HPAC Magazine

Ontario renovating key government buildings

July 5, 2016 | By HPAC Magazine

Reconstruction of the 45-year-old Macdonald Block Complex in Toronto, ON, includes updating the plumbing and HVAC systems.

Macdonald Block,

The Macdonald Block Complex, main entrance at 900 Bay Street, Toronto. Archives of Ontario

A complex of four towers, the site is home to the largest concentration of Ontario public servants. It has never undergone a major renovation and the building’s core systems – including electrical, water and HVAC systems– have reached the end of their useful life and must be replaced.

An independent, third-party expert panel concluded that an extensive reconstruction is needed. The panel advised that the government’s average current expenditure, including operating expenses and capital expenses required to maintain the buildings in their current state, would be reduced from an annual average of $144 million to $121 million over 50 years. This results in an estimated return of all costs invested in the renovation and an average annual net savings to the province of more than $20 million for the next 50 years. Those savings will be achieved through reduced operating costs, lower energy and capital maintenance expenditures, and the reduction of over 380,000 square feet of third-party leases across the downtown Toronto core.

The project will also support the government’s efforts to fight climate change.  The recently released Climate Change Action Plan commits to making provincial government operations carbon neutral by 2018. The Queen’s Park Reconstruction Project will improve the performance of these existing government buildings.

Renovations to the Whitney Block, one of Ontario’s oldest government office buildings, will also be done. These include replacing windows, heating system updates and repairing the façade.

The project will take eight years to complete and will roll out in three phases:

Phase 1 – 2016-2019: Site planning, project procurement and site preparation. Employees will relocate to temporary alternate office locations beginning late 2018.

Phase 2 – 2019-2023: Reconstruction of the Macdonald Block Complex occurs.

Phase 3 – 2023-2024: Reconstruction of the Macdonald Block Complex is completed. Employees will begin to move into the newly reconstructed complex.

Quick Facts
  • Macdonald Block Complex is home to 12 cabinet ministers, 15 Ontario government ministries and 3600 Ontario Public Service employees. The complex includes the Macdonald Block Podium, and the Hearst, Hepburn, Mowat and Ferguson towers.
  • All work will be completed over an eight-year period, with employees beginning to move out of the complex in late 2018. Reconstruction will occur between 2019 and 2023 and staff will move into the newly reconstructed complex in 2023-2024.
  • The Macdonald Block Complex project will be delivered by Infrastructure Ontario using an Alternative Financing and Procurement model, which has a proven track record with 98 per cent of projects being completed on budget.
  • Since 2006, greenhouse gas pollution from government-owned buildings has been reduced by 30 per cent or 53,000 tonnes. This is the equivalent of removing 12,325 passenger vehicles per year from the roads.



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