Canadian Broadcasting Centre

Canadian Broadcasting Centre
General information
Location 250 Front Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M5W 1E6
Current tenants Rogers Media (eighth and tenth floors only)
Construction started 1988
Completed 1992
Owner Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Technical details
Floor count 13
Floor area 1,720,000 square feet (160,000 m2)
Design and construction
Architect Philip Johnson
Architecture firm John Burgee Architects (design), Bregman + Hamann Architects (production)
Structural engineer Quinn Dressel Associates
Other designers Barton Myers (Development/Design Guidelines and Outline Specifications) (1985)

The Canadian Broadcasting Centre, located in Toronto, Ontario, is the broadcast headquarters and master control point for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's English-language television and radio services. It also contains studios for local and regional French language productions and is also home to the North American Broadcasters Association. Its French language counterpart is the Maison Radio-Canada, located in Montreal.

The Canadian Broadcasting Centre is located at 250 Front Street West in Downtown Toronto, directly across the street from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. It is within walking distance of Union Station, the Rogers Centre, and the CN Tower. It is also connected to the city's PATH underground pathway system.


Consisting of 13 functional and spatially impressive storeys, the Broadcast Complex is partly located on the site of the First Ontario Parliament Buildings, which stood on the block bounded by Wellington, John, Front, and Simcoe streets between 1832 and 1903. Constructed at a cost of $350 million (excluding technology renewal), the Canadian Broadcasting Centre complex entered service in 1993.

Its superior architectural, structural and infrastructural design features eventually incorporated, among others, the emergent concepts and information technologies underlying Digital HDTV, Digital Radio Broadcast, IT platform as a "Global Information Server and MultiMedia Cloud" integrated with the Internet. The project's leading aim was much needed integration of large number of CBC employees who were located at more than 20 separate facilities throughout Toronto and modernization of the CBC corporate automation infrastructure in preparation for the 21st century.[1]

The project required over twelve years of planning with particular emphasis (1988–90) on critical IT strategic planning, digital archives, multimedia, interactive TV, corporate office automation and high-capacity advanced corporate intranet technology design dependent on physical considerations including fibre-optics and electromagnetic interference from within and nearby sources such the CN Tower. It took another four years for construction completion, corporate IT platforms, communication backbone, and skeletal communication structure erection and S/W applications refurbishment. Without the loss of one minute of airtime, the personnel and the systems migrated to the new facility, which was recognized to be the most advanced of its kind in the world with a minor technology challenge posed only by the CNN facilities in Atlanta, USA.[2]

Television production is located on the upper floors (with many programs recorded in the three rooftop studios), and radio on the second and third floors. Some of the larger sound stages are rented out to outside movie and television productions, such as Global's Canadian versions of Deal or No Deal and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?.

The entire structure sits on 3,000 massive hard-rubber pads to reduce unwanted noise and vibrations. It is for that reason that all of the studios are located in the core of the building.[3] The complex also has four 1250-kilowatt Cummins generators to provide power to critical loads during a power failure. The atrium was named for Barbara Frum, a noted Canadian journalist. It is used as the venue for special broadcasts, including federal election coverage and the CBC 2000 Today millennium special, and episodes of Canadian Antiques Roadshow.

The building contains three radio studios (including the Glenn Gould Theatre), 19 radio production studios, three television studios, two local television studios, two all-purpose studios, and one national news studio. Local programming for the Toronto stations CBLA-FM (CBC Radio One), CBL-FM (CBC Radio 2), CJBC (Ici Radio-Canada Première), CJBC-FM (Ici Musique, CBLT-DT (CBC Television), and CBLFT-DT (Ici Radio-Canada Télé) are produced in these studios, in addition to national programming for CBC's television and radio networks.

The CBC Museum, which is dedicated to preserving the memories and physical artifacts of the national broadcaster's heritage, is located on the first floor of the building. As of 2010 exhibits include the original "Tickle Trunk" from Mr. Dressup (Casey's treehouse from the same series is on display in the lobby just outside the entrance to the museum), a portion of the original set used for Friendly Giant, Muppets puppets from Sesame Park, video clips from numerous programs, and original sound and tape equipment. Additional exhibits of memorabilia from CBC's history are also located in other areas of the first floor.

In 2015, the CBC announced that it intends to sell the building and lease back parts for the operation. The CBC leases large parts of the building and incurring expenses for the maintenance of the building. The role for the public broadcaster has diminished and increasing efficiency has reduced need for as many staff.[4]

The analogous facility for CBC's French-language networks is Maison Radio-Canada in Montreal. The CBC's corporate headquarters are located in Ottawa in the CBC Ottawa Broadcast Centre.

Security and threats

The so-called Toronto 18 terrorists included the building in their list of targets in a 2006 Ontario terrorism plot.

In 2010, the broadcast centre was inside of the secure zone due to the 2010 G-20 Toronto summit protests and employees were not allowed to leave the building during portions of the rioting when gates into and out of the zone were locked down.

A Canadian Security Intelligence Service regional office is located on Front St. W. directly across from the CBC broadcasting centre, and helped identify suspicious packages and led to the arrest of a suspect in 2011.[5]

In the 2012 series finale of Flashpoint, the building is featured as one of several locations including the Air Canada Centre that are under attack in Toronto.[6]

The CBC building in downtown Toronto had to be evacuated in November 2015 after someone taking stock of inventory in the archives stumbled upon what looked like a military shell.[7] Police and military bomb technicians were called in and determined the shell was inert.[8]

Television studios

The roof of the Broadcasting Centre, as seen from the CN Tower. Studio 40 is centre, flanked by studios 41 and 42.


  1. Mehmet T. Sindel, BC Intranet Chief Architect and Project Manager, 1988-90
  2. Mehmet T. Sindel, BC Intranet Chief Architect and Project Manager, 1988-90
  3. "CBC Broadcast Centre - Project Case Study". HGC Engineering. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  4. Levinson King, Robin. "CBC looks to sell downtown Toronto HQ". Toronto Star. TorSar. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-01-03.
  9. "CBC Production Facilities - Toronto Broadcast Centre - Studio 40". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
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Coordinates: 43°38′41″N 79°23′17″W / 43.644833°N 79.388194°W / 43.644833; -79.388194

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