Real estate in Canada
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP is widely considered to be a leader in the real estate transactions market, having worked on some of the largest property acquisitions and disposals in Canada, with further bench strength in property finance and investment structuring. The firm's client base is made up of developers, real estate advisers, institutional investors, REITs, government entities, and hotel owners and operators. In addition, the firm's expertise spans a range of asset types, including corporate real estate and office buildings and infrastructure assets, particularly in the areas of energy and mining. Moreover, the practice group is fully integrated across offices in Toronto, Montréal, Calgary and Vancouver, enabling a truly nationwide service offering. The department is jointly chaired by Chris Huband and cross-border transactions expert Thomas Von Hahn, both of whom are based in Toronto. Other key contacts in the Toronto office include Daniel Kofman, who is highly rated for his acquisitions and disposals work, and Silvana D’Alimonte, who focuses on financing transactions and joint ventures.
Other key lawyers:
Manufacturers Life Insurance Company
Ivanhoé Cambridge/Otéra Capital
HOOPP Realty Inc.
Ontario Pension Board (now Investment Management Corporation of Ontario)
Investors Real Property Fund
H&R Real Estate Investment Trust
Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada
Royal Bank of Canada
Morguard Investments Ltd.
- Advised Deka Immobilien on its acquisition of the commercial portion of the 69-storey Stantec Tower in Edmonton’s Ice District.
- Acted for PIRET in the purchase of an 11-property industrial portfolio located in prime industrial submarkets across the Greater Montréal Area, comprising 1.5 million square feet.
- Advised GWL Realty Advisors Inc. and its clients, The Great-West Life Assurance Company and London Life Insurance Company, on the $205m refinancing of 33 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario from The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and its affiliates, as lenders.
Goodmans LLP' real estate group is especially standout in the financing and refinancing of real estate assets. Indeed, the team's recent highlights have shown strengths in public and private financing deals, project financings and synthetic lease-based financings. Widely known as leaders in real estate investment trusts, the practice undertakes both Canadian and cross-border work, primarily from its office in Toronto. In addition to advising public and private funds and other institutional investors, the team also acts for property developers, owners and managers. Key figures in the practice group include Bram Green, Fred Rubinoff and Juli Morrow. The real estate department is led by Andrew Wiseman, who focuses on property development and construction, leasing, and real estate and structured finance.
Canadian Tire Real Estate Limited/CT Real Estate Investment Trust
Brookfield Asset Management and Brookfield Properties Limited
OMERS and Oxford Properties Group
Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB)
Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
- Acted for CMHC in relation to a $200m loan to facilitate the development and construction of Mirvish Village, Toronto.
- Advised RioCan REIT on the acquisition of a 50% interest in 2323, 2345 and 2329 Yonge Street from three separate vendors, and the entrance into a joint venture with Minett Capital.
- Advised Plazacorp on the development and construction of a mixed-use complex in downtown Toronto which will include Canada’s first Riu hotel.
Housing one of the largest real estate teams in Canada, McCarthy Tétrault's core expertise includes asset acquisitions and disposals, infrastructure development, corporate leasing and real estate financing. The group advises a wide variety of clients, including pension funds, REITs, mortgage and private equity funds, developers and governmental bodies on all types of commercial real estate matters. In addition to its size and bench strength, the team is recognized for its on-the-ground presence across the country, which places the team in a strong position to handle large-scale mandates involving real estate assets spread across the provinces. Key contacts in Toronto include department head William McCullough, and transaction specialists Abraham Costin, John Currie and Jamie Orzech. Vancouver-based Keith Burrell QC is recommended for his work with major real estate developers.
Other key lawyers:
LaSalle Investment Management
QuadReal Property Group Limited Partnership
Pure Industrial Real Estate Trust
GWL Realty Advisors
Fitzrovia Real Estate
Cortland Partners, LLC
Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan
bcIMC Realty Corporation
- Acting for QuadReal and bcIMC Realty in relation to the sale of a 50% interest in a 46-property portfolio of core, high-profile assets across Canada to RBC Canadian Core Real Estate Fund.
- Advising Cortland, an Atlanta-based multi-family real estate company, on its $1.2bn acquisition of Pure Multi-Family REIT LP.
- Advising the City of Calgary on the preliminary stages of the planned construction of a new events centre and hockey arena.
Bennett Jones LLP
Bennett Jones LLP handles major project development mandates and real estate investment transactions across a range of industries and asset classes, including residential, commercial and mixed-use real estate and public infrastructure. Leveraging a strong on-the-ground presence in Alberta, Ontario, Calgary and Edmonton, the team is active in major real estate mandates nationwide, acting for corporates and real estate companies with property holdings across Canada. Key contacts in Toronto include Simon Crawford, who is recognized for his corporate transactional work; up-and-coming partner John van Gent; and Paul Mantini, a go-to lawyer for high end-property finance matters. Vancouver-based Larry Sandrin is a name to note for infrastructure projects, and Alixe Cameron in Calgary is developing a strong reputation for commercial real estate work. Ron Barron and Robert Bothwell co-head the department from Alberta and Edmonton respectively.
Aoyuan Property Group
(One of the largest-scale property developer headquartered in China and Hong Kong)
Brookfield Properties Corporation
Canadian Tire Real Estate Limited (including FGL Sports Ltd., Mark’s Work Wear House Ltd.)
Canderel Group of Companies
CREIT – Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust
Edgar Development Corporation
Gateway Casino’s & Entertainment
GWL Realty Advisors
Killam Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust
Oxford Properties Group Inc.
- Advising Gateway on the negotiation, settlement and closing of the sale and leaseback of three of its major casinos.
- Advising de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited (DHC) and Longview Aviation Capital Corporation (LACC) on the completed acquisition of substantially all of the assets of the Dash 8 aircraft program from Bombardier Inc.
- Advising Killam Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust, a leading Canadian publicly-traded multi-residential real estate investment trust with a $3bn portfolio of apartment properties and manufactured home communities, in connection with, public offerings of $200m of trust units, the purchase and financing of $300m of property acquisitions across Canada, the structuring of joint ventures and related agreements for the development of new apartment and mixed use residential/retail projects, and senior secured revolving credit facilities with Royal Bank of Canada.
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP is lauded for its 'seamless client interaction and solid technical business advice'. In particular, the team benefits from longstanding relationships with institutional real estate investors, including Cadillac Fairview, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and The Blackstone Group, and is recognized for its ability to execute large-scale domestic and cross-border development and single-asset and portfolio investment transactions. The department is jointly led by Gregory Howard in Toronto and Elias Benhamou in Montréal, and also includes several other 'tough and practical negotiators' such as David Reiner and Anthony Arquin. Also recommended is Robert Bauer, considered by some to be 'one of the leading Toronto real estate lawyers'.
‘We get quality legal advice from Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg as it pertains to real estate transactions and structuring.‘
‘Full service. Able to handle detailed and complex contractual work with ease. Good lawyers from junior to senior, which is increasingly rare in the Toronto real estate law market. Seamless client interaction, and solid technical and business advice.‘
‘Robert Bauer – one of the leading Toronto real estate lawyers – highly knowledgeable with many years of experience, yet doesn’t hesitate to understand the details of the issue at hand and get his hands dirty.‘
‘In addition to being very experienced, qualified, knowledgeable with a deep expertise in many fields, the lawyers at Davies takes a vested interest in the needs of its clients. They provide invaluable support at all times. They consider themselves part of the team.‘
‘The individuals we work with at Davies treat our interests like their own. They are diligent, follow-up and show a real understanding of what we need. Stand-out lawyers include Greg Howard, David Reiner, Steve Martin, and Anthony Arquin.‘
‘Very deep and experienced team in the Canadian institutional real estate space. The team is often involved in some capacity in the majority of large or sophisticated Canadian real estate transactions, which makes their advice very relevant as a client. Tough but practical negotiators whom you would want to have on your side.‘
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
The City of Toronto
The Blackstone Group
The Canadian Real Estate Association
Woodbourne Canada Partners
- Acted for Cadillac Fairview in its acquisition from First Gulf and partners of what will become one of the largest commercial developments ever undertaken in Canada: the 38-acre East Harbour project in downtown Toronto.
- Acting for Penguin Investments Inc. (formerly SmartCentres Realty Inc.) with the multibillion-dollar development of the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre.
- Acted for an affiliate of Blackstone Property Partners in its joint venture with Hudson Pacific Properties, Inc., to acquire the 1.45 million-square-foot Bentall Centre office and retail complex in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Stikeman Elliott LLP
Stikeman Elliott LLP has advised a variety of key industry players on the acquisition, disposition, development, financing and leasing of all classes of real estate. The real estate department is also sought out for advice on municipal land law. A key figure in the team is Eric Carmona in Toronto.
Other key lawyers:
Torys advises owners, developers and lenders on projects across Canada, bringing together expertise in a variety of disciplines to provide full support on projects involving the financing and construction of large-scale multi-use real estate. In addition to finance and development, the team acts for some of the country's largest pension funds in real estate investment and acquisitions. The department is jointly led by Toronto-based Sabrina Gherbaz and Graham Rawlinson. Other names to note include senior partner David Dell, who is highly regarded for his transactional experience, and Andy Gibbons, who has experience of a variety of commercial real estate matters, as well as land and real estate issues involving infrastructure and energy projects. Senior counsel Andrew Bedford in Calgary is also recommended.
‘Andrew Bedford in the Calgary office is outstanding mix of smart and practical. Distills technical real estate matters into short, practical explanations for in-house lawyers who only occasionally deal with real estate. Great value for money.‘
Brookfield Properties Corporation
Oxford Properties Group
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
The Toronto-Dominion Bank/TD Securities Inc.
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce/CIBC World Markets Inc.
The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited
Ontario Power Generation Inc.
Investor Real Property Funds
- Acted for Brookfield in relation to its joint venture arrangements with CLV Group and InterRent Real Estate Investment Trust to own, develop, construct and operate an 8.5-acre, mixed-use development in Burlington, Ontario; also acted in connection with the joint venture’s interim financing.
- Acting for Metrolinx opposite the City of Toronto and other area landowners in connection with Metrolinx’s real estate requirements for the Union Station Enhancement Project, Packages 1 and 3.
- Acted for CREIT in the sale of its interest in Sun Life Plaza, a three-tower office complex in Calgary, Alberta, to Aspen Properties Ltd.
Dentons' 'efficient and experienced' real estate group advises investors, property owners and developers on commercial leasing; project finance, construction and development; and single-asset and portfolio investment deals. Its offices across Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia make up a strong domestic presence, while the firm's expansive international network allows for seamless advice in multi-jurisdictional mandates. Sonja Homenuck in Toronto leads the national practice group. Also recommended are Arnon Dachner and Sheldon Disenhouse in Vancouver and Toronto, respectively.
‘Efficient, experienced team with lots of back-office support.‘
Ontario Teachers Pensions Plan/The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited
Polygon Group of Companies
Triovest Realty Advisors
China-East Resources Import & Export Co.
- Advised on the negotiation of a design build lease in Ottawa for a 153,000-square foot office building for a large technology company with numerous special rights and tailored to the tenant as a technology company.
- Counsel to Mizrahi Development Group (The One) Inc. arranged with KEB Hana Bank Canada, acting on behalf of IGIS Global Private Placement Real Estate Fund No. 301, the lender, the provision of a $565m supplier credit facility.
- Representing the Lender for the land and decontamination financing of a 1.2 million-square foot property formerly owned by Molson brewery.
Leveraging a network of offices across Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, Fasken is well known for its work in commercial real estate acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures, financing, and construction. The practice group represents leading real estate companies, as well as pension funds, REITs, financial institutions and public organizations. Montréal-based Richard Clare is highly regarded for his track record in real estate transactions, while Toronto-based Andrea Centa is the name to note for property finance work. Other key figures in the team include Mariella Lo Papa and Sergio Custodio in Montréal and Vancouver, respectively.
Other key lawyers:
Oxford Properties Group and PSP Investments
Fengate Capital Management Ltd.
Fonds Immobilier Champlain RPA, S.E.C.
MLT Aikins LLP
Canada Lands Company CLC Limited
Bank of Montreal
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company
LaSalle Investment Management (Canada)
Gazit Canada Inc.
- Acted for Oxford Properties Group and PSP Investments in connection with the sale of 1250 Rene Levesque Boulevard West, a major AAA office tower in Montréal.
- Acted for Gazit Canada Inc. in a three-party joint venture transaction involving the acquisition and financing of York Mills Centre, a significant office and retail development in Toronto.
- Advised Hallmark Holdings Ltd. on its acquisition of First Capital Realty Inc.’s beneficial ownership interest in six multi-tenant shopping centres in Langford, British Columbia and the financing of such acquisition.
Gowling WLG's 'very capable' real estate team is rated by clients for its 'diverse industry knowledge and great geographical coverage'. Headed by Vancouver-based Joel Camley, the team advises a diverse roster of clients including multinational development companies, Canadian and international pension funds, First Nation groups, government bodies, REITs and financial institutions. The practice group is also known for its expertise in real estate finance, where it benefits from close collaboration with the firm's wider banking, structured finance and debt restructuring groups. Also in Vancouver is Murray Braaten, who focuses on commercial real estate development and has particular experience of resort development. Clients have also recognized Pamela Green in Ontario, thanks in part to her 'broad legal knowledge beyond her area of specialty'.
‘Gowling have grown and adapted to the times and have developed a team coverage culture that ensures that our top to bottom relationships at the firm communicate freely with us and between themselves.‘
‘Very capable and diverse industrial knowledge with great geographical coverage.‘
‘Pamela Green is our lead lawyer and is very capable in her broader legal knowledge beyond her area of speciality which adds significant value.‘
‘Murray Braaten has a wealth of experience and knowledge and can coordinate the most complex real estate legal structures.‘
Brothers Real Estate Ltd.
Canopy Growth Corporation/Tweed Farms Inc.
InterRent Real Estate Investment Trust and CVL Group
Roca Homes (Southminster) Inc.
SHAPE Properties Corp.
Shergar Developments Inc.
Urbacon Montreal Limited Partnership
- Advised SHAPE Properties Corp. on all real estate aspects and on preliminary syndicated financing for “The Amazing Brentwood”, a C$2bn mixed-use redevelopment project, and “The City of Lougheed”, a C$7bn redevelopment of a suburban shopping district that will include 1.3 million square feet of retail and more than 10,000 homes in British Columbia.
- Counsel to InterRent Real Estate Investment Trust and CLV Group in connection with their joint venture arrangement with Brookfield Property Group to develop an 8.5-acre, mixed-use development in Burlington, Ontario valued at C$800m.
- Acting for Tweed Farms Inc. (Canopy Growth subsidiary) in an appeal of the extension of an interim control by-law in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake suspending cannabis related land-uses within the municipality.
Construction and infrastructure-related property matters are key components of the workflow at Norton Rose Fulbright, a 'one-stop-shop' for real estate, and a firm that is routinely instructed by development companies, contractors and subcontractors in headline construction projects. The real estate team also has additional strengths in acquisitions and disposals, an area where its work spans a wide variety of commercial real estate assets and covers most of the major commercial centres in Canada. John Sampson co-chairs the practice from Vancouver, alongside Mario Caron in Montréal. Both partners are recognized for their breadth of experience in high-value corporate real estate transactions. Up-and-coming partner Neil Davie is another key name in Vancouver, with experience advising on the full cycle of the development process.
‘This is a “one stop shop” with deep expertise in each and every need. Never have to wonder whether this or that will be covered. It always is with great and deep expertise.‘
B.C. Pavilion Corporation
Bosa Properties Inc.
Calgary Sports and Entertainment Co.
CDPQ Infra Inc.
Department of Justice Canada
Grosvenor Canada Limited
Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP)
Réseau De Transport De La Capitale (RTC)
The Owners, Strata Plan VR120
- Advising the Corporation of the City of North Vancouver on the development of the master planned community Lonsdale Square.
- Acting for BC Pavilion Corporation in connection with the removal of the Georgia Viaduct by the City of Vancouver and the construction of a new road access ramp on certain lands located adjacent to BC Place Stadium.
- Acting for Bosa Properties and its related companies on a regular basis in relation to real estate acquisitions and developments and related strata windups and financing transactions.
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP has a very strong track record in corporate real estate transactions, having recently advised on several large portfolio deals, as well as numerous development joint ventures and investments by pension funds. Two further areas of focus for the practice group are nationwide commercial and retail leasing portfolios and land use and property matters in the energy sector. Rod Davidge leads the team from the firm's Toronto office; he is also the firm's contact for REIT-related matters. Stella Di Cresce is also recommended in the Toronto office.
Unison Investment Management
RBC Global Asset Management (RBC GAM)
Starbucks Coffee Canada Inc.
DREAM group of companies
OPTrust Realty Inc.
Meritz Securities Co. Ltd.
- Advising RBC GAM on a real estate investment joint venture with British Columbia Investment Management Corporation and QuadReal Property Group.
- Advised Ventas, Inc. on its acquisition of a Class A portfolio of 31 purpose-built seniors housing communities and certain in-progress developments in Québec by investing through an equity partnership with Le Groupe Maurice.
- Counsel to OPTrust Realty Inc. in connection with various joint ventures, acquisitions, developments and sales in Ontario.
Aird & Berlis LLP has experience of property development, acquisitions and sales; leasing transactions and real estate financing. Monty Warsh heads the practice group. Recognized in particular for his corporate leasing work, Warsh has assisted a variety of US corporates with their entry into the Canadian market.
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP houses an experienced real estate team, with capabilities in infrastructure development, municipal land law, corporate leasing and property finance work. The practice group is instructed by regional and national clients, ranging from institutional real estate investors and lenders to family driven enterprises. Heading the department is Vancouver-based David Longcroft, who is noted for his experience of mixed-use development projects.
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP's real estate and development group works closely with the firm's municipal, planning and environmental team to advise on all areas of real estate, leasing and development law. The department represents public institutions including municipalities and Crown corporations, and, in the private sector, it has also acted for a number of national retailers. Commercial mortgage lending specialist David Redmond is a key contact.
Other key lawyers:
DLA Piper (Canada) LLP
Led from the firm's Vancouver office, the real estate team at DLA Piper (Canada) LLP is noted for its 'dedication to timely, careful legal support on the multi-faceted needs of real estate investment and development firms, including acquisitions, financing, leasing, and capital management'. The practice has a strong full-service offering, including expertise in tax, public affairs and commercial lending. Moreover, working in conjunction with the firm's international network, the team is an attractive choice for real estate mandates spanning multiple jurisdictions worldwide. Key figures in the team include Mark Schmidt and Franco Trasolini, rated for their 'standout customer service and support'.
Other key lawyers:
‘Dedication to timely, careful legal support for the multi-faceted needs of a real estate investment and development firm including acquisitions, financing, leasing, and capital management. A long track record of success and an extraordinarily high degree of professional accomplishment.‘
‘What makes DLA stand out from many of their peers is their consistent customer service. I have never felt that any job or task was too small, or unimportant, to ensure it was done well, on time, and with the required follow up.‘
‘Franco Trasolini and Mark Schmidt provide stand out customer service and support. They are excellent external partners.‘
Nanaimo Port Authority
Thompson Rivers University
- Acting as counsel to Thompson Rivers University in relation to the development of the university’s market properties.
- Acted as co-lead counsel to StorageVault Canada Inc. in its $275m acquisition of Real Storage, with 38 stores across Canada in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.
- Acting for the Nanaimo Port Authority in the development of its Duke Point Terminal Modernization Project.
Lawson Lundell LLP has handled commercial, residential and industrial real estate matters for a wide variety of investors and development groups. Leasing specialist Peter Tolensky heads up the department from Vancouver. The team is supported by the wider firm's tax, environmental and Indigenous law practices.
WeirFoulds LLP has handled real estate and mortgage financing transactions for a pension funds and private investors, and also has experience of planning law and real estate development, both for public and private sector clients. Toronto-based Bradley McLellan leads on investment and financing work, and Bruce Engell is the name to note for municipal law and planning matters.
Other key lawyers: