In recent years Toronto has been a fertile ground for amazing projects – whether it’s new buildings, modernizations, or connecting parts of the city, we’ve got it covered.
Construction cranes have become a fixture of the Toronto skyline over the past decade. In some months, there've been as many as 150 cranes towering above the Canadian city.
The Greater Toronto Area has over 2,000 buildings taller than 30 meters, and the downtown area boasts more than 100 skyscrapers that rise to a height of over 100 meters (about the height of the Statue of Liberty). Within North America, only New York City has more high-rise buildings.
Our team in Canada has witnessed firsthand this building boom in the country’s largest city, securing a contract for the 174-meter office tower that forms part of The Well. The 36-story tower commands impressive views of the Toronto skyline and the waters of Lake Ontario.
The Well is a complex in the center of the city consisting of seven high-rise buildings home to 1,700 offices, apartments, and retail spaces. From spring 2023, roughly 11,000 people will work, live, and shop there daily. We provided a total of 19 Schindler 7000 elevators, 18 equipped with our Schindler PORT system, and 4 Schindler 5500 elevators, as well as other elevators and three escalators, all helping to transport people efficiently around the building.
The Well was developed by the Canadian real estate investors RioCan and Allied Properties and the massive complex was built by general contractors EllisDon and Deltera – and it was EllisDon that brought us on board.
"We may not be number one in Canada, but we can do great things," says Lisa Konnry, President of Schindler Canada. "If our employees believe in the company, then our customers do, too." Regional Manager Dave Brennan, who was involved in the negotiations, adds: "Our customers know that we deliver consistently high quality and that we communicate with them well."
The Scotia Plaza skyscraper in downtown Toronto is instantly recognizable with its red hue and its sheer size. We were awarded the contract to modernize its elevators, which we had originally installed 30 years ago.
The multiyear modernization process was challenging and complex both in logistical and technical terms because it had to be carried out while the building was fully occupied. Adrian Mahadeo, Project Manager for existing installations and modernizations, together with his team, installed a total of 22 double-deck elevators featuring the Schindler PORT access system – making them capable of handling 20,000 people on any given day. The team also modernized two service elevators, three elevators leading to the underground parking, and 12 escalators.
Adrian Mahadeo arrived on-site in the early hours of the morning each day. "I was extremely motivated because this was a flagship project for us," he says. "And because I knew that I would have the right specialists on hand in the event of any problems."
In 2022, the industry magazine "Elevator World" named Scotia Plaza "Project of the Year" recognizing the high level of success of the modernization.
There are many other modernization projects on the horizon in Canada. Half of the country’s high-rise buildings were built in the 1970s and need upgrading.
Adrian Mahadeo will take on these new customers, while handing over responsibility for Scotia Plaza to Miriam Ritacco-Widmer. The young Swiss account manager will be working in Canada for two years as part of the Schindler Career Development Program SCDP. "I’m very grateful for this new opportunity, and I look forward to tackling it," says Miriam.
"If you want to succeed as a woman, you need the right position and power," says Lisa Konnry on placing so much trust in a young manager. "At Schindler Canada, 38% of management roles are held by women. I am a strong advocate for women, and I want to achieve success with them. This not only benefits women – it benefits our company and our customers."
The city airport is located on an island just a stone’s throw from the banks of Lake Ontario. Billy Bishop Airport, named after a Canadian pilot whose heroic actions in the First World War made him a legend, also served as a training base for the Norwegian Airforce during the Second World War.
Justin Klodner, one of our Project Managers in Toronto, could always see the airport from his balcony. When the city council announced a plan to build a tunnel connecting the mainland with the island – an idea first conceived in the 1930s – he was keen to be part of this complex engineering project. Justin got the opportunity to do just that when we won the contract. "We’re almost always focused on reaching the top – so this was our first experience of going downward," says Justin with a laugh.
Transporting materials in the tunnel shaft was a challenge. Inaugurated in July 2015, six elevators now connect the mainland with the tunnel. Four Schindler 9500 moving walks beneath Lake Ontario – each 74 meters in length – provide rapid and easy access to the airport on the island. Six escalators and two more elevators then transport passengers to the departure hall.
"The Billy Bishop tunnel is quite unique – a world first. I’ll always have special memories of working on this project," says Justin.