Our History - The Well


Site History

The Legacy of The Well

The Well was designed to celebrate the mixed-use legacy of the development site, which was throughout its history home to the military reserve, a 19th-century estate house and the buildings of the Telegram Publishing Company. The site’s southern border on Front Street West was also once home to Toronto’s shoreline, where the City had a vision to create a Parks and Gardens Plan for a public promenade.

Bluff Line Drawing

Time Immemorial

Atop a bluff, over Sparkling Waters — a gathering place
The traditional territory of the Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations

Military Reserve Line Drawing

1793 – 1835

Military reserve
Forests cleared, as far as the cannon shoots — a Garrison reserve

The Well History Image

1812 – 1837

The Well’s development site was originally part of the military reserve surrounding Fort York. The reserve lands were sold by the government after The War of 1812 to accommodate new growth as Toronto expanded westward. In 1837, Wellington Place was established, conceived as a grand, tree-lined boulevard that concluded in two public squares.

The Well History Image

1830 – 1850

The site became an estate house in the 1830s, which was eventually turned into Loretta Abbey and used as a school. By the mid 1950s, the railway began expanding, spurring rapid industrial growth of the area, mainly on the heels of printing and garment industries. The neighbourhood’s residential dwellings were slowly replaced with the brick and beam warehouses that the King-Spadina district is known for today.

1835 – 1867

Lyndhurst Estate
Land subdivided, industrialists flee city soot — the estate lifestyle

Loretto Abbey Line Drawing

1867 – 1927

Loretto Abbey
Sisters’ safekeeping, times tables and catechesis — a rigourous education

Industrialization Line Drawing

Late 19th century

Lake filled, a cradle for rail-roads — industry pushes prosperity north

The Well History Image


In 1959 the Telegram Publishing Company purchased the development site, on which the offices of The Globe and Mail and its printing facility were built. Industries remained the dominant land use in the King-Spadina neighbourhood for decades, but as the industries moved to the suburbs, the area saw a resurgence of retail, office and residential development.

Newspapers Line Drawing

1963 – 2016

Nonstop presses, doors to the fourth estate —a city reflecting itself

The Well Line Drawing


The Well
Towers rise, commerce runs deep — a precinct renewed


8 Spadina Avenue
The Well’s signature office tower, 8 Spadina Ave, opens its doors for the first time.

The Well Retail Aerial Shot


Rising high, over the Sparkling City — a gathering place of modern luxury and urban sophistication

History of the Salvaged Wood

The Well proudly features site-reclaimed salvaged wood from the timbers of the former buildings that occupied the site. You will find this old growth Douglas fir throughout the entire complex in various thoughtful reinterpretations by skilled local crafters. From timber-lined bridges to retail soffits to boardroom tables,  room dividers and seating, this material from our past once again graces us while offering function, beauty and storytelling.

The wood originated in BC, cut in the late 50’s and early 60’s. They were milled there with the beams being made from the heartwood of the massive trees with the remaining outer layers used for flooring, trim and finer pieces. The original trees would have ranged from 3 to 4 feet in diameter and even up to 6 to 8 feet. The estimated age of some of the older trees are 300 to 400 years and beyond, meaning some may have started growing in the 17th century. The metal brackets were also salvaged from the beams used on the Lumber Studies and Elevator Benches found in the 8 Spadina Ave Lobby.

Reclaimed Wood

In Touch with The Past

The lobby of 8 Spadina Ave features a collection of sculptural seating created from site-reclaimed wood of the industrial buildings that previously stood at the site.

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