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Strategic Marketing Campaign Drives Successful Leasing of Revived Toronto Historical Gem


The Canada Permanent Trust Building was completed in 1931, one of numerous development projects born out of concerted efforts to rebound following the stock market crash of 1929. Architect Henry Sproatt’s grand vision of a towering 18-storey Art Deco masterpiece dominated the skyline as Toronto’s tallest building, situated in the most important corner of the city’s Financial Core – Bay Street and Adelaide Street East.

The Vision 

Menkes and TD Greystone shared a vision of reviving the historic Canada Permanent Trust Building in the centre of Toronto’s Financial District and reintroducing it to the market as a fully modernized office building. They partnered with Colliers to lease over 300,000 square feet of space across 18 floors, including a dedicated retail ground floor and mezzanine area. To this end, Colliers set out to rebrand the building with the intention of positioning it as the unrivaled centre of the Financial Core. Thus, the building’s new identity was woven from its rich and inimitable history and the extensive and exhaustive plans for its renovation.

The Strategy

At the onset of this project, the downtown Toronto market was at a record low vacancy. However, instead of aiming to lease the building as quickly as possible, Colliers shifted its focus to reaching a preferred group of tenants with long-term use objectives, with favour given to those seeking to secure full floors. To ensure the desired audience was aware of and engaged with the project, Colliers created a strategic marketing plan using both traditional and modern tools to communicate the tremendous opportunity of leasing space within the building.

The Marketing Plan

The Colliers Marketing team, consisting of Erin Dwyer, Jennevieve Virata, Yuan Tian, Cachelle Legada-Buenafe, Johnny Hasleham and Dominik Borusowski, employed a marketing strategy that involved engaging the target audience using a personal approach, with the goal of creating demand – and in turn, competition – within this exclusive echelon of potential tenants. This strategy drove the creation of marketing material that conveyed The Permanent’s value and displayed best in personal one-on-one meetings. The overall vision was to deliver a high-end, high-touch experience.

With the pandemic hitting in the middle of the campaign, the Colliers Marketing team quickly transitioned to a digital-forward approach, leading with online and digitally interactive communication pieces that allowed potential tenants to see the value of this historic building while adhering to all recommended healthy and safety protocols.

The Outcome

The project has been hugely successful thus far, and Colliers intends to move on this trajectory as the campaign continues. With over a third of the space confirmed leased – including the ground floor retail space – and the balance in the offer stage, the clients have been thrilled with the entire process.

The seamless execution of the campaign created a demand that compelled Colliers to issue a Request for Proposal in order to qualify parties interested in becoming the desired coworking tenant. This process gave the clients more leverage in selecting reputable tenants from the array of responses received. The resulting excitement and competition to qualify to lease space in The Permanent is the fruition of a thoughtfully curated, strategically targeted and personalized campaign.

In November 2020, The International Property Awards named The Permanent Best Development Marketing, Canada.