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Downtown Edmonton reaches for the sky as Ice District towers rise up

WATCH ABOVE: Very soon, some towers under construction in downtown Edmonton will rise higher than anything that ever been built in Alberta's capital. Vinesh Pratap reports.

What started as a vision is now turning into something tangible and people across Edmonton are taking notice.

“It just worked out perfectly,” explained photographer Jeff Wallace, who last week took a photo of the changing downtown skyline.

The image shows the Ice District towers at the height of many current buildings in downtown.

READ MORE: ICE District construction update: downtown Edmonton towers take shape 

Construction is at a tipping point where soon two buildings will rise much higher than anything that’s been built before in the capital.

“You then realize it’s probably only at half height.”

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“People were quite amazed at how the towers in the Ice District are starting to rise taller and taller,” said Wallace, describing the reaction after sharing his image on several forums. He said people have commented the buildings “really start to have a presence and weight in the downtown core.”

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The reaction appears to be universal when it comes to the city’s changing postcard image.

For years, Manulife Place held the top tower crown, standing at 146 metres tall.  The JW Marriott tower will be just over 190 metres; the Stantec Tower will be 250 metres.

READ MORE: Katz Group sets sights on downtown Edmonton residential towers

“It has a metro feel to it now,” said Leona Badger, who is glad to see some holes in the skyline filled.

“We should be proud of where we live. This is our community, our city.”

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Currently, the JW Marriott project is taller than Stantec.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s tallest tower reaches milestone Thursday 

The question on the minds of many is: has JW surpassed Manulife in height? Global News has learned it’s close, but not yet. A social media post may offer a clue:

“It seems like we have come of age,” Wallace said.

READ MORE: Ice District tower takes shape, occupancy questions remain 

After the Ice District towers are topped off, he plans to come back to his unique vantage point to capture the new view.

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“It may not be as material and important now,” he mused. “But I think when people look at it 20, 30, even 50 years from now, it’ll be interesting as we photograph and mark these milestones.”

The under construction JW Marriott tower in Edmonton, which will soon become the tallest structure in the city for a brief period.
The under construction JW Marriott tower in Edmonton, which will soon become the tallest structure in the city for a brief period. Vinesh Pratap/ Global News
A view of Edmonton's skyline looking south from outside the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
A view of Edmonton's skyline looking south from outside the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Vinesh Pratap/ Global News
A view of Edmonton's skyline looking south from the future Blatchford neighbourhood.
A view of Edmonton's skyline looking south from the future Blatchford neighbourhood. Vinesh Pratap/ Global News
A view of Edmonton's skyline  looking west from Wayne Gretzky Drive.
A view of Edmonton's skyline looking west from Wayne Gretzky Drive. Vinesh Pratap/ Global News