Toronto Congress Centre Expansion Raises The Environmental Bar For Public Spaces

Built-in Sustainability puts expansion at forefront of North American facility design

When the doors of the new Toronto Congress Centre Expansion officially open in January 2008, the city of Toronto will become home to one of the largest and most sustainable trade and convention facilities in North America. Located near Pearson International Airport, Toronto Congress Centre (TCC), a division of Congress Centres Inc. is already the largest privately owned show and meeting place in Canada. This major addition will double TCC’s current space to one million square feet, and position the centre as one of the greenest trade show facilities in the world.

TCC’s expansion began with a vision of a future forward, environmentally sustainable, multi-use trade and convention centre that would be a healthy place for people to gather for business and special functions. From its zero waste construction, enviro-friendly purchasing policies and reduced energy use to its superior air quality, storm water re-circulation and green roof technology, as well as its interior fixtures and finishes and much more … Toronto Congress Centre North will soon established itself as a leader in sustainability.

To address TCC’s need for additional capacity, in 2006, Norr Architects of Toronto were assigned the task of re-purposing a derelict building on the north end of the property. The contractor’s goal was to turn the unused space into an eco-friendly, multi-purpose facility that would compliment the adjacent trade centre. Norr’s revolutionary design and its implementation is a lesson in applied ecology that far exceeds today’s environmental building standards. From its construction phase onward, architects, engineers and management have taken care to limit the building’s enviro-impact. When completed, the new Toronto Congress Centre Expansion will operate using less energy, less water, more fresh air and more natural light with fewer toxins and less waste than any other facility of its kind.

Construction Phase
The new phase of Toronto Congress Centre began in early 2007 with the demolition of the unused building. Working with Turtle Island Recycling, the goal was to divert or reuse up to 95% of existing materials. The Zero Waste project meant separating and recycling materials, crushing and recycling old concrete and brick into site fill and reusing the existing steel frame structure. New construction materials continue to be chosen according to recycled, enviro-friendly and reusable content. To reduce the carbon footprint during the construction phase, only local building materials and construction trades have been chosen.

Green Attributes:

  • Zero Waste Objectives: 75% of the materials from the demolished building have already been recycled
  • Energy Efficient Lighting: electronic energy efficient ballasts and dimming controls, interior daylight sensors, LED exit signs, occupancy sensors and compact fluorescents make major reductions in energy use while providing superior flexibility and white noise reduction
  • Improved Air Quality: Latest HVAC (heating, ventilation & air conditioning) technology monitors CO2 levels to control fresh airflow. Interior finishes are low VOC (volatile organic compounds) and all cleaning products are eco-friendly
  • Green Roof Technology: Designed to accept a living roof to absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, reduce HVAC costs and heat island effects, and improve storm water management
  • New Life for Existing Water Tower: A Storm water management system filters sediment before it enters the city’s storm sewers and will eventually provide rainwater irrigation to the site
  • Low Water Use Plumbing Fixtures: Low flow, low flush and auto flush plumbing throughout save hundreds of gallons of water daily during big events
  • Ultra-high efficiency Heating and Cooling system No CFC’s (Chlorofluorocarbons) or HCFC’s (hydro chlorofluorocarbons) allowed. System cools using Puron A-410A enviro-friendly refrigerants. CO2 sensors provide maximum thermo equalization to eliminate air stratification.
  • 375 KW Emergency Power Generator: Backs up life safety systems and lighting, and shaves peak electrical loads
  • Glazed Curtain Wall: Thick insulating low-E, argon filled glass offers a higher thermal loading value to public lobby area
  • Linen-Free/Paper free: Attractive tabletops for meetings and formal gatherings reduce the need for laundry and chemicals. High energy hand dryers in washrooms mean no paper disposal.
  • Enviro-Friendly Purchasing Policy Preference for reusable, recyclable and returnable containers ensures reduction in packaging
  • Expansive Green Lobby: Brings the outdoors in with live trees, greenery and natural light which all pay homage to the Canadian landscape
  • Natural Light: Exhibition Hall will be dappled with natural light

Plans are also underway to purchase green power, incorporate photo-voltaic lighting, plant xeriscopic gardens, and the facility is investigating co-generation possibilities.

The new phase will place Toronto Congress Centre (TCC) as one of the three largest privately-owned convention facilities in North America, and it will be among the top ten in size on the continent.

TCC’s Vice President, Customer Experience and Corporate Communications, Cara Carey, explains that the massive new addition originated in part, from the company’s reputation of providing the best customer experience of any facility, anywhere in the world. In fact, TCC management is so certain of its superior customer experience levels, it has trademarked its ideology as GEMTM or Great Experience MakersTM. Ms. Carey adds, “Customer demand for more exposition, meeting and private function space led to this expansion, and Toronto Congress Centre’s reputation for excellence has meant a very high customer return rate. Our new addition will meet current customers’ needs and more, and will continue to be managed with our ever forward commitment to great customer experiences.”

Founded in 1995 Toronto Congress Centre has hosted many of the largest and most prestigious meetings and expositions in Canada. In 2006, Toronto Congress Centre was named a finalist in AIPC’s highly competitive APEX Award for “World’s Best Congress Centre”. In 2005, it became the first and only trade facility in the Americas to receive HACCP Accreditation, meeting the highest level of food safety practices worldwide.

Toronto Congress Centre is located at 650 Dixon Road near Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 1J1. For more information: 416-245-5000.


For more information:

Cara Carey, Vice President
Customer Experience and Corporate Communications Toronto Congress Centre
416-245-5000 Ext. 2227