By Glen Whiffen
People from Newfoundland and Labrador visiting London, England, in the months to come might feel a deep sense of pride in seeing the name “Newfoundland” high in the city’s skyline.
Newfoundland is the name of a residential building currently under construction at the western end of the massive Canary Wharf estate, close to the River Thames, in London.
It is planned to be a world-class, mixed-use development with 62 floors. It will consist of high-quality residential apartments, retail space and residential amenities.
“The building will be located just a few minutes’ walk from the Jubilee line, Docklands Light Railway, Elizabeth Line,” an email from Canary Wharf Group states. “(It will be) opening in December 2018 and Canary Wharf river link will offer easy access to the west end, the city and beyond.”
The email states that the building has been master planned by renowned architect Horden Cherry Lee, with support from a team of expert architectural experts.
“The high-quality residential space will put Newfoundland on the map as one of London’s prime residential private rented developments,” the email states. “The design provides a counterbalance to the predominant office-building townscape while incorporating high-quality architecture worthy of this important site and responds positively to the context of the Canary Wharf highrise cluster and dockside setting.”
While the company acknowledges the province of Newfoundland and Labrador’s deep connection to England — particularly having fought as part of Britain in two world wars, and the history of the province as a once-important colony of Great Britain — the name for the building didn’t come about because of that.
Martine Basson of the Canary Wharf Group press office said there is a strong Canadian connection throughout Canary Wharf, with many of the sites and squares being named after Canadian/North American provinces and exploration, including Canada Square, Montgomery Square, Cabot Square, Columbus Courtyard and Ontario Way.
The name “Newfoundland” for the new building, however, came about through an unexpected discovery — maybe not as dramatic as when John Cabot discovered Newfoundland and claimed it for England more than 500 years ago after sailing across a turbulent North Atlantic Ocean.
“The land the Newfoundland Tower sits on is what was previously a car park for a building which we didn’t own, and we assumed we didn’t own the car park, either,” Basson said. “When we found out we did (own it), it was ‘new found land,’ and this is where the inspiration for the building’s name has come from. Unfortunately, not from Newfoundland, Canada.”
Still, seeing Newfoundland in the city’s towering skyline will no doubt bring a feeling of pride to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and Canadians in general.
The Newfoundland will hold a prominent spot as the iconic area’s residential pinnacle, the email notes. The Newfoundland will have 636 apartments — studios, and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with varying layouts — and a first-floor restaurant with a ground floor coffee shop. There will be private screening and dining rooms, a club and private lounge, a games area and a terrace on Level 2. It will include indoor and outdoor play space for children and a gym.
“The tower will offer some of the best views in London and residents will be able to enjoy panoramic scenes of the capital from their floor-to-ceiling windows, a stunning backdrop to everyday life,” the email states. “Residents can watch the morning sun come up over the impressive skyline and the buzzing pace of the city in the day, right through to the evening when the workday tempo slows down for more leisurely pursuits.”
Canary Wharf Group is a wholly owned joint venture between Brookfield Property Partners and the Qatar Investment Authority.