Ontario Poised to Lead Canada in Heavy Timber Construction

There’s nothing like a little competition to enliven the spirit.

British Columbia has done and continues to do a fantastic job pioneering heavy timber in commercial construction with such notable projects as the Richmond Olympic Oval, the UBC Earth Sciences Building, the Wood Innovation and Design Centre, the upcoming 18 storey UBC Student Residence and many others.

Toronto historically, however, is no stranger to heavy timber construction with by far the largest number of still-standing Brick and Beam buildings in the country – over 150 in the Distillery, Entertainment and Fashion Districts, the St. Lawrence Market and Liberty Village. Couple that with Ontario representing 25% of Canada’s construction market, ready access to central and eastern United States, the devaluation of the Canadian dollar, a forestry industry anxious to capitalize on new opportunity, an enlivened spirit for all things wood, and Ontario is well-poised to unseat BC as leaders in the mass timber construction market.

Like the competition between hockey teams that helped make Canadians great hockey players, competition between provinces will help Canadians become great leaders in this new era of heavy timber in construction.

Toronto is coming alive again in wood. Below are just a few of the notable heavy timber projects either in design or under construction. The architects, developers and builders behind these projects are on their way to changing the world of construction for the better with eco-conscious buildings made of solid wood, making positive contributions to our communities, the environment and our country. It’s time to join them.


Courtesy of Quadrangle and Fieldgate Urban

Heartwood, one of Toronto’s first six-storey timber structures, by Fieldgate Urban Developers and Hullmark Developments and designed by Quadrangle Architects Limited, is a boutique mid-rise condo to be constructed in the Beaches using predominantly CLT (Cross-Laminated Timber), glulam columns and beams. Using wood will speed the building process and add a “wow” factor with wood ceilings, feature walls in living and dining rooms, and heavy timber columns.


Courtesy of Quadrangle and Hullmark Developments

80 Atlantic Avenue, a five-storey timber structure by Hullmark, designed by Quadrangle Architects Limited, is slated for construction in Liberty Village close to The Toronto Carpet Factory, owned jointly by Hullmark and York Heritage. Like the Tororonto Carpet Factory, considered by the Toronto Star to be one of the city’s hottest places to work, 80 Atlantic is a modern version of Toronto’s sought after Brick & Beam buildings and will feature high wood ceilings, heavy timber columns and beams.


Courtesy of Brook McIlroy Architects

Designed by Brook McIlroy, the Shoppers Drug Mart, currently under construction at the south-west corner of Yonge Street and Charles Street in Toronto is likely to be the City of Toronto’s first modern timber structure since the 1940’s. The three storey structure is made of solid timber: using cross-laminated timber floor and roof panels, glulam columns and beams and fortunately, will retain the original 1889 historical facade of the heritage-listed building.


Courtesy of LGA Architectural Partners

The library and theatre wing of the Laurentian School of Architecture, Sudbury, Ontario in nearing completion. It’s a two storey structure built entirely out of heavy timber.  The walls, floor and roof structure are CLT panels supported by glulam columns and beams, design by LGA Architectural Partners of Toronto. As an indication of the future of wood in construction, the School will be home to generations of young Ontario Architects.


1. The State of Canada’s Forests: Annual Report 2015
2. USDA National Report on Sustainable Forests—2015
3. 2014 American Forest & Paper Association Sustainability Report
4. Forest Products News, The Beck Consulting Group, spring 2016