240 duncan mill toronto

This building in Toronto is all lit up with a cascade of colourful lights

One Toronto building is lit up without bulbs, strings or inflatable Santas way past the holidays.

Colourful lights now cascade down a building that's being developed at 240 Duncan Mill Rd. 

It's a health care facility that's currently being modernized by Dalton, Prism Partners and Thomas Payne Architect, known as Forest Ridge.

While during the daytime it looks like all the other relatively dull buildings along the road, passers by driving along the 401 at night have noticed a brilliant rainbow of colours rippling along the exterior of the building.

"Always saw this building when driving on the highway but it was always lit in green at night," reads the caption of a social media post by a photographer who happened upon the building.

"We were heading to a park and got lost! Then we just so happen to stumble upon the building on the lost adventure! It was different colours and not just green!"

Indeed, the building isn't lit up just in green, but blue, yellow and purple too, the colours flickering through different patterns.

The mostly-medical building has been undergoing a complete renovation since 2018, and of course within two years the city was hit with a particularly depressing time period. The lights were first turned on at the building on Dec. 7, 2020.

"During that dark period, we decided to use a new digital building lighting technology that was available from an Ontario based company, Atec Signs. We decided to spend the money and make our building a bit of light in the middle of darkness," Forest Ridge Inc. tells blogTO.

"It is lit up red for Valentine's Day, multicolour for Christmas, green for St. Patrick's Day, etc. Right now, we light the building with colours of the Ukrainian flag. This lighting installation is permanent. We have gotten a very positive response from the community, many of whom contact us just to tell us how much they enjoy the addition."

Atec was responsible for the lighting, with Thomas Payne transforming the building architecturally but working with Atec on signage.

"From the beginning, the generating idea for our work was to transform a grey, brutalist concrete building with little surviving charm into an inviting, highly accessible luminous destination for wellness," Thomas Payne tells blogTO.

"We wanted the building to evoke an emotional response from those visiting to seek medical help and the general public. We wanted the building simultaneously to read as a temple-like building on the ravine edge, visible from afar and welcoming from close."

Lead photo by

Thomas Payne Architect

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