Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

 CTBUH Research:
 Canada Grows Taller
See more Tall Buildings in Numbers studies
December 2012

Canada is in the midst of a tall building boom. Twenty six buildings taller than 150 meters have been built in Canada since 2005, according to a new research study by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

Canada added four buildings taller than 200 meters in 2012, the most Canada has ever completed in a single year, the CTBUH study found. In contrast the United States completed two building over 200 meters in 2012.

The epicenter of Canadian tall building development is Toronto, where 15 buildings taller than 150 meters are under construction, more than any other city in the western hemisphere. Toronto is projected to have 44 buildings taller than 150 meters by 2015, up from 13 in 2005.

But Toronto is not alone. Vancouver and Calgary are also growing taller. By the end of 2015 the number of buildings in Canada taller than 150 meters is expected to increase to 74, up from 26 in 1995, according to the CTBUH study.

“Canada is reshaping its urban centers and tall buildings are playing a large role,” said Dr. Antony Wood, Executive Director of the CTBUH. “Canada is at the forefront of discussions about density, transportation and urban sustainability.”

The development in Canada also reflects a global shift in the fundamental role of tall buildings around the world.  In 2001, 26 of the 27 buildings taller than 150 meters in Canada were office or hotel buildings; today 15 of the 17 buildings taller than 150 meters currently under construction are entirely or partially residential. Eight of the 9 buildings taller than 150 meters completed in Canada in 2012 featured a residential component.

All five of the towers taller than 200 meters under construction in Toronto are residential.

A similar shift can be found in cities around the world. In 1990, 89 of the 100 tallest buildings were offices; in 2012 only 41 of the 100 are offices and 53 have a residential component, according to data tracked by the CTBUH database, The Skyscraper Center.

Two Canadian buildings have won the CTBUH Best Tall Building Award for the Americas in recent years, Absolute Towers in Mississauga (2012) and Manitoba Hydro Place in Winnipeg (2009).

More noteworthy findings about tall building development in Canada:

•  Toronto currently has 30 buildings over 150 meters; Calgary has the second highest number with 14.
•  Toronto accounts for 51.8 percent of the tall buildings in Canada, but only 14.5 percent of the population.
•  The latest additions to Canadian skylines include the 277-meter Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto and The Bow, a 237-meter tower in Calgary with a unique diagrid structural system.

The CTBUH study focused on the population of buildings taller than 150 meters in Canada’s seven largest urban agglomerations. The raw data can be found on the Skyscraper Center.

Figure 1. Canada's seven tallest urban agglomerations. View Larger
Notes: 1. Data accurate as of 2012. 2. Data souce: The Skyscraper Center 3. Population data: Statistics Canada

Figure 2. Timeline of Canadian Skyscraper Completion, Since 1985 View Larger
Note: Bars represent total number of buildings in existence at the end of each year. Dots represent building type, completion year and height.

Figure 3. Future Tallest Ten: 2015 View Larger
Tallest: 298 meters, Average: 256 meters

This article was originally featured in the CTBUH Journal 2012 Issue IV and is also available as a PDF download (Tall Buildings in Numbers article).

See more Tall Buildings in Numbers studies

Note: The focus on buildings over 150 meters in height is driven by the need to ensure accuracy of data, rather than suggesting that this is the threshold for a tall building.