One Canada Square

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Template:Use British English Template:Use dmy dates Template:Infobox building

One Canada Square (often incorrectly called Canary Wharf, after its location) is a skyscraper in Canary Wharf, London. It was the tallest building in the United Kingdom from 1990 to 2010, standing at Template:Convert above ground level<ref name="ReferenceA">Aviation charts issued by the Civil Aviation Authority</ref> and containing 50 storeys. In late 2010, it was surpassed by The Shard (completed in July 2012) which stands at Template:Convert.

One Canada Square was designed by principal architect Cesar Pelli, who based the design and shape mainly on the World Financial Center and the Elizabeth Tower. One of the predominant features of the building is the pyramid roof which contains a flashing aircraft warning light, a rare feature for buildings in the United Kingdom. The distinctive pyramid pinnacle is at Template:Convert above sea level.<ref name="facts"> Accessed 25 May 2008 14:55 BST.</ref>

One Canada Square is primarily used for offices, though there are some retail units on the lower ground floor. It is a prestigious location for offices and as of January 2013 was 100% let. The building is recognised as a London landmark and it has gained much attention through film, television and other media when its status was the tallest building in the United Kingdom and continues to gain attention.

History and design

The original plans

The original plans for a business district on Canary Wharf came from G Ware Travelstead. He proposed three 260 m (850 ft) towers. Travelstead was unable to find the money for his project, so he sold the plans to Olympia & York in 1987.<ref name="surveyoflondon">Hermione Hobhouse "Modern Docklands: Gazetteer of modern non-housing developments", "Survey of London: volumes 43 and 44: Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs", 1994. Retrieved 28 April 2008</ref> Olympia & York grouped all three towers into an area<ref name="surveyoflondon"/> known as Docklands Square, and the main tower was designated DS7<ref name="chi"></ref> during planning. Docklands Square was later renamed Winston Square before finally being renamed as Canada Square.


The architects chosen to design One Canada Square were Cesar Pelli & Associates, Adamson Associates, and Frederick Gibberd Coombes & Partners.<ref name="buildingmag">Unknown author, "Faster, higher, stronger", Building website, Canary Wharf supplement 2005, 2005. Retrieved 25 May 2008 14:26 BST.</ref><ref name="surveyoflondon"/> They designed the tower with a similar shape to Three World Financial Center, New York City, which was also developed by Olympia & York and designed by Cesar Pelli. The shape was also made reminiscent of "Big Ben".<ref name="historyleaflet"/> Olympia & York wanted to clad One Canada Square in stone, just like the World Financial Center buildings, but the architects first wanted to use aluminium for its low density, before insisting on steel<ref name="surveyoflondon"/> to reflect Britain's heritage as an industrial nation.<ref name="historyleaflet">Canary Wharf Group plc, "Arts & Events", "Canary Wharf", "A different perspective", "Self-guided walking tours at Canary Wharf", "Transitions", 'Canary Wharf Group plc', May 2003. Retrieved 27 April 2008</ref>

One Canada Square, the original Canary Wharf tower, was designed by Cesar Pelli and was Template:Convert high at 55 storeys. One Canada Square penetrated the permitted projection height of the flight obstruction area of the airport approach district to London City Airport, but this was extended to a height of Template:Convert above kerb level in consideration of the fact that One Canada Square was on the external zone of the airport approach. To comply with air traffic safety regulations, the architects took off five floors<ref name="surveyoflondon"/><ref name="historyleaflet"/> of the tower. The final height of Template:Convert was permitted, otherwise, the developers would have had to dismantle what was necessary to fit the height restriction. After losing five floors, Olympia & York insisted the other floors had to make up the lost floor space.<ref name="surveyoflondon"/><ref name="historyleaflet"/>

The design of the tower received a fair share of criticism. According to Cesar Pelli, the most damaging criticism came from Prince Charles, who said on national television, "I personally would go mad if I had to work in a place like that". Other criticisms came from former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who said that the building was "not quite stunning".


Construction on the tower began in 1988.<ref name="surveyoflondon"/> Construction was given to Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons in association with Ellis Don of Toronto,<ref name="surveyoflondon"/> but they were slow at building the tower, partly due to building workers going on strike in the Summer of 1989, so Lehrer McGovern took over.<ref name="surveyoflondon"/> Lehrer McGovern contracted out most of the work to Balfour Beatty because the Canary Wharf Tower was a difficult building to build. In total, about 27,500 metric tonnes of British steel and 500,000 bolts were used during construction.<ref name="facts"/>

By June 1990, the tower overtook Tower 42 (previously known as the Nat West Tower), becoming the tallest building in the United Kingdom.

On 8 November 1990, the tower was topped out when the top piece of the pyramid roof was put in place by crane. The celebration was attended by many famous architects, recognised engineers and political leaders. Amongst them were César Pelli, Brian Mulroney, Peter Rice, Man-Chung Tang, and Margaret Thatcher. Paul Reichmann, the owner of Olympia & York gave credit to Pelli for his building design as "this inauguration symbolises the spirit with which buildings can be achieved". Margaret Thatcher told the distinguished audience that the tower can become a "national recognised landmark".


In August 1991, One Canada Square was completed<ref name="surveyoflondon"/> and open for business. His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh officially opened One Canada Square on the morning of 26 August 1991, and unveiled a commemorative plaque at the entrance to the building. Hundreds of construction workers attended the opening ceremony. The Duke of Edinburgh addressed some 800 invited guests, many of whom had been involved in the project. He spoke of the "large, airy space and clean, efficient office layout", as he declared the building ready for business. The attendees heard a specially-commissioned piece of music performed by a 30-strong choir. Paul Reichmann, Chairman of Olympia & York said:

"The Canary Wharf Tower marks the start of a new beginning for Canary Wharf, for London, and for the United Kingdom. It is by any standard a triumph of ambition, commitment and collaboration. It will breathe life into Canary Wharf, allowing us to continue our transformation of the rest of the wharf, and will put Canary Wharf at the leading edge of real estate."
—Paul Reichmann, Chairman, Olympia & York (1991)

And Cesar Pelli, main architect, gave his speech that included:

"According to Lao Tse, the reality of a hollow object is in the void and not in the walls that define it. He was speaking, of course, of spiritual realities. These are the realities also of the Canary Wharf Tower. The power of the void is increased and... with its supporting structure creates a portal to the sky ... a door to the infinite."
—Cesar Pelli, architect (1991)


The majority of the tower was empty after opening because most tenants had not moved in yet and there was a global recession. To brighten up the tower, lights and lasers were installed during the Christmas celebrations of 1991. Soon after in May 1992, the original developers, Olympia & York, went into bankruptcy administration. A majority of the tenants who were due to move into One Canada Square refused.Template:Citation needed (Only a handful of tenants actually believed in the Canary Wharf project and still moved in despite the bankruptcy situation.)Template:Citation needed Over the next several years, ultimate ownership of the tower changed several times (see Ownership section). By 2003, One Canada Square was completely let for the very first time.Template:Citation needed It took 15 years to fill up the tower (as tenants were first sought from the date of construction).Template:Citation needed

Building technical details

Building name

The name given to the building by the developers is 'One Canada Square', but it is often incorrectly called 'Canary Wharf'.

Building height

Officially, the Civil Aviation Authority shows the building at Template:Convert above ground level, or Template:Convert above sea level.

Pyramid roof

thumb The pyramid roof is an important feature of the building, enclosing a maintenance plant and housing facilities for water supply and window washing, and an aircraft warning beacon. The pyramid itself is 40 metres high<ref name="colt">Colt Group Products and Systems - Architectural Solutions - Louvre Systems - Projects - Canary Wharf - "Canary Wharf, London" / "Bespoke Screening Louvre – Stainless Steel Louvre Pyramid", Colt Group website, Colt International Licensing Ltd. Retrieved 25 May 2008 16:08 BST.</ref> and 30 metres square at the base.<ref name="colt"/> It is made from stainless steel<ref name="colt"/> and is held together by 100,000 nuts and bolts,<ref name="colt"/> with a weight of over 100 tons.<ref name="colt"/> A louvre access door opens to allow a shining beacon to identify the building to passing aircraft.<ref name="colt"/>


Water is pumped up to the pyramid roof, and is continuously replenished. A common sound that is heard inside the pyramid roof is water being moved around. The water is used for general water requirements, such as toilets, etc. The tower consumes an average of Template:Convert of water per day.

Window washing machines

The machines for washing the building windows are stored on the roof of the building. There are two types: one is automatic and the other is manual. The automatic window washing machines run on rails on the sides of the building. This machine can clean a window in 2.6 seconds. It consumes 426,000 gallons of water per run to clean the entire tower. The other machine is a manual window washing cradle. Both of these machines for cleaning the windows are supported by rails that run around the outside of the pyramid roof and that are bolted down into the maintenance floor itself. thumb

Aircraft warning lights

The aircraft warning light is at the very top of the pyramid. Access is via a ladder with a warning sign stating that unauthorised entry will lead to dismissal. The tower uses an omni-directional light usual for marking hazards. It has very long life and requires little maintenance. Light intensity achieved is well in excess of the required 2,000 candelas. It uses low power consumption and the unit can be flashing or steady.

Electrical equipment

There is electrical equipment that regulates the power to the rest of the building on the mezzanine floor. Some of the electrical generators on the mezzanine floor are powered by micro-hydro water turbines, sourced by water pumped up to the roof, making the building one of the most advanced environmentally friendly buildings in the world.Template:Dubious

Roof material

The steel comprises a galvanised steel core, with a multi-layered protective coating and granular finish for better performance characteristics. The tile is in three satin finishes and a high-gloss silver and can be transported in situ in a building's roof.

Cleaning the roof

The pyramid itself is cleaned by special maintenance personnel who abseil from the light beacon opening at the very top of the roof. Not only do they have to deal with the height, as well as the winds that interfere with their ropes, but they also need to inspect the steel roof.

Pyramid roof lights

The pyramid roof lights up in the evenings and can be seen Template:Convert away. It is a permanent lighting of the Canary Wharf tower pyramid using a thousand electronically controlled fluorescent tubes capable of sequence programming for special occasions and festive seasons. The 4000 lights are highly energy efficient, and have an annual running cost of £23,360, rather than £116,800 if traditional incandescent bulbs had been used.

Lightning conductors

One Canada Square uses a traditional roof circuit for its lightning protection system. The roof holds 5 lightning conductor rods. This rooftop network of conductors contain multiple conductive copper paths from the roof to the ground. The steel cladding does not form part of the lightning protection system, as it was considered too dangerous.


At the peak cooling times, the HVAC (climate control) system requires cooling equivalent to that provided by 2,000 t of melting ice in one day. The building has a condensate collection system, which uses the hot and humid outside air, combined with the cooling requirements of the building and results in a significant amount of condensation of moisture from the air. The condensed water is collected and drained into a holding tank located in the basement car park.


One Canada Square has 3,960 windows<ref name="facts"/> and was one of the first buildings to incorporate metallicised windows and other advanced window technologies, to assist with the building's energy efficiency plans. The tower uses super-insulated windows at triple-pane glazing (with a high solar heat-gain coefficient), low-emissivity (low-e) coatings to prevent heat loss in winter months, UV coatings, scratch resistant outer layers, sealed argon / krypton gas filled inter-pane voids, 'warm edge' insulating glass spacers, air-seals and specially developed thermally designed window frames. The windows were manufactured with exceptionally high R-values [low U-values, 0.90 W/(m².K)], thereby the thermal resistance is one of the highest rated in the world for the entire window including the frame.

External lighting

The tower uses low energy consumption external lighting through intelligent lighting controls systems. This computer controlled system generates the visually interesting lighting displays on the exterior of the building. The uplighters that are usually seen on the exterior of the building are inductive fluorescent lamps that can be colour rendered and dimmed. The floodlights use compact fluorescent lamps used to provide controlled lighting at the base of the tower. The lighting control system has photocells that will automatically switch on the display when it is dark.

The tower also has a synchronised building exterior decorative light and laser multimedia display. The technology was developed by Australian firm Laservision and cost approximately £2 million. However, Lights Out is a campaign group who protest against the city's light pollution. Organisers of the campaign urged people to switch off their lights.

Fire system

In the event of a fire, One Canada Square is not fully evacuated. The floor that has the fire and all other floors above are evacuated. The air conditioning is set to work in reverse to extract smoke and fresh air is blown into the fire escape staircases to increase air pressure and therefore slow the entry of smoke into these areas. The sprinkler system will not operate unless there is sufficient heat acting on any sprinkler head (which are independent of each other and do not operate in unison).

The only time when One Canada Square was fully evacuated was on 30 October 2001, during a test drill in response to the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Procedure for fire alarm

When the fire alarm activates on a floor, audio instructions tailored to each floor of the building sound. The floor where the fire alarm originated, and all floors above this level, will receive an evacuation message. On floors below the source of the alarm a stand-by notification is given. Digital signage throughout the building displays alert messages followed by instructions tailored to each floor of the building. On certain floors, the instructions ask employees to leave the floor. Exit signs flash. The access control system unlocks doors as necessary. Fire dampers open. Throughout the building, cameras turn on and look for problems that intelligent video software applications have been programmed to detect. Within 2 minutes, the access control system sends a memo to the Security Director itemising how many people have left the affected floor and how many remain.

Tuned mass damper

One Canada Square has a steel pendulum that serves as a tuned mass damper. The pendulum sways to offset movements in the building caused by strong gusts of wind. The building can sway Template:Convert in the strongest winds.<ref name="facts"/>


The lobby is Template:Convert high, clad in Template:Convert of marble imported from Italy,<ref name="facts"/> Guatemala<ref name="facts"/> and Turkey<ref name="surveyoflondon"/>

The stained glass and the roundel in the foyer were designed by Charles Rennie, and are an original design. The design represents Canary Wharf, Water and Boats, illustrating the signs of London Docklands. The slate used here and in various places around the foyer on site is made from the Welsh slate shelving used in the repositories of the original Banana Warehouse at Canary Wharf.


The tower has thirty two lifts for tenants to use, where 8 lifts serve roughly ten floors of the building. All tenant passenger lifts serve the ground floor and the following groups of floors – floors 5–17, floors 18–28, floors 28–39 and floors 39–50 (note that level 5 is the first office floor and there is no level 13). In addition there are 2 firemen's lifts which serve all floors in the building. These have colour designations with blue being in the northeast core of the building and green being in the southwest. From the building's initial construction until late 2009 there were 2 large freight lifts at which point another was added. This lift was built inside a vacant lift shaft and has the designation GL37 (GL for goods lift and 37 as it is the 37th lift in the building).<ref name="facts"/> The tower uses 'Gearless Traction Elevators' by Otis. These lifts were installed in 1990 (aside from GL37 – 2009) using a gearless traction machine. They have woven steel cables called hoisting ropes that are attached to the top of the lift cabin and wrapped around the drive sheave in special grooves. The other ends of the cables are attached to a counterweight that moves up and down in the hoistway on its own guiderails. It takes 40 seconds by lift from lobby to top floor<ref name="facts"/> (The Canary Wharf website has not been updated to include the new goods lift GL37).

Observation floor

There is currently no public observation floor. However, there was an exception during 12 October 1992 – 15 December 1992, when bankruptcy administrators for Olympia & York Canary Wharf Limited opened the 50th floor to the public, in order to maintain interest in Canary Wharf. The scheme was stopped on 15 December 1992 when the IRA attempted to bomb the tower<ref name="parliamentpublications">United Kingdom Parliament Publications and Records - Commons Publications - Commons Hansard - Bound Volume Hansard – Written Answers, "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 4 Mar 1996 (pt 13)", Column 62, see table entry for 15 November 1992, United Kingdom Parliament website, United Kingdom Parliament, 4 March 1996. Accessed 25 May 2008 20:26 BST.</ref> (see Terrorism section).

General figures

  • Template:Convert average floor size<ref name="facts"/>
  • 4,388 internal steps<ref name="facts"/>
  • 130,000 deliveries to the loading bay each year<ref name="facts"/>

Building internal relations

Public access

thumbnail The ground floor, foyer area and basement levels of One Canada Square are open to the general public, having an underground shopping area and a transport interchange from Canary Wharf tube and Docklands Light Railway stations. Access from the basement also links to Canada Square shopping mall. The floors above the lobby are not open to the public, as they contain offices.

Environmental rating

The international BREEAM standard has awarded One Canada Square for best practice in sustainable design and environmental performance for buildings. To achieve the rating, the building had to meet or exceed a challenging score of 85% against strict criteria, and included environmental innovations such as the use of 80% recycled aggregate within the concrete used, and the recycling of waste heat to cool and warm the building. Aggregates used in the office build were from predominantly recycled sources, part of a strategy to integrate sustainable products and materials throughout the site, delivering both affordable and sustainable environmentally friendly features to the building.


Canary Wharf Management Ltd are responsible for the maintenance of the building. There are about 130 in-house and contract staff who maintain, manage, secure and clean the building. There are normally ten maintenance personnel on-site during working hours and three at night to attend to routine repairs and adjustments to the internal environment. Critical spare parts for the electricity, gas and water systems are kept within the building.

Light usage


One Canada Square has been 'named and shamed' for being the top building to leave the lights on unnecessarily.<ref name="insideout">Unknown author of BBC Inside Out team, "City Lights", BBC website, British Broadcasting Corporation, 31 October 2007. Retrieved 24 May 2008.</ref> The research carried out by the BBC's Inside Out programme found that on midnight Sunday, One Canada Square left more lights on than any other building in London.<ref name="insideout"/>

However, Canary Wharf Group said that some tenants have staff working around the clock,<ref name="insideout"/> and 100% of the energy comes from renewable resources.<ref name="insideout"/>


Current office tenants

(This listing differs from Canary Wharf Group's list<ref name="buildprofile">Canary Wharf Group plc, The Estate - Buildings - One Canada Square - Building profile - Building profile, official Canary Wharf website, Canary Wharf Group plc. Retrieved 25 May 2008 14:52 BST.</ref> as it is outdated. This listing also does not match Royal Mail / The Post Office list when searching for companies in One Canada Square<ref name="postoffice">Royal Mail Group Ltd, "Royal Mail address finder", Royal Mail website, Royal Mail Group Ltd. Retrieved 26 May 2008 06:30 BST.</ref>)

  • Abbey business centres<ref name="estatemapnov"/> Trading as Abbey Offices
  • Bank of New York Mellon<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • BBVA
  • Cad & the Dandy - Bespoke Savile Row tailors. 29th Floor, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London
  • Canary Wharf Group PLC<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/> (including Canary Wharf Contractors and Canary Wharf Management)
  • CFA Institute
  • Citihub Ltd
  • Clearstream Banking / Deutsche Börse AG<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Clydesdale Bank<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Coutts & Co<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Diligence<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Engageability
  • Euler Hermes<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/> UK (formerly Trade Indemnity)
  • Financial Services Authority
  • Gekko Global Markets
  • HSBC
  • International Business Times UK IBTimes
  • International Grains Council [1]<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • International Sugar Organization<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • JP Morgan
  • Mahindra Satyam
  • Moody's<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • MetLife<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • NatWest Bank plc<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Netscout
  • NYSE Euronext<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Ocean Media Group
  • Regus Business Centers<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Samsung Electronics London 2012 Olympic Office
  • SAMGarde
  • State Street Bank<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Trinity Mirror Group<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/> (which includes The Daily Mirror, "The Wharf", The Sunday Mirror and The Sunday People)
  • Wide Network Solutions

Previous office tenants

  • Agence française de sécurité sanitaire des produits de santé<ref name="buildprofile"/>
  • Alvarez & Marsal<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Atkins<ref name="estatemapnov"/> (Faithful+Gould)
  • Bear Stearns International<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Cheltenham & Gloucester
  • Citibank<ref name="esr2001"/>
  • City University, London, (Cass Business School) (Canary Wharf Campus)<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • ConocoPhillips Burlington Resources<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries Associations<ref name="buildprofile"/>
  • E-Trade<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • GATX International Limited<ref name="esr2002">Canary Wharf Group plc, Annual Reports: CWG Environmental and Social Report 2001/02, "Environmental and Social Report 2001-2002", page 28 of PDF file, Green Canary Wharf website, Canary Wharf Group plc, 2002. Retrieved 7 June 2008 08:00 BST.</ref>
  • Global Sage<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Hartford Life<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Knight Frank<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • KPMG<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) / London 2012<ref name="estatemapnov">Canary Wharf Group plc "Canary Wharf Estate Map" (November 2007), Canary Wharf Group plc, November 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2008 22:00 BST.</ref>
  • Maersk<ref name="esr2002"/>
  • Maine Tucker<ref name="esr2001">Canary Wharf Group plc, Annual Reports: CWG Environmental and Social Report 2000/01, "Environmental and Social Report 2000–2001", page 4 of PDF file, Green Canary Wharf website, Canary Wharf Group plc, 2001. Retrieved 7 June 2008 08:54 BST.</ref>
  • Médecins du Monde UK<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Michael Page International<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Michael Stone Associates Ltd
  • Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
  • Novartis<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/> Europharm
  • Primus Communication<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • QSR Management<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Quadrant Capital<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Satyam Computer Services Ltd<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Sirhowy Group<ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom<ref name="esr2002"/>
  • SWX Swiss Exchange/Virt-X (Swiss Stock Exchange)<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Teach First<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>
  • Telegraph Media Group.<ref name="esr2002"/> The Daily (and Sunday) Telegraph moved to Victoria in late 2006. The Daily Telegraph formerly occupied floors 11–16.
  • Van der Moolen Holding NV<ref name="buildprofile"/><ref name="estatemapnov"/>


The ownership of One Canada Square has changed since it was constructed. The table below shows who have previously owned One Canada Square, and also who are the current owners.

Any use of a holding company has been excluded from this list, as it is easier to trace the true owner.

Date Owner
1988–1991 (Building under construction) Olympia & York Canary Wharf Limited (Ultimate parent: Olympia & York Developments Limited)
1991–1992 Olympia & York Canary Wharf Limited (Ultimate parent: Olympia & York Developments Limited)
1992–1992 None (previous owners were in administration due to bankruptcy)
1992–1992 Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited
1992–1993 None (Return to administration)
1993–1995 Canary Wharf Limited (Parent: Sylvester Investments) (Ultimate parent: a consortium of 11 banks owned by Barclays Bank, CIBC, Chemical Bank, Citibank, Commerzbank, Crédit Lyonnais, Credit Suisse, Kansallis-Osake-Pankki, Lloyds Bank, National Bank of Canada, and Royal Bank of Canada)
1993–1995 Canary Wharf Limited (Parent: Tomcat Investments – transitional use to International Property Corporation Limited) (Ultimate parent: a consortium of 5 banks owned by Citibank, Commerzbank, Crédit Lyonnais, Credit Suisse, and Royal Bank of Canada)
1995–1999 Canary Wharf Limited (Parent: International Property Corporation Limited) (Ultimate parent: a consortium owned by CNA Financial Corporation, Franklin Mutual Series Fund, HRH Prince Al Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud, affiliates of Republic New York Corporation, Paul Reichmann)
1999–2004 Canary Wharf Group plc (public company, no majority shareholder)
2004–2010 Canary Wharf Group plc (public company, majority shareholder is Songbird Estates plc)
2010 on British Land

Charity abseil events

One Canada Square regularly holds charity abseiling events during weekends. Various charities are given permission to use the building for their abseil challenges to raise money. Participants abseil down from the pyramid roof to street level. Abseilers normally use only 2 ropes and have to put up with windy conditions at 800 feet, whilst enjoying the views of London as they abseil down the steel clad. These events have raised thousands of pounds for various charities.Template:Citation needed

External relations

Height ranking

Title Rank
Tallest completed building in the world 248—highly doubtful, conflicts with list at
Tallest completed building in Europe 17
Tallest completed building in the European Union 8
Tallest completed building in the United Kingdom 2
Tallest completed building in Canary Wharf 1


Once the holder of many height records, newer buildings have slowly chipped away at this office block's titles. One Canada Square achieved the title of tallest skyscraper in the UK in June 1990. It is a record it held until July 2012 when The Shard was completed. One Canada Square will also be soon stripped of its second tallest skyscraper status with the completion of Bishopsgate Tower. As for the tallest building at Canary Wharf, One Canada Square is currently the tallest building there, but it may be overtaken as the tallest building by Riverside Tower 1.

As for the tallest building in the European Union, One Canada Square never achieved the title as tallest skyscraper in the European Union's because in accordance to the CTBUH method, a building has to be completed before its receives its title, so as Messeturm in Frankfurt was completed in 1990, and One Canada Square was completed in 1991, it cannot claim that title.


On 15 November 1992, the Provisional Irish Republican Army attempted to place a large improvised explosive device<ref name="parliamentpublications"/> near the tower. The IRA had already worked out that to cause maximum damage, the bomb had to be placed under the Docklands Light Railway bridge to disrupt infrastructure near the Canary Wharf Tower for a devastating effect. The bomb was in a van which was driven to the designated place. As the bombers were about to make their escape, security guards approached the van because it was parked illegally on double yellow lines. Two men got out of the vehicle and one pointed a revolver at one of the security guards. The gun failed to fire. The terrorists were then pursued as far as the boundary of the wharf, but they escaped. Armed police were on the scene within minutes and the army bomb squad discovered that the vehicle contained a bomb. The detonator failed to ignite the main charge, and the bomb did not go off, so there was no bomb damage to Canary Wharf. The wharf was sealed off for a couple of days whilst an intensive search took place for further devices. A few days later, the IRA described it as 'sheer ill luck' as the bomb failed to detonate. There was criticism that the intelligence services did not know about this massive bomb travelling through London. As a result of this attempted bombing, the observation floor was closed (see Public access section) and security was dramatically increased at Canary Wharf.

On 9 February 1996, the Provisional IRA did detonate a large bomb at South Quay, south of Canary Wharf (outside of Canary Wharf), which killed two people and devastated several buildings. This explosion is commonly, but erroneously, referred to as the "Canary Wharf bomb".

There have been many news articles in recent years stating that the towers at Canary Wharf have been a target for terrorism. However, some of these plots have been denied by the government. One plot was confirmed on 4 April 2008, when a terror cell appeared at Woolwich Crown Court accused of targeting Canary Wharf. The men denied the charges, but were found guilty for planning attacks on the Canary Wharf skyscrapers.<ref name="extremist">David Williams and Rebecca Camber, "Islamic extremist guilty of liquid bomb plot to blow up transatlantic jets" Daily Mail, MailOnline, 8 September 2009. Accessed 7 July 2010.</ref>

Community relations

Television interference

As the Canary Wharf Tower is the first skyscraper to be clad in stainless steel with metallised windows, this may have caused television reception interference for local people living in the area. In the case Patricia Hunter and others v. Canary Wharf Ltd.[1997],<ref name="tvreception">United Kingdom Parliament "Judgments – Hunter and Others v. Canary Wharf Ltd. – Hunter and Others v. London Docklands Corporation", United Kingdom Parliament website, United Kingdom Parliament, 24 April 1997. Retrieved 25 May 2008 20:51 BST.</ref> the House of Lords concluded there is no legal right to receive good television reception. Patricia Hunter and others lost the case because of a variety of reasons that included:

  • the BBC built a new relay station so there was no long-term television interference
  • it was interference with a purely recreational facility, as opposed to interference with the health or physical comfort or well-being of the plaintiffs
  • nothing was emitted from the defendants' land

In Spring 2001, the BBC received some television interference complaints from residents in the Poplar area<ref name="bbctvreception">PD Parsons, "Interference to analogue TV reception due to building developments at Canary Wharf", Research & Development British Broadcasting Corporation, British Broadcasting Corporation, December 2001. Retrieved 31 May 2008 19:41 BST.</ref> (north of Canary Wharf). A possible cause for the interference are the other Canary Wharf towers being built.<ref name="bbctvreception"/> Their advice was to get digital television, satellite or cable.<ref name="bbctvreception"/>

Cleaning protest

In March 2004, a window was broken in the lobby of One Canada Square during a protest about wages for cleaners.Template:Citation needed Cleaners were being paid low wages whilst some professionals in Canary Wharf were earning up to £1 million.

In popular culture


One Canada Square has been featured in many films. It was featured many times in the movie 28 Weeks Later<ref name="moviemap"/> where the tower and the Docklands area around it are one of the main settings for the post-apocalyptic horror-thriller. Another high profile film was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, where Harry and some members of the Order of the Phoenix pass next to One Canada Square as they head to Grimmauld Place near the beginning of the movie on their broomsticks. A further high profile film was Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (2012) featuring One Canada Square as the building where the IMF is located. Various shots of One Canada Square was featured including shots of Ethan Hunt climbing on the outside of the building.

The tower has also been featured in a few spy films. Exposure was given to the tower in The World Is Not Enough, as James Bond sails past One Canada Square.<ref name="moviemap"/> Another spy film was The Bourne Supremacy<ref name="moviemap">London Borough of Tower Hamlets "Canary Wharf And Isle Of Dogs Movie Map", 'London Borough of Tower Hamlets – Investment & Business', unknown publication date. Accessed 4 May 2008.</ref> where One Canada Square appeared as the CIA's London listening station. In the film Johnny English,<ref name="moviemap"/> One Canada Square had another identical building next to it, where one of the One Canada Square buildings was a hospital and the other was villain Pascal Sauvage's HQ.

Other films featuring the Canary Wharf Tower can be read from a publication called Canary Wharf And Isle of Dogs Movie Map.<ref name="moviemap"/>


One Canada Square has appeared many times on British television. It has appeared in the television series Doctor Who (in the episodes Army of Ghosts and Doomsday), as the location of the Torchwood Institute, under the name "Torchwood Tower". In the episodes a hall on the top floor contains a hole to parallel universe that the tower was specifically built in order to reach.<ref name="torchwood">Torchwood Institute</ref> It has appeared in the series The Tomorrow People, as the headquarters for Sam Rees.<ref name="tomorrow">TV Tropes!, Landmarking The Hidden Base, no publishing date stated. Retrieved 7 July 2010 02:52 BST.</ref> The tower also made multiple appearances on the television show The Apprentice and the popular BBC soap EastEnders.<ref name="moviemap"/> It was also shown as the headquarters of the fictional 'Olympic Deliverance Commission' in the BBC comedy Twenty Twelve, a mockumentary based on the organising committee of the London 2012 Olympic Games. LOCOG, the real-life organising committee of the Games, was in fact based in nearby buildings One Churchill Place, 10 Upper Bank Street and 25 Canada Square.

During the 1990s, One Canada Square was home to the television station L!VE TV, which broadcast live from the tower.<ref name="moviemap"/>


A near future sequence in the novel Freezeframes by Katharine Kerr, shows One Canada Square as a free college and youth drop-in centre. It is nicknamed "Major's Last Erection", referring to John Major.

One Canada Square previously appeared in the Virgin Missing Adventures novel Millennial Rites in which the top floor was the headquarters of a yuppie who inadvertently turned London into a "dark fantasy" kingdom in which he was a powerful sorcerer, with the tower as his citadel; and the Past Doctor Adventures novel The Time Travellers, in which it was the headquarters of the British Army in an alternate timeline.

One Canada Square also features prominently in an early issue of the Grant Morrison comic series The Invisibles, in which Dane MacGowan is encouraged to jump from the top by his mentor, Tom O'Bedlam, as an initiation rite that will allow him to see beyond reality and join The Invisibles.

Video Games

One Canada Square is featured in Sim City 3000 as a placeable landmark.


See also

  • Canary Wharf
  • List of tallest buildings in the United Kingdom



External links

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