Throughout October, UrbanToronto is celebrating 20 YEARS, with stories looking back over the last two decades. Each day we are also checking out our ever-changing street scenes, comparing an older "Then" shot with an up-to-date "Now" shot.
Today's 'Then' and 'Now' photos takes us to the heart of Toronto's Entertainment District, looking east along King Street West from Charlotte Street towards the financial district. This section of King has seen some of the most significant densification in the city in recent years. In 2005, King West was primarily occupied by 3-5-storey retail and commercial buildings, larger warehouse-type structures, and surface parking lots. It was a time in which Metro Hall and the Hyatt Regency hotel dominated over the area, and Speedy Auto Service still occupied a prime piece of real estate along King.
By contrast, the September 2023 image (below) of the same scene sees a large portion of the lower-rise built form demolished; replaced with much taller mixed-use towers such as M5V, King Blue Condominiums, and the recently-completed 357 King West. Behind the Hyatt is Festival Tower; completed in 2011 it set the precedent for significantly-increased densification in the district as well as the now-infamous 157m-height ceiling seemingly applied to many applications in this part of the city through the 2010s. This area continues to undergo transformation: at the bottom left of the image is the site of 400 King West (157m); at the top left is the topped-out Riu Plaza building (156m), and the crane for the Maverick (154m) can be seen peeking out from behind the taller of the King Blue towers at the top-centre of the image.
Come back tomorrow for another Then and Now from over UrbanToronto's last two decades!
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Thank you to the companies joining UrbanToronto to celebrate our 20 years in business.