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Tower Renewal

Nearly 1 million people in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe area live in concrete residential towers, many of which are in dire need of repair.
Ageing apartment towers undergoing construction.

There are nearly 2,000 apartment towers in the Greater Toronto Area that provide shelter to nearly 1 million people. These towers comprise roughly 20 per cent of Toronto’s total housing supply. Most were built between 1950 and 1970 and require significant upgrade and investment.

The Tower Renewal Project is a bold and innovative venture aimed at retrofitting Toronto’s aging post-war apartment tower clusters into vibrant, socially and economically viable urban communities. The Tower Renewal Partnership is working with a broad range of partners to develop strategies to achieve Tower Renewal through design, advocacy and implementation.

The Reality

An apartment tower.

Nearly 1 million people in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe area live in concrete residential towers, some of which are in dire need of repair, and others that require significant upgrading.

The Vision

A chain-link fence decorated with colorful pipe cleaners.

The Tower Renewal vision was launched in 2007 by Graeme Stewart and Michael McClelland of ERA Architects. Further developed through the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal, and the City of Toronto, the Tower Renewal vision has three basic facets that include: An energy retrofit of existing buildings; improved livability for renters and their surrounding communities through increased social and economic opportunities within tower neighbourhoods; better use of the green space around these towers through mixed-use infill development and improved transit connections to and from these neighbourhoods.

Together these measures offer the transformation of currently isolated and often socially marginalized dormitories into dynamic, integrated and low-carbon hubs across the city.

In Partnership

Apartment towers in Vancouver, with the SkyTrain passing in the foreground.

The Tower Renewal vision has the potential to integrate social, environmental and economic investment in these tower neighbourhoods across the city and beyond. Many pieces of the vision are underway through great work from the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, United Way Toronto and others.

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