Real Estate News Exchange (RENX)
c/o Squall Inc.
P.O. Box 1484, Stn. B
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5P6
Canada: 1-855-569-6300

Oxford, CT REIT revamp Canada Square redevelopment plan

A rendering of the redevelopment proposed by Oxford Properties and CT REIT at Canada Square in Toronto. (Courtesy Oxford)
A rendering of the redevelopment proposed by Oxford Properties and CT REIT at Canada Square in Toronto. (Courtesy Oxford)

Plans by Oxford Properties and CT REIT to redevelop the 9.2-acre Canada Square property at Toronto’s Yonge and Eglinton intersection have undergone some changes since the first plan was filed with the city in December 2020.

Most of 2021 was spent in engagement and receiving feedback from a variety of stakeholders as well as making new internal assessments of an evolving real estate market, according to Oxford vice-president of development Andrew O’Neil.

A revised strategy came together in 2022 and a new plan was filed with the City of Toronto in December.

The transit-oriented development will offer easy access to the Toronto Transit Commission’s existing Eglinton subway station and a new below-grade bus terminal, as well as the new Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit line (LRT) that could be completed by the end of the year.

The redevelopment can’t begin until the completion of the delayed LRT line, O’Neil told RENX, but he hopes all approvals will be in place and work on the first phase of the new and improved Canada Square can start in 2024, so occupancy could begin in 2028 or 2029.

2200 Yonge St. will be retained

Oxford and CT REIT (CRT-UN-T), 50 per cent partners in Canada Square, have elected to retain the existing 17-storey, 259,397-square-foot office building at 2200 Yonge St. that was built in 1962 and renovated in 1993.

The property owners expect the first phase of the redevelopment to include a new 65-storey mixed-use building with residential and office components and, likely, renovations to 2200 Yonge.

“There’s definitely room for improvement with that existing building, but we do think that we can work with that existing structure,” said O’Neil. “It is the original building at Canada Square.” 

The Canada Square redevelopment was originally going to include approximately 650,000 square feet of office space; the new proposal calls for about the same amount but it would be apportioned differently.

Some will remain in 2200 Yonge and some will be at the base of new mixed-use buildings.

Canada Square's second and third phases

The second phase of Canada Square can’t begin until the completion of the first because the new bus terminal will be built below grade as part of Phase 1.

That will enable the land encompassing the current above-ground terminal to be redeveloped, but that won’t start until the late 2020s.

Three towers are contemplated for the second phase. Two would share a podium that will be able to accommodate as-yet-undetermined community uses – potentially including a school.

“We've designed it to be flexible,” said O’Neil. “But, the second phase is going to be really focused on street-oriented retail with residential housing above.”

The third phase will be a redevelopment of what today is 2180 Yonge St., an 18-storey, 402,277-square-foot office building completed in 1972 that houses Canadian Tire Corporation’s head office and public broadcaster TVO.

A 55-storey tower is contemplated for the site.
“The time horizon for that redevelopment is uncertain at this point,” said O’Neil.

“It has to make sense to remove that building and replace it with a new mixed-use building. But having said that, with the way we've designed the scheme, Phases 1 and 2 can be completed independent of what happens in Phase 3.”
While O’Neil said Oxford is always open to talking to market participants and existing office tenants looking to move into new space, it’s too early to begin serious pre-leasing negotiations.

Most residential units will be rentals

O’Neil said approximately 2,900 residential units would be included in Canada Square upon completion, with most expected to be rentals. About 40 per cent of the units will have two or three bedrooms. 

There has been plenty of condominium development in the neighbourhood and there’s a perceived need for more apartments.

“I think folks are looking for professionally managed rental housing and that's something we can offer at scale with this site,” said O’Neil.

“We've got a fairly significant residential business in Canada so we're looking to expand that here.

“We think it's got great potential with the transit access and the amenities we can bring through new development. We think it could be a really great place to live.”

Retail and public realm elements

Canada Square will incorporate small-scale convenience, service, food and beverage retail to serve the community. 

“We really want that to be a key aspect of the plan where it enhances the public realm,” said O’Neil. “If we can get restaurant operators with patios lining some of these pedestrian routes, that can really help animate the space and make it inviting and make it a community gathering space.”

The proposal also includes a park and a large mid-block public square linking the higher-density spaces on Yonge Street with the low-rise residential neighbourhood to the west.

The creation of the square was enabled by resetting the placement of the project’s towers.

Canada Square’s partners and team members

Toronto-headquartered Oxford and its businesses managed $82 billion worth of assets across four continents and eight sectors as of June 30, 2022.

This included 165 million square feet of commercial space, 3,000 hotel rooms, 10,000 residential units and a substantial credit portfolio as well as a multi-sector, multi-market development pipeline.

Oxford is owned by OMERS, the benefit pension plan for Ontario’s municipal employees.

CT REIT is an unincorporated, closed-end real estate investment trust that owns a Canada-wide portfolio of more than 370 properties totalling approximately 30 million square feet of gross leasable area, consisting primarily of net lease retail properties.

Canadian Tire Corporation is its most significant tenant and controlling unitholder.

Hariri Pontarini Architects is the primary architect for Canada Square, OJB Landscape Architecture is focusing on the open spaces and public areas and a number of other consultants are also part of the team.

Industry Events