McCann Canada Office

One of the oldest, most reputable and recognizable marketing agencies – McCann Worldwide – recently moved from their long time home at Water Park Place to two-and-a-half floors in an office tower a few blocks away. From the street, McCann’s new home appears to be another typical vertical expression of steel and glass in the downtown core. On the inside, however, the environment is anything but typical. 

McCann Canada
Main reception, internal stair, café and media wall. Photo by Tom Arban.

Designed by Bartlett & Associates Ltd. 60,000-square-foot open plan office creates an iconic first impression. Upon arrival in the airy, curvaceous reception, it is clear that McCann has the bench-strength of a global firm in their 104th year of business. The agency’s character is reinforced by their brand statement, “Truth Well Told,” embedded in the polished concrete floor and reappearing in a variety of media and materials throughout the space.

McCann Canada
Truth Well Told. Photo by Tom Arban

A sense of substance is conveyed through the scale of the reception area, staff café and client meeting rooms, which can be reconfigured to create one large space for town hall meetings, staff socials and client receptions. The swirling internal staircase serves a dual purpose as a vertical connection between business units and as a uniquely artful statement at the heart of the office. In support of the art community beyond McCann’s walls, Toronto’s Twist Gallery regularly contributes pieces for display around the office, which are available for purchase by staff and visitors. 

McCann Canada
Internal Stair. Photo by Tom Arban.

A loft-style effect has been achieved by removing all ceiling grid and base building lighting to expose the mechanical and electrical backbone, which was then painted grey to create a fresh, uniform look and feel. To enhance the overall creative concept, variations of new character lighting fixtures are integrated throughout the public areas and workstation neighbourhoods, subtly tying the design solution together.

McCann Canada
“Hot Stove Lounge” café, named after Maple Leaf Gardens’ original lounge. Hockey Night in Canada is one of McCann Canada’s most well-known campaigns. Photo by Tom Arban.

Bartlett & Associates Ltd. Partner Inger Bartlett led the design and planning of the new McCann office and its unique open loft-style aesthetic. “We are noticing a significant shift among agency clients toward an open plan environment, fostering the creative energy they thrive on,” Bartlett said. “McCann employees have totally embraced their new way of working.”

McCann Canada
Main Boardroom. Photo by Tom Arban

Moving from a private office culture to a more open environment was important to McCann for their promotion of transparency, casual collaboration and the sparking of ideas everywhere. Open plan workstation neighbourhoods are complemented by themed meeting rooms and informal breakout areas, encouraging people to work where they feel most inspired. This “work anywhere” approach is supported by an advanced system of audio/visual capabilities, including wireless network access wherever you go, plug-and-play presentation screens throughout the office and a large media wall in reception, as well as Idea Paint (think whiteboard in a paint can) and back-painted glass walls for sketching out those Cannes-winning ideas.

McCann Canada.
Open plan workstation ‘neighbourhood’ and breakout area. Photo by Tom Arban.

Other unique touches demonstrating the ingenuity of the McCann-Bartlett duo include the 3D-printed figurines of every McCann employee, each placed on the custom Bartlett-designed display system, the wall-mounted wire sculpture adapted from a pencil sketch of agency founder Harrison King McCann, and the “dog wall” – a place for McCann employees to display photos of their affectionate furry friends. Details like these are what define McCann’s unique character and their commitment to embodying this in their physical space.

McCann Canada
Figurines. Photo by Tom Arban.

The new McCann Toronto office was completed in the summer of 2016 and continues to impress employees, clients and visitors. “The office is awesome. I assume you’re [Bartlett & Associates] responsible for the beer taps, so thank you,” said an Account Director. Now that’s Truth Well Told.