One Canada Square

Coordinates: 51°30′18″N 0°01′10.6″W / 51.50500°N 0.019611°W / 51.50500; -0.019611
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

One Canada Square
One Canada Square in London
Record height
Tallest in United Kingdom from 1990 to 2012[I]
Preceded byTower 42
Surpassed byThe Shard
General information
LocationCanary Wharf
London, England, UK
Coordinates51°30′18″N 0°01′10.6″W / 51.50500°N 0.019611°W / 51.50500; -0.019611
Construction started1988
Completed1991 (1991)[1][2][3]
Cost£624 million
OwnerCanary Wharf Group plc (current majority shareholder is Songbird Estates plc)[15]
ManagementCanary Wharf Group plc
Architectural770 ft (235 m)AGL
800 ft (240 m)[5] ASL
Technical details
Floor count50[4]
Floor area1,224,142 sq ft (113,726.5 m2)[6]
Design and construction
Architect(s)César Pelli & Associates[7][8][9][10]
Adamson Associates[8][10][11]
Frederick Gibberd Coombes & Partners[8][10][12]
DeveloperOlympia & York[2][14]
Structural engineerMS Yolles & Partners[8]
Winston Group[8][13]
Waterman Partnership[8][13]
Main contractorSir Robert McAlpine[10]
Ellis Don[10]
Lehrer McGovern[10]
Balfour Beatty
Olympia & York
+ approximately 40 sub-contractors

One Canada Square is a skyscraper in Canary Wharf, London. It is the third tallest building in the United Kingdom at 770 feet (235 m) above ground level,[17] and contains 50 storeys. It achieved the title of the tallest building in the UK upon completion in 1991 and held the title for 21 years until the completion of The Shard (310m) in 2012.[18][19]

One Canada Square was designed by César Pelli with Adamson Associates and Frederick Gibberd Coombes. The building is clad with stainless steel. 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 800 feet (240 m) above sea level.[5]

One Canada Square is primarily used for offices, though there are some retail units on the lower ground floor. There is no observation floor. It is a prestigious location for offices and as of October 2017 was completely let.[20] The building is recognised as a London landmark, and it has gained much attention through film, television, and other media as one of the tallest buildings in the United Kingdom.

History and design[edit]

Original plans[edit]

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 fund the project, so the plans were sold to Olympia & York in 1987.[10] Olympia & York grouped all three towers into an area[10] known as Docklands Square, and the main tower was designated DS7[21] 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 César Pelli & Associates, Adamson Associates, and Frederick Gibberd Coombes & Partners.[8][10] They designed the tower with a similar shape to 200 Vesey Street (formerly Three World Financial Center), New York City, which was also developed by Olympia & York and designed by Argentine architect César Pelli. The shape was also made reminiscent of "Big Ben".[22] Olympia & York wanted to clad One Canada Square in stone, just like the Brookfield Place (New York City) buildings, but the architects first wanted to use aluminium for its low density, before insisting on steel[10] to reflect Britain's heritage as an industrial nation.[22] The final steel clad chosen was Patten Hyclad Cambric-finish stainless-steel.[23]

Commenting on the reason for choosing steel for the clad:

"We studied the cladding material carefully and chose stainless steel with a linen finish because it seemed to fit the atmosphere of London."

—César Pelli, architect (2016)[23]

One Canada Square was originally designed to be 864 feet (263 m) high at 55 storeys, but that 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 30 feet (9.1 m) 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 five floors[10][22] off the tower. The final height of 824 feet (251 m) 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[10][22] by increasing mass to the remaining floor space which created a tower that was not as slim as Pelli desired. Pelli and the other architects proposed alternatives, such as building more floors below ground and creating an extension of the tower into Docklands Square, which were similar ideas based upon previous Olympia & York buildings, though the ideas were rejected as it did not fit the basis of prime office space.

The design of the tower received a fair share of criticism. According to César 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".[24] 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.[10] Construction was given to Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons in association with EllisDon of Toronto,[10] but they were slow at building the tower, partly due to building workers going on strike in the summer of 1989,[25] so Lehrer McGovern took over.[10] 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.[5] Construction also involved building a huge cofferdam to seal construction from water. It also involved driving 222 piles into the ground at 23 metres deep.[23] Also, a 4-metre thick concrete raft was sunk into the dock to act as anchor.[23]

By June 1990, the tower had overtaken Tower 42 (previously known as the NatWest 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[10] and open for business. His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh officially opened One Canada Square on the morning of 26 August 1991,[26] 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)


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[27] were installed during the Christmas celebrations of 1991.

Park Pavilion[edit]

In 2009, the building was extended with Park Pavilion, a two-story glass structure built on the east side of the building, designed by César Pelli and Koetter Kim. The extension replaced the stainless steel columns, car parking spaces and road leading to Canada Square. The extension was made to create more retail space at street level, where five tenants were chosen to occupy the space: four restaurants and Lloyds Bank. The extension's roof terrace is open to diners and contains a green roof having sedum moss.[23]

Building technical details[edit]

Building name[edit]

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

Building height[edit]

The Civil Aviation Authority shows the building at 235 metres (771 ft) above ground level, or 245.8 metres (806 ft) above sea level.

Pyramid roof[edit]

The pyramid roof at night

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[28] and 30 metres square at the base.[28] It is made from stainless steel[28] and is held together by 100,000 nuts and bolts,[28] with a weight of over 100 tons.[28] A louvre access door opens to allow a shining beacon to identify the building to passing aircraft.[28]

The pyramid is metal louvres that are self-cleaning with rainwater.

Architect César Pelli commented on his pyramid design:

"The pyramidal form makes a three-dimensional building of what would otherwise be just folded planes. It also strengthens the Axis Mundi, the vertical line that goes through skyscrapers and connects Heaven with Earth. This connection has been recognised in many cultures for several centuries now."

—César Pelli, architect (2016)[23]


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 200,000 imperial gallons (910,000 L) of water per day.

Window washing machines[edit]

The building maintenance units for washing the building windows are stored on the roof. There are two BMU's on the roof, 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.

Canary Wharf: Aircraft warning lights

Aircraft warning lights[edit]

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 a 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[edit]

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.

Roof material[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

The pyramid roof lights up in the evenings and can be seen 20 miles (32 km) away.[29] It is a permanent lighting of the One Canada Square 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[edit]

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[5] 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 high R-values [low U-values, 0.90 W/(m2.K)] for the time, thereby the thermal resistance is one of the highest rated in the world for the entire window including the frame.

External lighting[edit]

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.

Fire system[edit]

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,[30] during a test drill in response to the 11 September 2001 attacks. The test drill was unsuccessful as tenants were notified beforehand, hence evacuation was much quicker than expected by Canary Wharf Security.

Procedure for fire alarm[edit]

When the fire alarm activates on a floor, audio instructions tailored to each floor of the building sound. All floors will receive an evacuation message, with a controlled evacuation message replayed to each floor in order of priority. 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[edit]

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 33.02 centimetres (13 inches) in the strongest winds.[5]


One of the tondi of The 20th Century–Thames (Keith Milow, 1998)

The lobby is 36 feet (11 m) high, clad in 90,000 square feet (8,000 m2) Italian Rosso Levanto and Verde Imperial Guatemalan[23] marbles imported from Italy,[5] Guatemala[5] and Turkey.[10]

The marble clad under steel ceilings gives the impression of:

"Rather than entering a corporate reception, you feel as if you're entering a hushed antespace of timeless power."

—Herbert Wright, Johnny Tucker, Journalist [architecture] (2016)[23]

Security screens[edit]

In February 2017, security in the lobby was extended to include security screens to prevent unauthorised entry to the lifts. This was a follow-up to YouTuber Night Scape gaining unauthorised entry from the lobby to the roof.[31][32][33]


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).[5] 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[5] (The Canary Wharf website has not been updated to include the new goods lift GL37).

Observation floor[edit]

There is currently no public observation floor. However, there was an exception from 12 October 1992 to 15 December 1992, when bankruptcy administrators for Olympia & York Canary Wharf Limited opened the 50th floor to the public, to maintain interest in Canary Wharf. The scheme was stopped on 15 December 1992 when the IRA attempted to bomb the tower[34] (see Terrorism section).

Environmental rating[edit]

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.

One Canada Square energy performance has improved by decreasing 30% from 2007 to 2016 by initiatives such as installing LEDs and upgrading HVAC and water services.[23]

General figures[edit]

  • 28,000 square feet (2,600 m2) average floor size[5]
  • 4,388 internal steps[5]
  • 130,000 deliveries to the loading bay each year[5]
  • 9,975 people working in the tower[23]

Building internal relations[edit]

Public access[edit]

A view from the top floor, May 2000

The ground floor, foyer area and basement levels of One Canada Square are open to the general public, having an underground retail 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.[35] The floors above the lobby are not open to the public, as they contain offices.

Art works[edit]

Permanent art works[edit]

There are many art works on display in the lobby. This includes 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 staircases in the four corners of the lobby leading down to the basement floor were originally embellished with a four-piece commissioned sculpture, The 20th Century–Thames by Keith Milow.[36] Around 2014, one of the tondi was removed to make room for a restaurant. The other three remain in situ.

Other art works on display included Sergio Germariello's Guerrieri (Warriors) 2013, which is displayed in the lobby. The work is an aluminium laser cut out that has been painted.[37]

Blade of Venus 1985, by William Turnbull, is on display, part of a series of bronzes that originated in the shape of Japanese swords and Chinese chopping knives.[37]

Lawson Oyekan's Trail With Light (LIP) Series 1998, are terracotta vessels on permanent display. The concept is that it is supposed to reflect emotional experience and look as if they have been exploded and put back together again.[37]

Temporary art works[edit]

The lobby is also used for temporary art displays. In 2017, the artist Richard Rome showed several of his bronze and steel sculptures here.[38] This was followed by an exhibition of bronze sculptures by Auguste Rodin.[39]

Canary Wharf Winter Lights usually are on display during January.[40][41][42]

During 16 April - 1 June 2018, the lobby hosted a photography exhibition known as AOP50 (Association of Photographers 50 years celebration). Large photographs were on display by famous photographers.[43][44] Notable works included:

  • Jullian Edelstein, Nelson Mandela, 1997[44]
  • Duffy, Jean Shrimpton, 1963[44]
  • Spencer Rowell, L'Enfant, 1986[44]
  • Tessa Traeger, Chemistry of Light, No 22 and 23, 2012[44]
  • Max Forsythe, Hong Kong, c.1995[44]
  • Paul Wakefield, Abraham Lake, 2011[44]
  • Anderson & low, NDST Sky #27, 2001[44]
  • Nadasv Kander, Silver Salt Lake Utah, 1997[44]

Ground Floor Restaurant[edit]

The ground floor lobby has a restaurant and bar, the current tenant is Shutters.[45]


Current office tenants[edit]

The current office tenants according to Canary Wharf Group plc as at 30 June 2022:[46]

Notable previous office tenants[edit]


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)
2010-2015 British Land[49]
2015–present Canary Wharf Group plc (public company, 69 percent controlled by Songbird Estates {which have major shareholders being Qatar Investment Authority [QIA], Simon Glick family, China Investment Corporation, Morgan Stanley, Third Avenue, Madison International Realty, EMS} and 22 percent controlled by Brookfield Properties.)[50]


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[edit]

One Canada Square has been 'named and shamed' for being the top building to leave the lights on unnecessarily.[51] 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.[51]

However, Canary Wharf Group said that some tenants have staff working around the clock,[51] and 100% of the energy comes from renewable resources.[51]

Charity abseil events[edit]

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.

The first abseil was on 21 July 2001, when a team of Royal Marines, and members of various companies including a team led by David Levy from HSBC, and this team, raised in excess of £45,000 for 5 different children's charities. The event earned a World Record and was covered by BBC Record Breakers.

External relations[edit]

Height ranking[edit]

Title Rank
Tallest completed building in Europe 30
Tallest completed building in the United Kingdom 3
Tallest completed building in Canary Wharf 1


One Canada Square achieved the title of tallest skyscraper in the UK in August 1991 upon building completion (as of CTBUH guidelines), or June 1990 (during construction when it overtook Nat West Tower). It held the record until 2012 when The Shard was completed. It became the third tallest building in the United Kingdom in 2019 upon completion of 22 Bishopsgate.

One Canada Square never achieved the title as tallest skyscraper in the European Union because in accordance to the CTBUH method, a building has to be completed before its receives its title, with Messeturm in Frankfurt being completed in 1990.


On 15 November 1992, the Provisional Irish Republican Army attempted to place a large improvised explosive device[34] 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,[52] 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 successfully detonated a large bomb at South Quay, south of Canary Wharf (outside Canary Wharf), which killed two people and devastated several buildings. This explosion is commonly, but erroneously, referred to as the "Canary Wharf bomb".[53][54]

The towers at Canary Wharf were evacuated as a precaution following the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon in the United States.

There have been many news articles in recent years stating that the towers at Canary Wharf have been a target for terrorism.[55][56] However, some of these plots have been denied by the government.[57] 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,[58][59] but were found guilty for planning attacks on the Canary Wharf skyscrapers.

Community relations[edit]

Television interference[edit]

As the Canary Wharf Tower is the first skyscraper to be clad in stainless steel with metallised windows, this may have caused analog television reception interference for local people living in the area. In the case Patricia Hunter and others v. Canary Wharf Ltd.[1997],[60][61] the House of Lords concluded there is no legal right to receive good television reception.[62] 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[63] (north of Canary Wharf). A possible cause for the interference are the other Canary Wharf towers being built.[63] Their advice was to get digital television, satellite or cable.[63]

In popular culture[edit]


One Canada Square has been featured in several films.

Other films featuring the Canary Wharf Tower can be read from a publication called Canary Wharf And Isle of Dogs Movie Map.[64]


One Canada Square has appeared many times on British television.

During the 1990s, One Canada Square was home to the television station L!VE TV, which broadcast live from the tower.[64]


  • 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
  • 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[edit]

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


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Canary Wharf Contractors Limited, "Canary Wharf Contractors, One Canada Square". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2007. Some of our projects – One Canada Square – One Canada Square, Canary Wharf Contractors website, Canary Wharf Contractors Limited. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
  2. ^ a b Canary Wharf Group plc, "Welcome to the Canary Wharf Group PLC website". Archived from the original on 3 December 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2006. History, official Canary Wharf website, Canary Wharf Group plc. Retrieved 25 May 2008
  3. ^ "From Here to Modernity – Buildings – Canary Wharf – Canary Wharf". The Open University. Retrieved 25 May 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Canary Wharf Group plc, "One Canada Square - Facts". Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2008. The Estate – Buildings – One Canada Square – More information – One Canada Square Facts, official Canary Wharf website, Canary Wharf Group plc. Retrieved 25 May 2008
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Canary Wharf Group plc, "Canary Wharf - Fact File - One Canada Square". Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2008. Fact File – One Canada Square – One Canada Square, official Canary Wharf website, Canary Wharf Group plc. Retrieved 25 May 2008 14:55 BST.
  6. ^ "One Canada Square". Canary Wharf Group. Retrieved 12 October 2023.
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External links[edit]

Preceded by Tallest Building in the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Preceded by Tallest Building in London
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Tallest Building in Canary Wharf
Succeeded by
  1. ^ a b As of CTBUH guidelines when building is completed, and of CTBUH Skyscraper Award