299 queen street west

Leaked memo reveals an iconic Toronto landmark will soon be redeveloped

A media empire will soon be vacating its downtown Toronto complex, initial details coming to light in a leaked memo sent to Bell Media team members by Wade Oosterman, Vice Chairman of Bell Canada.

blogTO has obtained the internal memo advising employees of "upcoming changes" to their landmark building at 299 Queen Street West.

The memo mentions the approved Ontario Line subway ,which will run below Queen Street, and the wave of new towers redefining the blocks surrounding the media complex, stating that due to all the noise and construction anticipated in the coming years, Bell Media is planning to "temporarily move our studios to another downtown location."

Oosterman stresses that the move won't happen right away, indicating that it could take place in late 2024 or early 2025.

Still, the relocation would mark the close of a long chapter for the complex, converted from its former warehouse uses into a broadcasting mecca in 1987.

With this relocation on the near horizon, Bell Media is getting a head start on the site's future with plans to issue a "request for proposal to a few carefully selected organizations, to see what dreams they can bring to life from a development perspective for our existing 250 and 260 Richmond and 299, 277 and 275 Queen Street locations."

In the memo, Oosterman correctly assumes that "given the iconic nature of the building, and the high profile of the current occupant (us!) that this may attract some media attention."

All buildings on the property are listed on the city's Heritage Register, with sections of the site covered under the King-Spadina Heritage Conservation District and four addresses designated Under Part IV Of The Heritage Act.

With all of this heritage inventory, don't expect to see the landmark complex demolished entirely, the future development proposal expected to integrate the distinctive architecture into its base.

It's still too early to know how new buildings would be incorporated into the site, or whether the iconic news truck crashing through a wall or preserved CHUM neon sign would live on in a redevelopment, but this is undoubtedly one property to keep an eye on.

Lead photo by

Paul Flynn

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