These are some of the newest additions to the cities rapidly changing skyline. When it comes to choosing a condo in Toronto it's all about finding the right neighbourhood.
No building is closer to the vibrant downtown Toronto cultural scene than the SQ—the building sits at the center of the most vital neighbourhood in the city. As the first building to go up as part of the long-term Alexandra Park re-development, it's kind of a big deal.
Alexandra Park is one of Canada's oldest community housing projects. Built in the 1960s squat brown, utilitarian boxes that looked like bunkers, it housed the poorest of the poor. When the crack epidemic burned through the area in the 1980s, the neighbourhood became an urban hell home to warring drug gangs. Now, a couple decades on, Alexandra Park is recovering.
A major redevelopment of the neighbourhood saw the first chunk of the old buildings torn down two years ago. More than a half-dozen new market-rate condos will eventually go up on the site. The SQ is the first and is now nearing completion, and the re-development has been done right.
The new housing has helped pay for upgrades to the infrastructure which low-income residents use, and there will be new and renovated units for these residents as well. The redeveloped neighbourhood will also be opened up to the surrounding neighbourhood again.
When Alexandra Park was built, the streets were closed off creating an inner warren of winding, dark and confusing walkways that were impenetrable to outsiders. Today, the old street network is being reintroduced. The neighbourhood will be accessible again.
A whole new region of the Queen and Spadina area emerges. To the east of the building, Spadina runs through a vibrant Chinatown and the University of Toronto. The 19th century industrial buildings along the street once housed a garment manufacturing district, now contain architect and design firms. A significant chunk of the editorial offices of Canadian magazine industry can be found in the neighbourhood. The area is also known as a fashion district, as there are still textile shops, sewers and upscale fashion designs in the area. Queen street runs just south of the building.
The 1980s alternative music scene in the city was birthed at the Cameron House. Avant-garde drama house, Theatre Passe Muraille is also in the neighbourhood. The Canadian comedy troupe, Kids in the Hall, started at a place down the street. At the corner of Spadina and Queen is the Horseshoe Ave, one of two venues in North America that has hosted all three Hank Williams and is part of famous lyric by Canada's favourite national band, the Tragically Hip.
Just north of Alexandra Park is tge proudly independent, quirky Kensington market. You'll run into local DJs and musicians at the city's premier electronic music gear shops in the area. You really can't live any closer to the Toronto art, music and cultural scenes.
Amenities: Fully-equipped cardio and weight room, yoga studio, whirlpool spa, party room, catering kitchen and bar, private dining room with a fireplace, theatre room, roof topmlounge with BBQs, outdoor whirlpool and sundeck.
2. Art Shoppe Lofts and Condos
This saucy, young thing is going up at the mid-town intersection of Yonge and Eglinton. The area has traditionally been a place for young well-off Torontonians from Richmond Hill looking for a first place to live. And so the area has always been known as, "young and eligible". Today, the neighborhood is busier than ever.
Between 2006 and 2011 the population increased 20 per cent as the millennials took up an urban living lifestyle. In keeping with this youthful demographic this building and its sister construct, 150 Redpath, have put the accent on true city living.
Fashion superstar Karl Lagerfeld lent his name to the project and contributed some of the design. When the fashion icon showed up at a sales event, the crowd jammed the room. But then, its is the design that counts for the generation that will be inhabiting the tower. Keeping with the youthful image, the sister building at 150 Redpath will be "the first 24-hour lifestyle condo featuring a pool, fitness facilities, a bar lounge, a 24-hour diner, and a spa in-house."
Price: low 200,000s
Amenities: Kids club, wine tasting room, juice bar,multiple guest suites. A parking spot will put you back $55,000, an extra storage locker $5,000.
3. The Clover
Cresford Developments is putting up this building on Yonge Street just north of Wellesley, in the heart of downtown. The Wellesley subway station is nearby. The tower is equidistant between the 'gayborhood' around Church and Wellesley and the University of Toronto.
Everything else in the central core, Ryerson University, the Eaton's Center, Dundas Square, the Ontario Legislature, are just a short distance away. No wonder the building garners a "walking score" of 99 out of 100. It's as good as it gets if you're looking to get rid of your car and truly live the downtown urban life.
The views from the Clover
Price: Units start at $199,000.
Amenities: Even though it's in the heart of the downtown there are three parksclose by. Cafe’s and restaurants will line the base of the building.
There are six hundred units in a 40-storey building. Expected move-indate, 2018.
4. Daniels Waterfront Lighthouse Tower
When Toronto hosted the Pan Am games last year, the city had to build housing for the athletes. After the games those buildings were updated to condos and sold off. Now the entire area is blossoming into a brand new neighbourhood. Just to the east of the downtown, this is the largest, latest area to be redeveloped. The old portlands are being cleaned up. The North by Northeast Festival, a sister fest to the famous South by Southwest music festival, recently made the portlands its new home.
Also close by is the old Hearn generating station, which was once a coal plant. The government shut it down a decade ago. It has sat empty until a large arts festival known as Luminato used it stage many events this year. The talk now is about turning the Hearn into a headquarters for the festival in a manner similar to how Battersea power station in London, England was turned into the Tate Modern gallery. The Daniels Waterfront Lighthouse tower will be a part of this arts-focused redevelopment.
The building replaces a former club complex known as the Guvernment, which is where global DJ superstar Deadmau5 got his start. That building was torn down last year. This condo will replace it and it is already being billed as a mixed-use arts hub.
Phase One includes a 45-storey designed by Giannone Petricone Associates Inc. And the best part about this building? The view of downtown is amazing. The Toronto Islands are a short kayak paddle away.
The city is also redeveloping the flood plain for the Don River, which sometimes floods. To do this the city is creating a huge park that will help control the water, but will mostly just be a huge park in a new neighborhood that will be right on the lake.
Price: units start at $279,000.
Amenities: 24-hour concierge and a resident "service director for onsite customer service". According to ad copy the west face of the building will boast a unique water drop, ripple-effect" across the entire facade.
5. Art Condos
Located at 8 Dovercourt Road, this building is just a block south of hyper-trendy West Queen West. Vogue magazine recently named the area the second coolest neighborhood in the world. Deep in the always-active west end, the Drake Hotel is nearby. So is the newly-renovated Great Hall. The wonderfully restored Gladstone Hotel is just down the road.
Some of the best shopping can be found along this stretch of Queen. There are great independent coffee shops, art galleries, art supply stores and restaurants in the area. Getting home is never a problem. The 501 Queen Street car line, which runs twenty four hours a day all year is also nearby.
ART Condominiums Model Condo
Price: $365,000–$1 million
Amenities: There is an event space built into the former loading dock. Screens near the elevators rotate through a display of more than 5,000 works of art. The Drake Hotel’s designers did the interiors. There is also a gym, hot tub, movie theatre, rooftop courtyard and bar. Parking spots are an extra $35,000.
Another new neighborhood just now coming into existence is Bayside. Part of the portlands redevelopment, this site is located on Toronto’s inner harbour. The new neighbourhood will be tucked in between a new large park space, Sherboure Common, and an old dock site, the Parliament Slip to the east. This entire area is being redeveloped over decades by Waterfront Toronto. Helping out in the case of Bayside is the global real-estate firm, Hines.
The underutilized industrial area which is being master-planned by Hines, will become a thriving, mixed use neighbourhood that will link into a new biking trail along the waterfront. Plans include mews (walkways) between buildings and small streets to promote a sense of closeness and community. All-in some two million square feet of residential, employment, cultural and commercial space will be developed with through the investment of some $910 million in funding.
The Aquabella is the third and most luxurious of the three buildingst that will go up here. Hovering right at the water’s edge units, it will feature large terraces that overlook the skyline, the inner harbour and the Toronto Islands.
For a long time Toronto has been separated from the lake shore by railways and expressways. The redevelopment of the entire waterfront is reconnecting the city with the lake and this development is an exciting part of this much-needed development.
Amenities: Entertaining spaces and fitness centre, rooftop terrace with indoor lounge, outdoor infinity pool, sun deck lounge area, BBQ dining alcoves.
7. Wallace Walk
This building will be part of the recently-gentrified neighbourhood known as the Junction. As the older neighbourhoods closer to the core become too expensive for younger buyers, many millennials have chosen the Junction as their home. There are new bright and lively bars, vegan grocery stores and film and computer repair stores, catering to the many film industry types in the area.
The area has a certain roguish charm. It's called the Junction because this is where the two original rail lines coming into the city meet. Often the trains were carrying hogs and steers from out west, and so there were many abattoirs and butchers for new immigrants just off the boat from eastern Europe to work at. It is no surprise that Canada's greatest boxer George Chuvallo, the only fighter to go sixteen rounds with Muhammed Ali, grew up here carrying frozen sides of beef for a living.
The new condo project is a "stacked townhouse" type that will include family-friendly, three-bedroom units, which are not common in most condos today. Most condos only have units for singles and couples. Urban planning officials have been pushing for more family-friendly condo units as Toronto goes through an epic one-time densification. This project understands this.
The neighbourhood itself is what you might call Boho chic. The politics here are progressive, local, eco-minded. So it's no wonder the Junction neighbourhood association demanded that the developer includes a daycare in this project. In a city rapidly taking up a more vertical living style, these are the amenities residents are going to need in years to come.
Amenities: Parking spot included. Monthlycondo fees are relatively low. The project has 167 units at anaverage size of 1,000 sq. ft.
8. 60 Howard Park Ave
This developer got a prime piece of real estate on one of the most definitive, family-friendly Toronto neighbourhoods. This is the place for those looking for a chill and mature west-end lifestyle. The project runs along Roncesvalle Avenue, which is on the far west side of the downtown core. The city's premier park, High Park, is nearby. But it's Roncesvalles that is the attraction.
The area was heavily populated by Polish immigrants in the post-war era, and that culture is still very alive and well. You can pick-up great Polish deli and pickles here. Old polish women dressed all in black still leave candles and flowers in front of the stature of Pope John Paul II. There is also a great library, dedicated bikes lanes along the street, and a lower traffic density than many other neighbourhoods. It's pricey these days. But there are lots of families, kids and dogs.
There are several good music schools that cater to children in the area. Local bars support the city's jazz, blues and indie music scenes. Shakespeare in the Park happens nearby every summer. The lake is at the end of the street. The big Polish festival every fall is also a treat. It is arguably the arch-type of the tight-knit local neighbourhood that Toronto is famous for.
Price: $284,900–$1.38 million
Amenities: Gym, yoga studio, party rooms,dog spa station, barbeques. A parking spot will cost you $33,500. Average unit size is 821 sq. ft. According to the developer the, "highest three floors are covered in cascading ivy walls, which grow out of the building’s 'perforated skin.' Rare for a Toronto mid-rise, this building is heated and cooled by geothermal pump, which will keep hydro bills down. The top floors have views of High Park and the lake".
9. YC Condos
This development is for those looking for a sophisticated urban lifestyle. The 66-storey glass-wrapped tower will be located at the central intersection of Yonge & College. A Canderel Residential project this tower is part of the redevelopment around College Park, a downtown landmark heritage building.
According to the developers the infinity pool on the 66th floor will be the one of the highest pools in the western hemisphere and will feature an astounding view that looks south over the downtown core. If this sounds like a scene out of a video by Toronto R&B singing sensation The Weeknd, you're getting it.
YC Condos North View
The pool is said to be inspired by "high-end aqua lounges like Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and the Ritz Carlton in Shangai Pudong". The ultimate in downtown condo living may be had in the luxury residences that will occupy the 59th to the 63rd floor and the 'Skyloft Penthouses' on the 64th and 65th floor.
These "one-of-a-kind residences offer panoramic and unobstructed views, sleek gourmet kitchens, gorgeous ensuites, and generous wrap around balconies," according to the developer.
Amenities: Residents will be able to monitor the status of their home and control features from a mobile device developed by Samsung. This new level of in-suite home automation is said to be the first of its kind in Canada. Aqua 66 will be the name of the indoor rooftop pool and lounge. Expected move-in date is 2018.
10. 1 Yorkville
Bazis International is developing this project in the tony, luxury neighborhood of Yorkville. Sure, way back in the '60s Yorkville was where hippies like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell got their start. But then the hippies got rich by the '80s, and now Yorkville is what the millennials might call bourgie.
The Mink Mile Shopping strip that runs along Bloor Street West is around the corner, and features luxury brand outlets of the kind you find on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. When Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were in town recently they shopped in Yorkville. Toronto hip-hop sensation Drake likes to eat at the local Italian place.
Yorkville 1 Pools
Price: Units range from $487,000 to$2,900,000.
Amenities: No expense have been spared on this building. According to the developer, "The outdoor space feature some of the most incredible views of Toronto in all directions and the rooftop also features party rooms, multi-media lounge, fire pits and an outdoor theatre". Expected completion date is 2018.