriyama Teshima Architects in joint venture with Acton Ostry Architects
  • Construction Manager: PCL Constructors Canada Inc.
  • Mass Timber: Nordic Structures
  • Structural Engineer: Fast + Epp
  • Mechanical and Electrical Engineer: Introba
  • Structural Steel Design-Assist: Walters Group
  • Building Envelope: Morrison Hershfield
  • Sustainability Consultant: Transsolar





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