Iconic 10 Dundas Street East Building in Downtown Toronto Rebrands as ‘The Tenor’: Interview

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A well-known downtown Toronto commercial and entertainment complex previously known as 10 Dundas Street East has been rebranded to The Tenor, the culmination of a multi-year re-investment strategy for the property by BentallGreenOak, one of Canada’s leading real estate investment management firms.

The Tenor is a 10-storey, 360,000-square-foot entertainment, retail and office complex at the northeast corner of the intersection of Yonge and Dundas Streets. This is the 11th year of the building’s existence.

The real estate company’s re-investment strategy included the installation of one of Canada’s largest outdoor digital billboards, the successful addition of new anchor tenant  “Little Canada” – a one-of-a-kind tourist and education destination – and earning international distinction by taking home The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) Award in 2021, BOMA International’s most coveted prize.

Image: The Tenor (Facebook)

“As we look ahead with great anticipation to the revitalization of our district and a reimagining of the surrounding public spaces, The Tenor will be a strong and central presence in an inspiring future for Torontonians and all who visit our great city,” said Bob Emond, General Manager of The Tenor.

“Our vision is to showcase The Tenor’s dynamic energy with a new brand identity that captures the character and vitality of our tenants and our collective aspirations for a future that reflects the diversity of cultural and commercial activities that will animate this building for decades to come.

“The offices are comprised of Ryerson University, the Ministry of Tourism, the Toronto Film School, and The DMZ, which is an entrepreneurial startup run through Ryerson. The offices themselves are very mixed. The commercial aspect of the property itself we’re home to Cineplex which houses 24 theatres including their VIP theatre. We’ve got Jack Astor’s, which coincidentally per square is the busiest Jack Astor’s in Canada. It’s just incredible. We’ve got Spring Sushi. We’ve got Milestones. Those are our big three dine-in restaurants. And they’re all unique.”

He said all three of those restaurants have exterior rooftop patios that overlook the downtown core.

Image: The Tenor

“So it really is kind of a happening place – a gathering place – for folks after work, lunches, whatever,” said Emond.

There’s also a traditional food court with a variety of tenants. It’s unique because it’s on the third level of the building with a huge window expanse that overlooks the heart of Yonge Street.

“When students are back in class (at Ryerson), generally they use 11 to 14 of the cinemas daily, Monday to Friday, as lecture halls through the week,” said Emond. “It’s amazing. Around lunch time you’ll see 4,000 students come down the escalators or elevators to the food court or restaurants. It’s a happening place.”

There’s also a number of retailers such as Adidas, Winners, Dollarama, Tim Hortons, Blaze Pizza.

Image: The Tenor (Facebook)
Image: Little Canada (Facebook.com/littlecanada.ca)

“But most importantly, in 2019 we were lucky enough to get Little Canada. We signed a lease agreement for 45,000 square feet here to bring their new attraction to Canada and that started the whole conversation. We’ve always been known as an address. We’re 10 Dundas. In 2019, we wanted to really identify the building as a destination. So we started the process. In 2019, we were awarded the Building of the Year through BOMA, the TOBY Award for best retail under a million square feet,” said Emond.

“We made a lot of inroads through the year. Yonge and Dundas basically it’s our Times Square if you think of it with all the media boards, the signage, the activity. We introduced a multi-million dollar digital screen on our exterior and really it’s one of the biggest billboards in Canada. It becomes a focus.

“So we were talking, what are we? We’re more than an address. We started kicking around names and we did some focus groups. We thought we’ve got to come up with a name that’s the go-to place that kind of resonates with people. We started the conversation and actually just this past summer . . . we won the prestigious international TOBY for 2021 as Building of the Year. That was awarded in Boston this past August.

“Little Canada is anticipating in their preliminary numbers up to 300,000 visitors in the first couple of years, growing to as many as half a million visitors a year. We thought we’ve got the cinemas, we’ve got the dining, we’ve got fast food, we’ve got Little Canada. We’re more of an entertainment destination . . . We thought of identifying ourselves as simply more than an address. We landed on The Tenor and it was a play on the number 10, being on 10 Dundas, 10 floors.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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