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New retail format for green development in downtown Toronto

The largest construction project in Canada – The Well in downtown Toronto – is to include a 46,500 sq m (500,000 sq ft) retail complex designed by BDP, along with offices and housing.

The development is described as bringing the next evolution of physical retail in North America, with a format that – like some European centres – offers a hybrid of high street and mall layouts. Arranged over three levels, the shopping centre will evoke main streets and town squares, with car-free pedestrian strips, distinct street names, and small brick storefronts designed to reflect 18th and 19th century shops. It will also offer large social gathering spaces for entertainment and events.

The retail space will be open all sides and covered only by a glass canopy, while all commercial deliveries and unloading will take place on an underground level. A Deep Lake Water Cooling system and an array of thermal energy storage tanks will provide low carbon cooling and heating to entire site, and to neighbouring properties.

A foodhall has been inspired by traditional markets, and will offer a ‘global-meets-local’ range of products, while established fashion brands are expected to operate alongside up and coming entrants to the market.

More than 10,000 people are expected to live and work within the wider development at The Well, which has been conceived as a ‘liveable’ space with easy connections to transport hubs and cultural attractions. Adamson Architects, HPA, and Claude Cormier have worked on the project in conjunction with BDP.