Case Studies

Toronto Eaton Centre North Food Court

Food Court Noise and Vibration Control Eaton Center Toronto Ontario Canada

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Owner/Operator: Cadillac Fairview
Main Contracter: PCL Constructors Canada

The Toronto Eaton Centre is an indoor shopping mall and office complex in downtown Toronto. It is the largest shopping mall in Toronto and third-largest in Canada as a whole. In terms of the number of visitors, the shopping mall is Toronto’s top tourist attraction, with around one million visitors per week.

Cadillac Fairview, owners and operators of The Eaton Centre, invested $48 million in renovating and furnishing its popular north food court. The upgrades included designer chairs, automated hand-washing stations, and revamped washrooms.

HGC Engineering was retained to review acoustical concerns associated with the proposed renovations of the North Food Court.  The assessment considered in particular the acoustical reverberation effects of the proposed changes to the ceiling design and material in the food court, as well as noise from the new HVAC ecology units, air handling units, and exhaust fans in both the food court and the retail stores, and to a lesser extent, noise on the street.

Background sound levels and  reverberation of the existing food court were measured. The reverberation time in the empty food court (i.e., no absorption due to the presence of people) was measured and the acoustic model of the space was calibrated to these values.  Then the modelled space was analysed as if 25% occupied, in which some communication should still be possible  (e.g., public address announcements).

This degree of reverberation is typical of a large public space which is not used for any critical form of assembly or public address. Once the measurements were completed and analyzed design changes were recommended to optimize the food court’s acoustics and mitigate noise where required.  The proposed design suggestions included methods to minimize acoustical reflectivity of the ceilings particularly for periods when the space would not be not highly occupied and reverberation effects would be greater.


Acoustical Consulting Services Included:

  • Building Services Noise and Vibration control (HVAC Systems, Pumps, Compactors, Generators, etc)
  • Shop Drawing Review
  • Reverberation Measurements


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