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Toronto Still North American King of The Cranes

Toronto's reign as North American Crane King will continue, according to a new survey from Rider Levett Bucknall.

The biannual RLB Crane Index, which tracks the number of operating tower cranes in 14 North American cities, found that Toronto had 121 downtown cranes, the most of any major city in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. That figure was one more than the last index, when Toronto also finished on top.

Downtown
Toronto's reign as King of Cranes should come as no surprise to anyone downtown who can look up.

The 2020 Toronto numbers far outpaced the competition, and represented 27%  of the 455 total cranes of the participating cities.

Coming up a distant second was Los Angeles with 47 cranes, followed by Calgary (37), Seattle (36), San Francisco (33) and Chicago (29).

"Toronto has been on top for quite a while, and this is the highest it's been," RLB Toronto principal Terry Harron said. "What’s notable is the amount that were for residential projects."

Five of Toronto's cranes were for commercial projects, 24 for mixed-use, four for transportation and a whopping 88 for residential projects, most of which were condominiums.

It should be noted that the 121 Toronto cranes do not include the numbers operating in suburban areas. Add them in, and the number rises to 246, according to a similar 2019 RLB report.

Toronto night
Toronto remains tops in North America in the number of cranes dotting its skyline, according to a new survey.

Harron doesn't see any reason why Toronto's crane domination should cease any time soon. He said it remains a seller's market, with demand outpacing supply and a high percentage of projects in progress that are pre-sold. Toronto also remains a major destination for immigrants.

"The immigration levels remain very high, with one-third of people settling in Toronto. So we're always going to need new housing as long as that is true."

Of course, like all predictions these days, the one unknown is the coronavirus. Ontario put a two-week moratorium on most construction projects this week to combat the pandemic.

"It is probable that this pandemic will drive a recession which will have an impact on future crane counts," the RLB index summary says. "Current construction projects may also be affected due to shut downs, or workers not reporting to job sites for a variety of reasons including illness, illness of family members, or even fear of taking public transport."