Ottawa spending $277M to renovate federal building in midtown Toronto

The Canadian government is spending $277 million to renovate a federal building in midtown Toronto to make it as energy efficient as possible and more accessible to people with disabilities, a federal cabinet minister said in Toronto on Tuesday.

Public Services Minister Carla Qualtrough told reporters that the renovation of the Arthur Meighen Building, on St. Clair Avenue East near Yonge Street, is underway and is expected to be completed by 2022. The building was built in the 1950s.

Qualtrough said workers are replacing the building’s electrical, mechanical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems with energy efficient systems. The aim is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions the building produces yearly.

“The transformation of the Arthur Meighen Building will be nothing less than stunning and will serve as a model of inspiration for all of our buildings right across Canada,” she said.

Qualtrough said the project will make the building one of the first federal “carbon neutral” buildings in Canada, she said. A “zero carbon” building uses carbon free renewal energy, which offsets any carbon emissions associated with its operations, she added.

She noted buildings account for 23 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

When the renovation is complete, the building will have solar panels on its roof and a geothermal system that will heat and cool the premises. It will also have “electronic beacon devices” to help visually impaired people navigate the building through an app.

The building will serve as the main federal government building for the Ontario region, housing about 1,500 employees.

It will also contain offices of the Canada Revenue Agency, Canada Border Services Agency and Immigration and Refugee Board, according to a news release from Public Services and Procurement Canada.

The project’s budget includes design, demolition, construction, fees and supervision, the release said.

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