This historic Toronto church is adding a 29-storey condo tower

As the redevelopment of the historic Bloor Street United Church ramps up with excavation and shoring work expected to begin this spring, members of the congregation are feeling mixed emotions.

On the one hand, they’re excited to see that the long-anticipated project is moving along. By working with developer Collecdev to construct a 29-storey condo tower on the church property, they’ve been able to find a way to fund the delivery of a new sanctuary on-site, as well as offices, and community space. And they’ve been able to do it all while preserving iconic components of the original church structure, which dates back to the late-19th century but had become a heavy burden to maintain as the years went on. 

“But at the same time, that space was for many of us a very important place, and it will be different,” says Michael Hilliard, chair of the church’s Redevelopment Steering Committee, which formed more than 20 years ago to spearhead the eventual redevelopment of the site at 300 Bloor St. W., in the Annex neighbourhood. “So we had to say goodbye to the old — take a break — before we can embrace the new, and I think we have to acknowledge there was a bit of sadness in terms of leaving the old space because it was meaningful for lots of people,” adds Hilliard, who was baptized, confirmed, and married at the church. 

The new space has been designed to be more inviting, accessible, and flexible, he says, and counts among its features a large assembly hall, kitchen, meeting rooms, and more. “There’s a real shortage of affordable community space in downtown Toronto,” Hilliard tells Post City, citing a problem he hopes the church’s new facilities can help address.

“There’s a real shortage of affordable community space in downtown Toronto,” Hilliard said.

The development is expected to be done around late 2025 or early 2026. At that point, the United Church of Canada plans to move its head offices there. It’s one of a number of church development projects that see congregations updated facilities in exchange for adding a residential component to the site. 

The mixed-use development, which is being marketed as Cielo Condos, is just one example of the many in which Toronto religious institutions are turning to the real estate business to upgrade their facilities. 

In a statement, Collecdev emphasized the developer’s ongoing commitment to maintaining parts of the architecturally significant church. 

“As construction of CIELO Condos advances, with shoring and excavation scheduled this Spring, Collecdev Construction continues to ensure we support the preservation of the historic Bloor Street United Church — a Toronto landmark,” said Natascha Pieper, a spokesperson for the developer, in the statement. 

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