Sun Life Tower + Harbour Plaza Residences

Lead Architect: Sweeny &Co Architects Inc.
Design Architect – Residential: architectsAlliance

Sun Life Tower and Harbour Plaza Residences offer Toronto a mixed-use development spanning a full city block. An urban re-generator, this new complex is comprised of an 840,000 s.f. Class ‘AAA’ Office Tower, a 3-storey, 160,000 s.f. retail podium and two 70-storey residential condominium towers with 1295 suites (Designed by architectsAlliance).

The progressive design of the new High-performance Workplace tower incorporates state-of-the-art technology in both building automation systems and tenant environments. It includes elements such as a raised floor HVAC system to provide individual temperature control and greater access to fresh air, constant air-quality monitoring, geo-thermal cooling system and occupancy sensors for controllable lighting. Establishing a new standard for environmentally sustainable facilities, the Tower is set to achieve the highest level of sustainable design: LEED® Platinum certification. Sun Life Financial Canadian head office operations—with 1,400 employees—will be moving to this address. They will occupy a 30% stake in the 800,000 s.f. prestigious tower.

  • Overview

    Clients: Healthcare of Ontario Pensions Plan (HOOPP), Menkes Developments
    Size: 800,000 s.f. office, 250,000 s.f. Retail
    Status: In-Progress
    Our Role: Architecture, Planning, Urban Design, Interior Design



  • Location
  • Description

    Sun Life Tower and Harbour Plaza Residences is a mixed-use development comprised of a highly sustainable High-performance Workplace tower, a retail podium and two 70-storey residential condominium towers. Each of the three components contributes significant value to the complex and is independent yet linked at grade. Connected to the indoor PATH system (and by extension to Union Station), each building is also publically accessible at the 4th floor Roof Garden Amenity. Shared amenities such as retail, food court, and health clubs add considerable value with a unique competitive advantage.

  • Context

    Occupying a full city block, this mixed-use development is situated at a prime location, south of the Gardiner Expressway at the foot of York Street, walking distance from Lake Ontario in Downtown Toronto and is connected to the PATH system. Soon to be extended, the PATH system will connect the residence, tenants, occupants and visitors of this complex to the Union Station, the Air Canada Centre, the RBC WaterPark Place III, and another office complex (currently under construction) directly to the south, while crossing streets on second level bridges in the area.

  • Design Approach

    The project’s design delivers a new benchmark for advanced human comfort and healthy office building design. Composed of a sophisticated material palette, the commercial and residential towers sit elegantly against the skyline of Toronto and Lake Ontario. Moreover, an exceptional office entrance lobby with 16m high ceilings and a highly transparent single-span cable walls add to the experience and presence of the Sun Life Tower. The effect is more akin to an urban room, connecting the streetscapes with the interior. The elevator core is clad in a highly figured stone, reinforcing the contrast between classic and modern office tower elements. Above the lobby and well above the level of the Gardiner Expressway, the office tower plates begin. Efficient, 26,000 s.f. open floor plates provide flexibility for the commercial tenants, featuring 10’-8” clear to the underside of the exposed concrete slab, raised access floor, underfloor air system, floor to ceiling glazing and 16 elevators. The design and execution deliver an environment that accommodates current interior design thinking, unparalleled flexibility and superior human comfort.

  • Sustainability Features

    Targeting LEED® Platinum certification, the sustainability measures include: water conservation methods, grey water reuse in the washrooms and irrigation, high efficiency light fixtures, photo voltaic solar panels, deep water cooling, robust curtain wall façade, careful sourcing of materials and waste management as well as the provision of all car parking in a compact, below-grade structure. Due to its efficient underfloor air distribution, building automation controls and other similar systems, Sun Life Tower is expected to achieve an energy performance less than 48% of the energy performance in a traditional office building.