First 70Ft Steel Struts Installed for Portland Commons Cantilever

First 70Ft Steel Struts Installed for Portland Commons Cantilever

In the conversation about construction in the area around Spadina and Front, most of Toronto’s attention has been focused on The Well, which has remained one of UrbanToronto’s most followed projects over the last few years. However, less has been said about its neighbor to the west, Portland Commons, a formally complex commercial development from the team of Carttera Private Equities and WolfeCorp.

The future 15-story office building is currently rising along the northeast corner of Front and Portland streets, one of its more interesting structural systems erected earlier this month; the cantilevered sixth floor supported by steel supports.

Looking northeast toward Portland Commons, as it should look when completed, image from submission to City of Toronto

The steel supports are the latest visually expressive structural effort from architects Sweeny&Co, who built a similarly impressive X-column support system into the atrium space of QRC West, completed in 2017. For Portland Commons, the supports are an integral part of supporting the building’s overhang, created by a widening of the floor slab to the north and east on the sixth level. The first of a total of 11 supports, spanning a length of 70 feet each, arrived on site in mid-January.

First of 11 steel supports arrive on site in mid-January, image from @Ellisdoncorp (instagram)

The supports have a pinned connection, a secure system that is easy to install, while also maintaining a clean visual appearance that adds to the industrial character of the project. The rendering below shows how the 11 supports will be distributed across the north and east sides of the building, with clean, minimal connections.

Looking south from under the 6th floor overhang, image from

At the sixth level we can see that there is still a considerable overhang extending beyond the supports. This is made possible by the double-girder floor deck, a system that uses several pairs of steel I-beams as the central structural elements for the cantilever floor, which are laterally connected by single girders. The double girder deck can be seen in the image below, with two steel supports can also be seen in place.

Looking northwest at the double-girder floor deck supported by steel supports, image by UT Forum contributor Red Mars

Zooming out to look more generally at the progress of the project, the building has grown to six full stories above grade over the past six months of formation. The seventh floor is in mixed stages of completion, with some sections of the floor cast and placed in the center of the floor slab, while further south forms are still in place before the next concrete pour. At the far southern edge of the building to the right, the forms for the eighth level are also being constructed, as the crew wants to keep the project moving at a consistent pace.

Looking southeast as the building frame rises to the 8th floor, image by UT Forum contributor AHK

Upon completion, the development team is aiming for the highest standards of sustainable design and workplace wellness for Portland Commons, with goals of achieving LEED Platinum rating and WELL Gold certification. The 56,000 m² office building will also have a total of 13 outdoor terraces and a green roof to further contribute to worker well-being.

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime you can learn more about it from our database file, linked below. If you wish, you can join the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.


UrbanToronto has a research service, UrbanToronto Pro, that provides comprehensive data on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area – from proposal to completion. We also offer instant reports, downloadable snapshots based on location, and a daily subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, that tracks projects from initial application.

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