Toronto’s Eaton Centre will get a $77 million makeover led by Zeidler Architecture

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Toronto’s Eaton Centre will get a $77 million makeover led by Zeidler Architecture

Toronto’s Eaton Centre in 2021 (Canmenwalker/Wikimedia Commons, accessed under CC BY 4.0)

In the same month that Canadian architect Eberhard Zeidler passed away, the owner of one of his best-known projects announced plans to give it a $77 million makeover.

Cadillac Fairview, owner of the CF Toronto Eaton Centre, announced on January 11 that it would spend $60 million to refurbish the galleria’s skylight roof by replacing its glass to “improve energy efficiency while maintaining its classic design aesthetic.”

Cadillac Fairview plans to invest another $17 million to improve pedestrian movement and accessibility with the addition of three new staircases in the South Court and Urban Eatery, improvements to elevators, and the installation of a larger cab in an existing elevator so it can accommodate people with strollers and mobility scooters better.

Eaton Centre opened in 1977 as a privately managed “interior street” lined with shops and offices and merging with the public realm. It was a breakthrough urban revitalization project for Zeidler, who passed away on January 7 in Toronto at age 95. The renovation project is being led by his eponymous firm, Zeidler Architecture, with Read Jones Christoffersen as consulting engineers and EllisDon Corporation overseeing construction.

“The galleria’s original design was inspired by the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Italy and has served as a distinguishing feature of the mall since the center’s opening,” said Wayne Barwise, executive vice-president of development for Cadillac Fairview, in the renovation announcement. “As custodians of this unique architectural element, our priority is to ensure the integrity of its design as we significantly enhance its functional performance.”

“As the original architects of the galleria, we’re honored to play a continuing role in one of the city’s most iconic buildings,” added Zeidler partner David Collins. “This revitalization will ensure that the skylight roof is fit-for-purpose and sustainable in the long run, all while retaining its original architectural splendor.”

The work is being carried out in two phases, with the first part scheduled to begin this month at the south end of the development. Work on the north end is scheduled to begin in March 2023.

According to Cadillac Fairview, the center’s Flight Stop art installation, which depicts 60 Canada geese in mid-flight, will be temporarily removed by an art restoration company for professional maintenance and placed in storage until it can be reinstalled under the refurbished roof.