Ontario Newsroom

Ontario Renovating Key Government Buildings

Archived News Release

Ontario Renovating Key Government Buildings

Province Reducing Costs and Fighting Climate Change

Ministry of Infrastructure

Ontario is reconstructing the Macdonald Block Complex, an initiative that will reduce the cost of government operations and help the province meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The 45-year-old Macdonald Block, a complex of four towers that is home to the largest concentration of Ontario public servants, has never undergone a major renovation and the building's core systems -- including electrical, water, cooling and heating -- have reached the end of their useful life and must now be replaced.

An independent, third-party expert panel concluded that an extensive reconstruction is needed. The panel advised that the government's average current expenditure, including operating expenses and capital expenses required to maintain the buildings in their current state, would be reduced from an annual average of $144 million to $121 million over 50 years. This results in an estimated return of all costs invested in the renovation and an average annual net savings to the province of more than $20 million for the next 50 years. Those savings will be achieved through reduced operating costs, lower energy and capital maintenance expenditures, and the reduction of over 380,000 square feet of third-party leases across the downtown Toronto core.

The project will also support the government's efforts to fight climate change.  The recently released Climate Change Action Plan commits to making provincial government operations carbon neutral by 2018. The Queen's Park Reconstruction Project will strengthen the performance of these existing government buildings while helping Ontario meet its short- and long-term greenhouse gas reduction targets. It will also ensure that the Ontario public service remains a modern and inclusive organization.

The eight-year project will also include renovations to the Whitney Block, one of Ontario's oldest government office buildings.  Renovations to the Whitney Block will include replacing windows, updating the heating system and repairing the façade.

Investing in infrastructure is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making

the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario's history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

Quick Facts

  • Macdonald Block Complex is home to 12 cabinet ministers, 15 Ontario government ministries and 3,600 Ontario Public Service employees. The complex includes the Macdonald Block Podium, and the Hearst, Hepburn, Mowat and Ferguson towers.
  • All work will be completed over an eight-year period, with employees beginning to move out of the complex in late 2018. Reconstruction will occur between 2019 and 2023 and staff will move into the newly reconstructed complex in 2023-2024.
  • The Macdonald Block Complex project will be delivered by Infrastructure Ontario using an Alternative Financing and Procurement model, which has a proven track record with 98 per cent of projects being completed on budget.
  • Since 2006, greenhouse gas pollution from government-owned buildings has been reduced by 30 per cent or 53,000 tonnes. This is the equivalent of removing 12,325 passenger vehicles per year from the roads.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Reducing our Toronto office footprint allows us to find efficiencies in our public assets, leading to long-term cost savings for Ontarians. The reconstruction is a long-term project that will be undertaken in a fiscally responsible manner. When completed, it will have a significant economic benefit to the province over the next 50 years.”

Bob Chiarelli

Minister of Infrastructure

“Ontarians and the government are doing their part in the global effort to fight climate change. Through this project, our government is demonstrating leading practices in green infrastructure, low carbon building retrofits, design, construction and technologies to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Glen Murray

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

“The reconstruction of the complex is an urgent necessity. The evidence is compelling that the complex's core systems have deteriorated to the extent that they represent real risks of future disruptive failures that will negatively impact government operations at the complex and at adjacent government buildings. It is the expert panel’s view that reconstruction is a time-sensitive priority and an appropriate investment in the maintenance and enhancement of the provincial government's operational capability.”

Michael Nobrega

Chair of the Macdonald Block Reconstruction Project Expert Panel

Media Contacts



Business and Economy Government Jobs and Employment