We’re Growing!

Grove Project Management is growing and we are looking for creative and enthusiastic professionals to grow with us.  Specializing in mid-rise condominium builds and custom home renovations, we are currently looking for an entry level or mid-level engineering professional to join our Project Management team.   If you are interested in working with a group of young professionals in our Beaches location while earning competitive compensation and terrific benefits, then we want to meet you.  To make it happen, send your resume to info@groveinc.ca.  We look forward to meeting you!

 

Kids Build Cities

At a recent neighbourhood consultation for the redevelopment of Mirvish Village, Smart Density Architect, Naama Blonder, introduced an innovative strategy to help diffuse some of the angst that often occurs when a neighbourhood gets together to discuss the ramifications of a pending development.   Bonder developed an oversized board game called “Kids Build Cities” to allow kids and their parents to experience the often overwhelming challenges developers experience today – particularly when dealing with height and density issues.  To win, players must build a city block comprising all aspects of a functioning neighbourhood including housing, schools, parks, fire stations etc.   The player chooses the placement of elements and finds solutions for the challenges that go into developing or redeveloping a neighbourhood.  Blonder found the kids’ creativity engaging and the community consultation less combative by engaging in the exercise.

Read more on Kids Build Cities  here. 

 

Music Down Under

In an unprecedented move by the TTC, it has been announced that the abandoned station at Lower Bay will be used for something other than the filming of a Hollywood blockbuster.  The station is getting set to host a music concert in the so-called “ghost” station below the existing Bay subway station as part of Canadian Music Week.  Using open-door subway cars as the stage for the entertainers, concert-goers will be treated to an evening of Canadian music performances in a unique setting.

While advanced ticket sales  have been sold out, look for more to be available once the headliner has been formally announced.  The show is scheduled for May 11, and more information is available on Blogto.

 

Grow OP at the Gladstone

The Gladstone Hotel will be hosting its annual Grow Op from April 18th – 22nd.  In its sixth year, the 2018 theme of “After the Flood” will consider how humans and nature will emerge after a catastrophic event in terms of our relationships with changes that will occur organically and inorganically.   The art installations will reflect the various artists views on growth and change, insufficiency and excess and how the world will evolve as our climate drastically alters our footprint and our very existence. Check out the article in Canadian Architect here as well as the Gladstone Hotel website for more information.

Toronto Then and Now

In 1867, 3 photographers were commissioned to assemble a composition of photos that would be sent to London as part of a bid to nominate Toronto as capital of Canada.  Sometime between the photos being shipped to London and Queen Victoria’s  decision to make Ottawa Canada’s new capital city, the photos were lost.  And remained so for over 120 years.    The story of how these photos were found and the ensuing inspiration to document the downtown core in this day and age for future generations to reflect upon,  can be found in a recent story in NOW Magazine.

Members of the Architectural Conservatory of Toronto commenced documentation of archival worthy images of Toronto in 2015, with completion of the project in 2017.  The contrasts are stark.  The 1867 landscape is  unrecognizable as most buildings have long since disappeared replaced by row after row of glass towers.    It is an interesting journey  though and a wonderful illustration of then and now.    The original photos from 1867 are available for viewing at the City of Toronto Archives on Spadina.

Read the story from NOW Toronto, here.

 

Bridging the Gap

It appears the long-awaited pedestrian/bike bridge linking Liberty Village and King is on track to commence construction this summer, with completion slated for summer 2019.  The pedestrian/bicycle friendly bridge is the long-awaited dream of residents who currently have to walk a significant distance to connect up with King.  The bridge will cut a current 20-minute trek down to about 3 minutes.  Assuming that no further red tape gets in the way, residents and businesses alike can look forward to a more reasonable access route coming and going from the Liberty Village neighbourhood.  For more on the bridge, click here

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George Brown’s newest campus addition

George Brown University announced a winner in it’s design challenge for The Arbour, the province’s first tall wood, low carbon, institutional building.  After a lengthy decision making process which shortlisted a number of promising designs from top-seated architectural firms, in the end, it was Moriyama and Teshima Architects and Acton Ostrey Architects collaboration and striking design that won out.

Serving as an educational and research hub, The Arbour will be home to Canada’s first Tall Wood Research Institute and will facilitate the exploration, ideas and research into low carbon, mass timber construction.  Located at the south east corner of Queens Quay and Sherbourne, construction is set to begin in 2021.  For more information, check it out here

 

 

 

Beech House hits a Milestone!

We love reporting updates on our Beech House project and this one is particularly  newsworthy.  The second floor slab has been poured which effectively completes the YMCA portion of the structural build.  From here on, the condominium floors will rise rapidly above as The Beech House residential units take shape.   Stay tuned to our blog and Facebook page for more exciting updates on the project.

Subway Savvy

The addition of three new subway stations to the ever-expanding TTC subway lines has brought not just practicality but smart design for commuters along the way.  Check out the Vaughn Metropolitan Centre’s curved roof and mirrored ceiling as well as  Pioneer Village and Finch West, part of the Toronto York Subway Extension Project.  The new designs are a welcome addition to the aging and outdated stations Toronto commuters are all too familiar with.  Click here for more.

Mural magician

Even if you don’t have the need of a coin operated laundry facility, a trip to this Toronto institution is akin to a trip down Toronto’s memory lane.  With nods to the who’s who of Toronto, the city’s landmarks and childhood media memorabilia, the wall art in this laundromat landmark is worth the cost of the wash and spin dry.  Check out the story here and then check out the locale there.

Aanin – Welcome!

A beautiful new community center in Markham opened its doors on Family Day weekend to the delight of the city’s residents.   This 125,000 sq ft facility boasts amenities for every resident, young and old.  From a library to a decked out gym, a playground, aquatic centre, teaching kitchen and beautiful areas to sit and chill, this multi-million dollar complex has something for everyone.   Paying homage to the indigenous culture in the region, the name,  Aanin (meaning Welcome) Community Centre and Library is a welcome addition to this thriving city.   Check it out here.

 

Privacy Concerns at Quayside Waterfront Project

A public consultation held on March 20th for the proposed high-tech district planned for the port lands, saw hundreds of people in attendance.  The primary concern for those in attendance, was how the data that would be collected by sensors monitoring and controlling everything in the vicinity would be used.  Privacy concerns such as if the data would be sold and/or used for advertising purposes went unanswered as attendees were told the agencies in question are still in the negotiating process.

The Google-affiliated company, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto co-hosted the public consultation and pledged that residents in the Quayside district proposed for the former industrial site located at Queens Quay and Parliament Street, would need to feel “comfortable and respected” and would not be monitored for the wrong reasons.

In light of the recent Facebook scandal where it is alleged that the personal data of millions of Americans was harvested without their authorization by an outside company for the purpose of targeting voters during the 2016 campaign, residents have valid cause for concern.  Unfortunately, their unease over these matters was not lessened at this public consultation.

Planning is in full swing with the City of Toronto’s examination and studies on the effect of building a light rail network across Toronto’s waterfront.   The estimated price tag for this transit addition is in the $2-billion range.  In addition, Sidewalk Labs is spending $50 million on preliminary work including consultations, showing strong commitment to the project and its strategic outcome.    Plans are not expected to be completed until 2019 however Sidewalk Toronto announced that it will be opening an office and exhibit space near the Quayside site which will be open to the public sometime this summer.  For more information on the Sidewalk Waterfront project, click here 

 

Public Space Incubator

Despite great strides being made in developing unused outdoor urban spaces into entertaining and useful entities (the Bentway, Sugar Beach, the revitalization of Ontario Place to name a few), there are still copious amounts of neglected public spaces itching for a facelift.  Every neighbourhood in every part of the city has a park, lane-way, vacant yard or other urban space in need of  a creative solution to draw the neighbourhood in and breathe life into the area.

Public Space Incubator, (administered by the Park People Organization) are offering the chance for anyone with an innovative and creative plan to apply for funding and the chance to transform an under-utilized, outdoor urban space into a vibrant, creative public space.

There are 2 separate funding rounds, one in 2018 and one in 2019 with up to a maximum of $50,000 funding per awarded project (5 projects will be awarded in each year).  Stage one  requires a letter of intent and must be submitted no later than March 29, 2018 for consideration.  For more information on this ambitious and insightful initiative, read more here

 

 

Bringing up the rear

In a recent blog article,  Brandon Donnelly  makes the correlation of the “rear houses” of yesterday to the lane houses of today. Last year at this time, we did an article for our  blog entitled “Laneway Reinvention” which spoke to the benefits for both landlord and tenant alike, should the city start allowing more of these builds to occur.    The need for affordable housing has transcended generations and is as relevant today as it was in the early 1900’s.  As Brandon’s article surmises, is it possible that the mindset of the 1900’s rear houses which rapidly declined into slums has a bearing on why the city tends to look unfavourably at resurrecting this ingenious use of space.    Perhaps it is time the city took a more modern day look at the benefits this type of affordable housing could play out in the Toronto of today.  Click here to read more.

 

Building the city’s resilience.

Extreme weather and an ever-growing rental housing shortage top the list of Toronto’s greatest challenges according to Elliot Cappell, the city’s chief resilience officer.  Speaking at a recent Urban Land Conference, Cappell spoke openly on the reality of our rising waters as well as our declining low/middle income housing.  He paints a bleak picture of the ongoing battle to re-develop the 1,189 apartment complexes built before 1985, into livable and affordable rental space.

Mr. Cappell expressed equal concern over the urgency of pro-actively implementing a flood prevention strategy to safeguard the city from catastrophic flooding. These are real-time issues given the massive flooding of last summer and the critical housing shortage that has woven itself into the very fabric of our city.

Both issues present an uphill climb with enormous financial commitments which will require private and public-sector participation in order to implement and maintain.  Click here to read more on Mr. Cappell’s challenges as he leads the charge on these two looming concerns.

 

The Toronto/Manhattan connection

Toronto has often been referred to as “New York North”, as our city expands and swells on economic, social and cultural fronts and the cost to the consumer rises to a New York standard.   However, Neil Sharma of Canadian Real Estate Magazine, points out that the term might actually have more to do with “how people live than how much they pay”.  This is an interesting read on owners vs renters and the tilted balance of the two.  Click here to read the article.

 

The War Against Hostile Architecture

Also known as Defensive Urban Design,  this form of architecture has been around for decades.  As more applications are utilized in our modern day society, many feel that the design element, and those responsible for commissioning them have gone too far.   Primarily used for property protection and crime prevention, certain design elements target humans and even animals, subliminally removing them from areas with discreet design maneuvers.  More often than not, they go unnoticed and therefore unchallenged.

However, a  movement against these hostile architectural elements is afoot across the globe with many viewpoints, both pro and con.  Click  here to read more on this controversial subject.

Wading through the permit process

Following up on last week’s article on the fines and penalties that could be incurred when starting work before having the necessary permits in place, many people are wondering whether their specific renovation is subject to the permit process or not.   We have attached a link to the City of Toronto website which includes a fairly comprehensive list of which projects can and which can not be undertaken without securing the necessary permits.  The list should be used as a guide only as it is not completely inclusive.

Still not certain?  Contact Grove Inc., and we will be happy to help guide you through the process and the paperwork involved in obtaining the proper permits for your unique renovation/new build project.  Click here for information from the City of Toronto’s “when do I need a building permit?”

 

Quite a Riot

With the city’s outdoor ice rinks taking a hit weather-wise this week, why not take a walk on the beach instead.  The annual Winter Stations Design Competition is currently underway at Woodbine Beach and makes for an interesting day by the water.  This year’s theme is “Riot” and those chosen to participate in turning seven lifeguard stations into temporary art installations, will be exhibiting their work from now until April 1st.  For more information on the event, click here