First Canadian Place

The changing face of First Canadian Place

Since late 2009, First Canadian Place has seemed a bit like a giant snake shedding its skin, as construction workers have slowly peeled off its marble exterior in favour of energy-efficient glass panels. Brookfield Properties, owners of the building, embarked on the $100 million project when marble panels started to fall from its upper floors. Since then, it's been fascinating to track the crew's progress as they replace floor after floor of the old material.

As work on the re-cladding nears completion, FCP's been given a new vibrancy that's pretty grand if you're into nerding out over skyscrapers. So, by way of paying tribute to its new look, I thought it'd be fun to take a look back at the origins of the Canada's tallest skyscraper.

Built between 1972 and 1975, FCP ultimately took the place of the Old Toronto Star Building, a beautiful art-deco structure that would be even more sorely missed today if it didn't get such a worthy replacement. When it was completed, FCP was one of the 10 tallest buildings in the world. Its white marble exterior and distinctive corners make it quite similar in appearance to the Aon Center in Chicago, save for the difference in window orientation on each building (horizontal vs. vertical) and the fact that re-cladding efforts at the AC in the 1990s used white granite.

Here's a brief history of First Canadian Place in photos:

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Old Toronto Star Building, Toronto Archives — ca. 1961

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The future site of FCP, Charles Dobie — 1972

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Ditto, Charles Dobie — 1972

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Under construction in 1974Wikipedia — 1974

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Brand new in 1975, Brookfield Properties — 1975

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The original lobby, Brookflield Properties — 1975

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Towering above Toronto in 1976, B+H / Panda Associates — 1976

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Old logo, and pre-radio antennae, Via B+H / Panda Associates — 1976

Toronto Skyline

Toronto skyline, 1980sToronto Archives — Ellis Wiley Fonds, 1980s

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The Carrara marble shows its ageKevin Lam — 2006

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Peeking above the TD Centre, Derek Flack — 2008

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Work begins on re-cladding, Matthew Harris — 2009

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Sample panels, Matthew Harris — 2009

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The new facade is revealed, Derek Flack — 2010

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Close-up of re-cladding efforts, Brookfield Properties — 2010

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Construction continues, Danielle Scott — 2010

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Nearing completion, Sam Javanrouh — 2011

First Canadian Place

The view from the top, Tommms — 2011

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All shiny and new again, IdealistDreamer — 2011


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