They didn't think of it as cheapening of course, there was simply a major rush on to modernize and put Toronto on the map by making sure we were as hip as the best of them. There was little thought given to heritage then.
The unbuilt, full-scale design looks quite interesting - but I am glad it didn't get a go ahead since it would have resulted in the likely demolition (?) of the heritage building, which is arguably finer. Have to say, I don't really care that much for this tower - there are far more interesting buildings from that era IMO.
I actually find the tower to look quite slim. The recessed exterior walls and exposed concrete columns up the side give it an almost anemic exterior form. The glass at the base also helps lighten its load at the bottom. Lastly, the top concrete mechanical portion acts as somewhat of a crown or head to top off the beauty.
I think its good geometric forms and consistently understated presence are what make it so appealing to me.