Rising Above

The Globe and Mail published an interesting article by Marcus Gee on the rise of the “YIMBY” (Yes In My Back Yard), movement as it relates to urban sprawl and the near-critical need for the city of Toronto to allow developers to build upwards in residential communities.   While some residents (“NIMBY’s”, Not In My Back Yard), fight tirelessly to ensure their enclaves are protected from the construction of seemingly obtrusive hi-rise condominium or rental units, others are embracing the vertical footprint for the increased density and ability to affordably house the ever growing population searching for housing in the downtown core.  The YIMBY’s are banding together to support hi-rise construction in residential areas and are  bringing attention to the need to bring more housing into the core.  They recognize the ever growing urban sprawl which has an increasing number of commuters spending grueling hours on a daily commute as a result of unaffordable housing in the downtown neighbourhoods.  There are compelling points of view on both sides of the debate, to read more, click here

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Art in the Beach

The 14th Annual Art in the Beach Festival put on by the Beach Guild of Fine Arts begins tomorrow and continues through the weekend wrapping up on Sunday the 24th.  Featuring art works by over 40 local artisans, this annual sale is not to be missed.  Details are on their website, click here for the link.

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Architectural Facadism

Canadian Architect recently published a thought-provoking article by Brad Done on “Architectural Facadism and Urban Intensification”.  It is an insight into the growing trends of cities like Toronto and the need to provide modern living and work spaces while protecting heritage designations.  The challenges ensue as building facades are restored while the building behind is completely rebuilt to suit modern needs.  Opponents argue that culture and vitality are lost when older buildings are transformed in this matter, and can result in negative impacts to the neighbourhood.  Read the article by clicking  HERE.

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Better biking

Toronto has been grappling with a constant debate over a few key concerns for bicyclists and drivers alike.  The recent addition of bicycle lanes on Woodbine Avenue have local residents and commuters using this north/south corridor fuming over reduced lanes and additional congestion, while the bicyclists are applauding the move as a long-overdue necessity.   As the debate over additional bicycle lanes throughout the city continues, so does the endless debate over what to do with the Gardiner Expressway.  Should it be leveled all together or turned into a green space for pedestrian traffic to enjoy amid the concrete jungle that borders each side, not unlike the Highline in New York City.

Perhaps City Planners should take a look at the city of Radbahn, Berlin for inspiration.  Instead of removing the vehicles on the Gardiner to make way for parkland, what about making parkland and bike lanes under the Gardiner, thereby creating safe passageway for bicyclists and pedestrians alike.  Of course, Lakeshore Boulevard would be collateral damage in an undertaking of this nature, but if we are ready to sacrifice vehicular traffic on the elevated, why not the underbelly?

Read the article on the bicycling path in Radbahn Berlin by clicking  HERE and sign up for our blog to receive semi-weekly articles on a variety of design, architecture and interesting urban facts from near and across the globe.

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The Expo for Design, Innovation and Technology (EDIT) will host its inaugural event from September 28 – October 8, 2017 at the home of the former Unilever Soap Factory.  The 50,000 sq. ft venue will host a wide range of events, demonstrations, installations and workshops showcasing sustainable development in every form.  Guest speakers  Dr. David Suzuki and Leslie Woo are  among a vast array of  personalities who will talk on global issues and the movement towards advancing the human condition.  For more information and to purchase tickets check out their website by clicking here

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Planning a Reno?

If you are planning a renovation for the spring, the time to start thinking about it is now.  Good contractors are booked several months in advance so calling them in April expecting work to be done in May, might result in disappointment, or worse, settling for a less reputable company to undertake the work.  It may also cost more as most contractors will charge higher rates as demand increases in the early spring.

If you are planning to renovate in the spring, take the time now to plan out your reno.  Start looking through magazines and watching home improvement shows to gather together design ideas that you like.  Work out your timing and when it will best suit you and your family’s lifestyle to undergo a disruption to your living environment.  And finally, work on a budget.  Be realistic on what you need versus what you want and how much it will cost.  Figure out what you can and cannot live without and allocate your funds accordingly.  Cost overages happen very quickly during a renovation so be sure to allow for those unforeseen additional costs that may creep in.

With careful planning and budgeting, your dream project can be realized without turning into a nightmare.

For help with planning your next reno, give Grove a call or email at info@groveinc.ca.  We would be happy to help start you on your road to a successful renovation project.  For more info, call 647-689-2454.

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From flat to fabulous – 3 dimensional floor plans.

You have just bought a brand new condo and have the better part of 1- 2 years to look at the floor plan you were given and imagine how the space will actually look in your 3 dimensional world.      It is very difficult to look at a one-dimensional floor plan and accurately determine how your furniture, art, rugs and other household items will work in the space.  Well, imagine no more.  With 3D imaging, Grove is able to take any floor plan and turn it into a 3-dimensional rendering that will accurately portray your new space in a more user-friendly format.    To find out more, give us a call at 647-689-2454 or email us at info@groveinc.ca.


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The Future of bicycle parking.

While the controversy over bike lanes in our city continues to heat up, Utrecht, a City in the Netherlands embraces their love of biking while the city comes up with ingenious methods of housing the growing number of bicycles.   This parking garage offers an effective design to the increasing number of bicycles requiring areas to park in the urban core.  Read the full story here.  And don’t forget to sign up to receive our twice weekly blogs, for more interesting articles like this one.

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Breathing new life into shipping containers

Grove is currently converting a shipping container into a unique space which will be unveiled in a future article.  During our design process we did a lot of research into the world of the recycled container and found incredibly innovative designs that people are implementing.  Shipping containers have come a long way from their intended use. With a little  imagination and a seemingly unending supply of recyclable containers,  the applications for this versatile medium is unlimited.   Not only are the steel boxes durable, portable, and inexpensive, it turns out that they can be used for almost any self-contained structure one can think of.  From pop-up retail stores and restaurants to sales offices, swimming pools, garages and even homes and cottages, the possibilities are endless.  The trend is gathering momentum as more and more people are jumping on board with their own creative uses, and the end results are astounding.  The pictures below are just a few of the ingenious ways people have re-purposed containers.  Now that’s thinking outside the box!

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Beautiful Bluffs

All eyes have been on the Toronto Islands this summer with the extensive flooding and ongoing high-water levels.  However, another one of our treasured sites, the Scarborough Bluffs, came under attack by Mother Nature as well in the past few months resulting in significant and dangerous erosion.  The City was forced to close off many areas deemed hazardous to the public over safety concerns.  The good news is that the city announced this week that they were reopening select areas that are considered to have  stabilized.  The bad news is that the Bluffs will also be a dare waiting to be taken by the few who feel scaling them will not result in injury or life-threatening circumstances.

Expanding some 15 kms from the bottom of Victoria Park Road on the west to East Point Park in the east, the Bluffs were formed some 12,000 years ago resulting in  a significant geographical landmark.  They were formed by sedimentary deposits through the organic process of wind and water.   The Bluffs span 900 metres (300 ft) high and were first named the Scarborough Highlands in 1793.  A majestic site by land, and a magical site by water, The Bluffs are part of our province’s greatest natural habitats.

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Art in Motion

For over 7 years, Art Spin, has been activating decommissioned venues and unique public spaces to produce group exhibitions along with curated bicycle tours.  The latest event takes place this Thursday, August 24, 2017 and is open to everyone.  A roving curatorial project that situates commissioned, site-specific works in unique public spaces throughout the city, each Art Spin tour gathers a large audience on bicycles to visit multidisciplinary installations and performances in a one-of-a-kind event.

For more information on how to be a part of this roving art tour,  click here.



With the CNE in full swing, Blogto.com did an article on lesser known tidbits about the CNE in its earlier days.  From fire engulfed divers to the Mighty Flyer Roller Coaster, click here to learn more about the early days of the Canadian National Exhibition.



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Toronto Takes Fourth.

Toronto Takes Fourth.

Great news!  It turns out Toronto has a high ranking as one of the world’s most livable cities.  Read the story by clicking here



A Bridge over Holland Waters

“The biggest emotion is the bridge to optimism”, Brian May. 

3-D printing of a metal bridge in the Netherlands is a concept fast becoming a reality and truly a product of determination and optimism.  Read this fascinating story published on  weburbanist.com by clicking  here and sign up to receive our blog.





An Urban Tree House

We liked Erin Donnolley’s article for Azuremagazine.com  on a proposed  condominium project that architects believe Toronto would be the ideal location for.   The building would be constructed from sustainable materials in an offsite facility and transported as finished units and craned into place forming a Tree Tower.  The entire building would be clad in timber and each unit  would have a lush exterior patio garden with trees and vegetation to offer privacy and peaceful views alluding to a forestry exterior instead of the urban jungle it will be located in.  Read the entire article here  and sign up for our blog!

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Hope for Ontario Place

The long anticipated revitalization of Ontario Place has been one of fits and starts.    The planners’ original “open by” date  of July 1, 2017 ( in time for Canada’s 150th birthday celebration),  has come and gone, and the park still remains a shadow of its former self.  The one exception is the re-imagined Trillium Park at the eastern edge.  A whole new landscape has been crafted to reveal beautiful walking trails, rain shelters, rock climbing areas, and plenty of places to just sit and relax.  The opening of Trillium Park is a welcome addition and the first step in breathing life back into Ontario Place.  We can’t wait to see the finished product.  Click on the link for the story and to sign up for our blog. Click here

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Help for Toronto’s Homeless Youth

Eva’s Phoenix is a much needed port in the storm for many of Toronto’s homeless youth. The art deco building at Richmond West and Portland has been transformed into a safe haven for many  youths wanting to break away from the cycle of homelessness.   By providing safe housing and training skills, Eva’s Phoenix offers shelter and a place to develop new skills,  for 50 youths for up to one year.    Read more about Eve’s Phoenix in the article by Catherine Osborne in a recent edition of Azure Magazine.   Read the story here.

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U of T expansion to the Robarts Library

A vast expansion to the Robarts Library at the U of T  is underway with an aim of completion for the 2019-2020 academic year.  Increasing current study space by approximately 25%, the new addition will incorporate sustainable design features including a rain recycling  system, along with a green roof and other environmentally conscious features.  For more information read here

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The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), issued a press release this week announcing that condo sales in Toronto reached a record high in the month of June.  91% of all new houses sold were condominiums with only 9% of new sales attributed to low-rise single family homes.   Despite the resale market slowing down, the Province’s fair housing plan in effect since April, has had very little impact on new home sales.  To read the full report, click here

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Going to the dogs

There has been so much talk about the newly created Berczy Park and its wonderfully whimsical dog fountain.  It is a well designed space that adds fun and functionality to a previously underused and underappreciated piece of downtown real estate.  Read more here and then visit the relaxing space with or without a canine friend.

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