Rising to the occasion

The Real Estate News Exchange reports two joint venture developments are being proposed for the city, which would provide much needed affordable rental housing in the years to come.   The first is Waterfront Toronto Quayside located in the West Don Lands area close to the Distillery District, and will be home to 1500 rental and retail units.  Initial occupancy is slated for 2021.

The second development will be located in the Yonge/College area within walking distance of the College TTC subway station.   It is proposed to have a total of 700 units of which 30% will be designated for affordable rental housing for a minimum of 40 years.  However, the purchase of this land is still in the process and not expected to close until 2019.  Find more information on the projects and the developers involved here

Update on the Bentway

Riding on the heels of the very successful Bentway Winter Skating park, the City of Toronto is gearing up for an equally entertaining summer under the Gardiner.   The Bentway Summer Bash and other outdoor events to be announced in the next few weeks, will extend this new community venue’s accessibility and usage throughout the year.  A number of art installations and music events are planned throughout the summer months.   For more info check out the Bentway or click here for information from Blog.to.

Doors Open

Be sure to save the date for this year’s Doors Open Toronto, happening May 26th – May 27th.  This year’s theme,  Film:  The Great Romance opens the doors, to beautiful vintage cinemas,  film and TV sound studios, and various locations where scenes have been shot for the big screen and for television alike.  These venues are not typically open to the public, so here’s a great chance to take a peek behind the scenes.  For a list of the Doors Open Toronto Building List, click here.


Wellington West

Developers are seeking the city’s approval to build a number of high-rise buildings in this traditionally mid-rise neighbourhood.  The city’s resolution to allow construction of buildings no higher than 45 meters along Wellington between Portland and Spadina is being challenged by some developers at the OMB.  Some feel that the pending dissolution of the OMB to make way for a new less developer-friendly board  may be the catalyst in the rush to have applications on the table before it happens.

At least 6 proposals for buildings ranging from 55 – 78 metres – well in excess of the allowable 45 meters –  are up for review.  Some residents and business owners are concerned over how these proposed buildings will impact the neighbourhood and question why the city would consider changing the current height limitations.  The proposals paint a new face to this traditionally low/mid rise community, that many feel will cast a negative shadow on the heritage designated buildings in the neighborhood.  For more info on what’s proposed, read here

Silver Dollar Room gets a new lease on life.

Plans have been approved for a new luxury rental building to go up over the legendary Silver Dollar Room at 484 Spadina.  The new plans are being heralded as a huge improvement over the earlier proposal which would have seen a 20 storey rental building targeting students and offering shared living and kitchen accommodations.    Opposition was mounted against the original plan by those who felt it was not befitting the location or the heritage designation bestowed upon this historic landmark.

The site has now been acquired by Fitzrovia Real Estate Inc. who has named the project The Waverley as a nod to the hotel that had previously occupied the site.  The building will be home to 190 Class A rental units and will boast condo quality finishes and appliances, as well as accommodating a  refurbished Silver Dollar Room at street level.

For more information on the project, click here.


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. 


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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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.