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Ontario’s first net-zero mass-timber building nears completion

Limberlost Place at George Brown College’s waterfront campus “topped off”

August 21, 2023  By PCL Constructors Canada

Photo: Salina Kassam.

Limberlost Place, Ontario’s first mass-timber, net-zero carbon emissions institutional building, has now reached the highest point in construction. The final wood and steel beams were installed in the 10-storey facility located at George Brown College’s (GBC) Waterfront campus in Toronto’s growing east Bayfront community.

“Limberlost Place is a complex project to oversee because of how far its design is pushing the boundaries in advancing current sustainable building practices. We are incredibly proud of how everyone involved – from project consultants to skilled trades – is demonstrating true collaboration and commitment to bring this landmark learning destination to life. Along with our donors and partners, we had a shared vision about sustainability and Limberlost Place is a celebration of our working together,” said Dr. Gervan Fearon, president, George Brown College.

To celebrate this milestone, which is known as “topping off” in the construction industry, project partners and the trades workforce signed a beam earlier this summer before it was lifted into place at the top of the building.

Limberlost Place’s structure was completed using an intricate installation method including a sequence where each mass timber column and cross-laminated slab band would be placed. The structure includes three, three-storey mass timber columns which are amongst some of the largest in North America.


Topping off signifies a shift in focus to completing the exterior envelope, starting the interior fit-up – including the installation of other mass timber pieces such as the learning landscape feature stairs – and commissioning the building.

Designed by Acton Ostry Architects and Moriyama Teshima Architects with PCL Construction managing construction, Limberlost Place will be home to GBC’s schools of architectural studies and computer technology, and the Brookfield Sustainability Institute. Students will learn in and from this innovative and future-proof facility. Its internationally award-winning design and construction surpasses the Toronto Green Standard for reduced carbon emissions, and is changing national and provincial building codes for mass-timber buildings over six storeys.


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