Real estate in Canada

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Transactional powerhouse Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP combines a pre-eminent offering in property acquisitions and disposals with strength in property finance and big-ticket investment structuring. The firm is a top choice for institutional investors, particularly pension funds, counting names like HOOPP Realty and Ontario Pension Board among its key clients. It also handles development and leasing matters for a varied mix of local and multinational corporations. The national practice, which draws on strong platforms in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver, is also distinguished by its consistent involvement in real estate projects across the country. Practice co-head Chris Huband is highly sought after by institutional investors for his experience in headline property transactions, and Thomas von Hahn, who co-leads the practice alongside Huband, has expertise in cross-border transactions. Other key names include Silvana D’Alimonte, noted for her broad practice spanning financings, joint ventures and property acquisitions and disposals, and up-and-coming partner Daniel Kofman. Named lawyers are based in Toronto.

Practice head(s):

Chris Huband; Thomas von Hahn

Other key lawyers:

Silvana D’Alimonte; Daniel Kofman

Key clients

Bentall Kennedy (Canada) LP

Manufacturers Life Insurance Company

Ivanhoé Cambridge/Otéra Capital

HOOPP Realty Inc.

Ontario Pension Board/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.

Work highlights

  • Acted for Granite REIT on its dispositions of properties in St. Thomas, Newmarket, Aurora and Tillsonburg in Ontario, in four separate transactions worth a combined C$292m.
  • Advised Shell Canada Properties Trust on its dispositions of properties in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta for C$143.5m.
  • Acted for Investors Real Property Fund on the sale of a 33.33% interest, and subsequent three-party joint venture, in the ownership and operation of Minto Place.
  • Advised Simcoe Wellington Hotel Limited Partnership on the sale of a 60% interest in the Toronto Ritz Carlton Hotel to Cadillac Fairview.
  • Advised Congebec on the sale of nine temperature-controlled facilities in Quebec and Western Canada, and the leaseback of eight of the nine facilities.

Goodmans LLP

Goodmans advises across the spectrum of real estate law, with a steady stream of mandates from a variety of developers, owners, managers, financial institutions, pension funds and public sector clients. The group’s prominent REITs practice is perhaps its signature service offering, but the team also excels in property finance, and real estate acquisitions and disposals. The firm’s one-site model is no barrier to its national reputation and the group is active across the country from its Toronto base, with recent deals in Alberta and BC; it also has significant cross-border experience. Andrew Wiseman heads the department and handles a wide range of commercial real estate transactions, property finance, construction matters and leasing. Juli Morrow is another star partner and is highly regarded for real estate finance work. Transactional real estate specialists Fred Rubinoff and Bram Green are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Wiseman

Other key lawyers:

Bram Green; Juli Morrow; Fred Rubinoff


Goodmans lawyers really take responsibility for getting deals done by being responsive and responsible, but they also simplify issues and distil down complex issues into practical advice.’

I would strongly recommended Goodmans. Bram Green and Andrew Wiseman are top-tier lawyers who provide great service combined with strong strategic vision.’

Key clients


Minto Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust and Minto Properties Inc.


InnVest REIT

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

Menkes Developments

Welltower Inc.

Revera Inc.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB)

Work highlights

  • Advised RioCan REIT on the C$110m sale of the Tillicum Centre in Victoria, British Columbia to Crestpoint Real Estate Investments and Anthem Properties Group.
  • Advised the agents (CIBC World Markets, BMO Nesbitt Burns and Scotia Capital) on a C$900m offering of first mortgage bonds, split into two series, each secured by the issuers’ and their affiliates’ interest in Bay Adelaide Centre.
  • Acted for RioCan REIT on the C$70m acquisition of KingSett Capital’s 50% non-managing interest in Sage Hill shopping centre.
  • Advised Tricon Capital Group on a joint venture to acquire and redevelop lands at Yonge and Gloucester in Toronto.
  • Advised Royal Bank of Canada on a C$1bn credit facility to bcIMC Realty Corporation.

McCarthy Tétrault

One of the largest national real estate groups in Canada, McCarthy Tétrault is recognized for the breadth of its service offering and its ability to draw upon cross-office resources in large-scale transactions. The group, which routinely acts for investors, pensions funds, REITs and developers, keeps busy across the full spread of transactional and planning matters, with strong showings in asset acquisitions and disposals, leasing arrangements, property finance and real estate development. Vancouver-based Keith Burrell QC, who maintains premier development practice, is considered one of the top real estate specialists in British Columbia. In Toronto, Abraham Costin and John Currie are valued for their senior transactional expertise, while Jamie Orzech is noted as an impressive up-and-coming partner. Other key regional contacts include James Papadimitriou in Montreal and Olivia Colic in Calgary.

Practice head(s):

William McCullough

Key clients

Cadillac Fairview

Slate Asset Management LP

Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan

Réseau Sélection and Revera partnership

Otéra Capital

TD Bank Financial Group

Morguard Investments Ltd.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Work highlights

  • Advised Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines, as landlord, in an anchor tenant lease with CIBC for 1.75 million square feet of office space in CIBC’s new office complex.
  • Acted for Scotiabank-led lending syndicate on the C$225m refinancing of Quartier DIX30, a regional shopping centre located in Montreal.
  • Advised Onni Group on the complex rezoning of the 25-acre Cambie Gardens land, located in the City of Vancouver, to permit approximately 3 million square feet of residential, retail and institutional development.
  • Acted for Slate Office REIT on the sale of a 25% interest in six office properties located in the Greater Toronto Area to RV Canada II Siren Investments.
  • Advised Partners REIT on the sale of 11 retail properties in the Province of Quebec.

Bennett Jones LLP

Bennett Jones LLP advises on the full life cycle of real estate matters, from initial planning and construction issues, to eventual commercial leasing, and sales and acquisitions. The national group enjoys regional strongholds across the country, fielding a dominant practice in Alberta and an increasingly prominent position in Ontario. In Toronto, Paul Mantini is highly regarded for high-end property finance and development matters, and Simon Crawford is recommended for his first-class transactional expertise. Larry Sandrin in Vancouver is recognized as a leader in real estate development, including infrastructure projects. The department also benefits from a talented band of up-and-coming partners, including Toronto-based finance specialist John van Gent and Calgary-based Alixe Cameron.


The partners and associates work well together and are able to coordinate work seamlessly, so that if one partner is unavailable we get support from another partner.’

Key clients

Aoyuan Property Group

ATCO Group

Anthem United Communities

BC Pavilion Corporation

Brookfield Properties Corporation

Canadian Tire Real Estate Limited (including FGL Sports Ltd., Mark’s Work Wear House Ltd.)

Canderel Group of Companies

Capital Regional District


CREIT – Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust

Citimark Development Corporation

Edgar Development Corporation

Gateway Casino’s & Entertainment

GWL Realty Advisors

Killam Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust

KingSett Capital

Manulife Financial

Oxford Properties Group Inc.

ONE Properties

RBC Capital Markets Inc.

Scotia Capital Markets/The Bank of Nova Scotia

The Toronto-Dominion Bank

West Campus Development Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised Gateway Casinos & Entertainment on the C$500m sale of its Metro Vancouver real estate portfolio to Mesirow Realty Sale-Leaseback.
  • Advised the agents (RBC Capital Markets, TD Securities and Scotia Capital) and the trustee (Computershare Trust Company of Canada) and the bondholders on the C$34.5m financing of the Bay-Wellington Tower.
  • Advised Killam Apartment REIT on several issues, including on the purchase and financing of C$300m worth of property acquisitions across Canada.

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

From its offices in Toronto and Montreal, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP houses a robust real estate practice that is best known for its expertise in sophisticated development and investment matters. The group counts some of Canada’s largest institutional investors among its clients, including Cadillac Fairview, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ivanhoé Cambridge, and also routinely acts for REITs and financial institutions. Gregory Howard in Toronto is highlighted for his ‘precision of thought and unwavering attention to detail’. Also in Toronto, Robert Bauer is recognized for his senior development expertise, while David Reiner is held up by clients as ‘one of the best real estate lawyers of his generation’. Montreal-based Anthony Arquin is also noted for his growing prominence in the real estate sphere.

Practice head(s):

Elias Benhamou; Gregory Howard


I first met the Davies team in a large and complex investment where they represented the other side. We closed the transaction AND started using Davies.’

Their depth and breadth of talent allows them to scale up and down to manage heavy work flows, time constraints and multiple assignments. It is a truly 24/7/365 team that can travel as required.’

Davies is that rare group of professionals that are both experts in the law and in our business. They understand our objectives and ensure that we achieve our stated goals. There is a customized and focused approach to everything they do.’

Davies’ depth of real estate expertise includes all aspects of leasing, acquisitions, asset sales, financings, development and tax. They have demonstrated the ability to attract and keep top talent at the firm over the last 20 years and continue to outperform our high expectations.’

The team is extremely skilled and knowledgeable, with a great focus on first-class service, attention to detail and follow-up. I use the firm for major, complex and legally-challenging projects.’

Key clients

The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited

SmartCentres REIT

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

Public Sector Pension Investment Board

Ivanhoé Cambridge


Carbonleo Real Estate Inc.

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust

Canadian Real Estate Association

Woodbourne Canada Partners III (CA) LP

Work highlights

  • Acted for Ivanhoé Cambridge on the C$2bn development of an integrated multi-tower office complex and public transit hub development straddling both sides of Toronto’s Union Station rail corridor.
  • Advised Carbonleo Real Estate on the C$1.7bn development of the Quartier Royalmount project in Québec.
  • Acted for Cadillac Fairview in a joint venture with Shape Properties and another investor for the development of a multi-phase mixed-use project in Richmond, British Columbia.

Stikeman Elliott LLP

Stikeman Elliott LLP has dominant regional platforms in Alberta and BC, and is active in high-end real estate matters across the country. The firm combines a leading investment practice with an equally effective property development offering, and also draws on its wider full-service capability to provide supplementary expertise in infrastructure projects, mining-related issues and indigenous law matters. A key contact in the group is Toronto-based Eric Carmona, who has strong skill sets in the REITs, retail and hospitality spheres.


Torys LLP’s real estate team leverages the firm’s premier institutional relationships to specialize in advising pensions and private equity funds on major investment deals. Headed by David Dell, the team acts for key investors such as Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Oxford Properties (wholly owned by Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System) and Brookfield. The group is also well versed in property development, real estate finance and acquisition and sale transactions. Other names to note include Graham Rawlinson, who heads the dynamic senior housing practice, and counsel Andy Gibbons, who has an impressive record in energy and infrastructure-related matters.

Practice head(s):

David Dell

Other key lawyers:

Andy Gibbons; Graham Rawlinson

Key clients

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.


Axium Infrastructure

Investor Real Property Funds

Work highlights

  • Acted for Bombardier on the $635m sale of its Downsview Airport property in Toronto to the Public Sector Pension Investment Board.
  • Advised Cadillac Fairview on its acquisition of the remaining 60% ownership interest in the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto.
  • Acted for Brookfield Property Partners on its $9.2bn acquisition of GGP.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s national group handles the full range of real estate matters, with recent strong showings in infrastructure, municipal, leasing and property finance. The team is also able to advise on major developments from inception, working closely with the firm's highly regarded construction group. Led from Vancouver by David Longcroft, who is noted for his experience in mixed-use project development, the practice is also well represented in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Ottawa.

Practice head(s):

David Longcroft

Key clients

630 René Lévesque West Real Estate Investment Trust and 630 René-Lévesque West C. (Centurian Group-AETNA Group, New York City)

ACM Advisors

AGF Management Limited

Alberta Electrical System Operator

Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCO)

Alberta Treasury Board Financial

HSBC Bank Canada

Peterborough Distribution Inc.

Québec Forestlands LP

Rosen Canada Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advising the City of Ottawa on the acquisition of property for the City’s Stage 2 Rail Transit Project.
  • Advised Microsoft on the lease of its new Canadian Headquarters at the new downtown Toronto development known as CIBC Square.
  • Advised George Brown College of Applied Arts And Technology on the construction of a new facility on the Lakefront to house their new School of Computer Technology.


Dentons has well-staffed offices across Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, and acts for a broad roster of developers, investors and owners. Notable sweet spots include project development and finance, real estate investment deals, retail transactions and leasing. In addition, its enviable global platform makes it a popular choice for cross-border transactions. Toronto-based Jules Mikelberg is noted for his robust property development practice.

Practice head(s):

Sonja Homenuck; Kelly Elliott

Other key lawyers:

Jules Mikelberg


Dentons are quick and efficient, with strong foresight. The team’s promptness, attention to detail and easy communication during hectic times is greatly appreciated.’

As a firm, their depth of knowledge and experience in the industry provides valuable insight into all the transactions we execute. The breadth of experience they possess is a key driver of the value they provide.’

The firm’s lawyers seem to be keenly in tune with the business realities of real estate transactions, as opposed to taking legal positions which can cause challenges with concluding transactions. I would say that Dentons is truly a strong facilitator to getting transactions across the finish line.’

Dentons stands out for its thoughtful approach to each situation, with an obvious focus on finding solutions. The team has depth and works well together, so that any matter is always addressed quickly.

Key clients

Hopewell Development

Ontario Teachers Pensions Plan/The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited

Polygon Group of Companies

Qualico Developments

Chaudière Hydro


FMC Corporation

Investors Real Properties Fund

MacBain Properties

Katz Group

Triovest Realty Advisors

China-East Resources Import & Export Co.

WestGroup Properties


Menkes Developments

Work highlights

  • Acted for 404 & Sheppard Limited Partnership on the C$481m acquisition of a 50% interest in Fairview Mall, Toronto, Ontario.
  • Advised Shopify on the negotiation of a lease of up to 433,752 square feet of office space at The Well Tower in Toronto.
  • Acted for CanFirst Industrial Realty Fund VI LP on its C$62m acquisition of an industrial portfolio of five properties and the related acquisition financing.


Fasken has continued to raise its profile on the investment side, with recent mandates for Oxford Properties Group, Ivanhoe Cambridge and LaSalle Investment Management (Canada). The practice is also noted for its expertise in development and leasing matters. In Montreal, transactional specialist Richard Clare has varied experience in financings, acquisitions and dispositions, while Toronto-based Andrea Centa has an established profile for her work in property development, property finance, and acquisitions and dispositions.

Other key lawyers:

Richard Clare


The team is very strong, capable and experienced. Lawyers are good at anticipating and asking questions before they come up. Most of all, they function as a tight, integrated team — and I emphasize team; they all work well together. Communication amongst the team and with the client are impressive.’

This team has a good number of lawyers with experience in advising on complicated development or transactional projects.’

The Fasken real estate team is the most seamless national team with whom I have dealt. When I request changes to a form of agreement in one province, those changes are also made in other provinces where we work with Fasken. The firm also presented a national strategy for our legal work and makes use of resources across all of their offices.’

Key clients

Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc.

LaSalle Investment Management (Canada)

The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company


Government of Canada and the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

Woodbine Entertainment Group

Immobilier CarbonLeo – Royalmount Shopping Centre

Oxford Properties Group

BASF Canada Inc.



Holt Renfrew

Work highlights

  • Advised LaSalle, and its related open-ended investment fund LaSalle Canada Property Fund. on its acquisition of a 33.33% interest in the Minto Place Complex in Ottawa.
  • Acted for Manulife Canadian Property Portfolio on the formation of a limited partnership joint venture arrangement with Panattoni Development Company, and on the acquisition by the limited partnership of a 61-acre site located in Edmonton.
  • Advised Starbucks on retail leasing transactions.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is particularly active in infrastructure-related matters, with a strong record in advising on the development of transportation projects. In addition, the team also advises on the acquisition, disposition and management of real estate assets and the development of commercial, residential and mixed-used projects. Vancouver-based John Sampson co-chairs the practice alongside Montreal-based Mario Caron, who is recognized for his focus on commercial leasing and property sales and acquisitions. Also in Vancouver, Neil Davie has a growing profile for real estate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Mario Caron; John Sampson

Other key lawyers:

Neil Davie


The team is very good at handling inter-office matters and drawing upon skills found in various locations.’

Key clients

Ivanhoé Cambridge Inc.

DesjardinsSecurité Financiére

Grosvenor Canada Limited

CDPQ Infra

Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP)

Rio Tinto

Genstar Development Company

Canada Pension Investment Board (CPPIB)

Aspen Properties

SSQ Assurance Vie

Aspac Developments Ltd.

Canada Lands Company CLC Limited



Cineplex Entertainment Limited Partnership

Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited

Indigo Parc Canada Inc.

RGN Management Limited Partnership

Alvarez & Marsal Canada

Brookfield Business Partners LP

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.

The Manulife Insurance Co.

Burnaby Lands Ltd.


Work highlights

  • Advised CDPQ Infra on the development of a 67 km light rail project.
  • Advised PCI Group on its Marine Gateway Project and also on its King George Station Project.
  • Acted for HOOPP in connection with its co-ownership and redevelopment of Brentwood Mall in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP is a popular choice for all things real estate transactions, including headline portfolio deals, REIT-related matters, complex investment deals and property finance. The practice group also links up with the firm’s impressive restructuring and insolvency team to handle large-scale real estate restructurings, recent examples of which included work for Sears Canada and Target. Based in the Toronto office, the team is headed by Rod Davidge and includes talented up-and-coming partner Stella Di Cresce.

Practice head(s):

Rod Davidge

Other key lawyers:

Stella Di Cresce

Key clients

Blackstone Property Partners


DREAM group of companies

Chartwell Retirement Residences

Oxford Properties Group

RBC Capital Markets




SmartCentres REIT

Work highlights

  • Advised PROREIT on several matters, including on its acquisition of a 19-property portfolio in Western Canada.
  • Advised Dream Office REIT on the sale of six assets in Alberta and Saskatchewan, among other matters.
  • Advised CIBC, as the lender, on over C$800m worth of real estate financings over the past year.

Aird & Berlis LLP

Toronto’s Aird & Berlis LLP is widely considered to be punching above its weight in commercial real estate. Best known for its prolific development practice, the group also handles leasing transactions, property acquisitions, and sales and financing matters. Leasing expert Monty Warsh heads the team.

Practice head(s):

Monty Warsh

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP’s real estate and development group is noted for its specialist public sector expertise, with a strong record in representing municipalities, Crown corporations, educational and other public institutions. In the private sector, the firm is particularly active in the retail and REIT spheres. David Redmond is noted for his focus on commercial mortgage lending work.

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG continues to strengthen its credentials on the development side and it is currently advising SHAPE Properties on three sizeable mall redevelopment projects. The group also houses significant leasing and finance expertise. Joel Camley, who is well versed in real estate acquisitions and disposals, leasing transactions and property finance, heads the team from Vancouver.

Practice head(s):

Joel Camley

Key clients


Shape Properties


Under Armour

Home Hardware Stores Limited

ATI Technologies

Rothmans Benson & Hedges Inc.

Sobeys Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised SHAPE Properties on the C$2bn redevelopment of Brentwood Mall.
  • Advised SHAPE Properties on the C$7bn redevelopment of Lougheed Mall.
  • Acted for LaSalle Investment Management on the launch of the LaSalle Canada Property Fund, its flagship open-ended core real estate fund in Canada.

DLA Piper (Canada) LLP

Driven out of its Vancouver office, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP’s real estate practice specializes in recreational and resort development, retail leasing, and natural resources-related land issues. Group head Mark Schmidt focuses on real estate transactions and commercial leasing.

Practice head(s):

Mark Schmidt

Key clients

Mountain Equipment Co-operative (MEC)

Bacardi Canada Inc.

Nanaimo Port Authority

Work highlights

  • Acted for Bacardi Canada on the C$24m sale of its manufacturing facility in Brampton, Ontario.
  • Advised Mountain Equipment Co-operative on numerous transactions connected to its expansion across Canada.
  • Advised the Nanaimo Port Authority on the development and leasing of a new BC Vehicle Processing Centre on Port Authority lands.

Lawson Lundell LLP

Vancouver-headquartered Lawson Lundell LLP enjoys a strong profile in British Columbia and is active across a broad range of development, investment and leasing matters. Leveraging the strength of its national pensions practice, the group is best known for its advice to pension funds, though it also acts for natural resources companies, developers and property owners. Peter Tolensky heads the department.

Practice head(s):

Peter Tolensky

WeirFoulds LLP

WeirFoulds LLP has a robust transactional real estate practice, which is well weighted between property acquisitions and sales, leasing transactions and financing. The firm also houses a standalone planning and development department, which is highly regarded for its expertise in municipal law. Based in the Toronto office, Bradley McLellan leads the commercial real estate practice, while Bruce Engell chairs the municipal and planning group.

Practice head(s):

Bradley McLellan

Other key lawyers:

Bruce Engell