Tag Archives: 357 King West Condo

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How to create a stunning, guest-friendly condo

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How to create a stunning, guest-friendly condo

• Photography By Colin Perry

Choosing your finishes is a joyful rite of passage when buying a new condo – the first step in putting a personal stamp on a new home. But what if the finishes have been chosen for you? Or worse, were chosen by the builder 25 years ago?

guest bedroom decor
With the warm hues of its brass-toned bedside table and straw-coloured accent pillows, the guest bedroom is a cheery retreat on Vancouver’s gloomier days.

When this homeowner finally found the perfect condo – after months of hunting for a three-bedroom, two-bath place, as elusive as a four-leaf clover in Vancouver’s frenzied market – she was faced with positively uninspiring decor. The finishes were bland, the bathrooms were dated, and the galley kitchen was “claustrophobic.”

plush living room
Wrapped in a moody navy wallpaper with a plush, muted yellow rug underfoot, the TV room is a snug antidote to the brighter, more spacious rooms. Gold sconces and side tables balance the blue and elevate the look.

A GUIDING LIGHT

While she was downsizing from a much larger home, she was intent on embracing a new esthetic in her new nest. So when she tapped seasoned Vancouver designer Negar Reihani to help take the 1,100-sq.-ft. Yaletown apartment from drab to dazzling, the dossier was slim, and there was no existing furniture to work with. “She gave me very little. She showed me some pictures, and that was it,” Reihani recalls. “She said, ‘Imagine this is your own home; treat it and design it the way you would do for yourself.’ She gave me carte blanche, then left the country for six months.” Every designer’s dream client, right? Not entirely. “It’s a major responsibility and comes with a lot of stress.”

dining room
Pale wood floors set a Nordic tone in the dining room, especially when paired with gallery-white walls, but an interplay of materials and textures–from lush Bianco Carrara marble to silky charcoal velvet to artwork in the rich golds of a Klimt masterpiece-build a rich, complex look. The demure pedestal table and gently curving chairs have simple but sophisticated lines.

The goals for the condo were two-fold: imbue it with a bright, welcoming transitional style, and make it work for the homeowner’s frequent entertaining and overnight guests. “When family visits from Iran, she can host them here,” she says. “And with her background, you usually have more people when you entertain.” The designer deftly skirted the form-versus-function dichotomy by building in piles of storage while maintaining the innate airiness of the surprisingly ample rooms and brightening them up with fresh finishes and furniture.

CHARACTER BUILDER

“She was coming from a large, single-family home on two acres of land in Iran where she raised her children,” Reihani says. “Her old home was very classic, with lots of antiques and rugs. But a house is a lot of maintenance, and at her age, it becomes more difficult. So, here in Vancouver, she wanted her home to be modern and elegant with none of the care and upkeep she worried about before.”

The quietly luxe galley kitchen is a lesson in artfully reimagining this drab condo stalwart. New MDF cabinet doors are budget-friendly, but look elegant painted out in “a colour between moss and warm taupe.” An undermounted sink and integrated stovetop are suitably low-key.

The decorating, too, would be a departure. “She wanted light blues and greens, colours that make you happy in Vancouver’s grey weather. A mix of modern, with some classic touches – pretty simple, pretty modern.” To keep the look from feeling one-dimensional, Reihani incorporated elements – like the brushed-brass accents and moodier artwork—that reference older, more traditional or more opulent styles. Pale-wood flooring installed throughout the home updates the look.

Kitchen
Brains and beauty: with the fridge and oven relocated to the adjacent hallway clearing up much neede prep space, the new finishes add elegance, while maintaining the home’s understated esthetic.

WHAT’S COOKING

Opening up the tiny, closed-in kitchen – the project’s biggest challenge – meant refinishing it with a light, elegant touch. Now fully visible from the dining room and den, the overhauled space had to be stylish. “The trick was to keep things sleek,” Reihani says. She replaced aged cabinet doors with simple MDF ones painted in mossy taupe. Laminate counters were swapped out in favour of stretches of cool Bianco Carrara marble. On the rear wall, upper cabinets fronted in back-painted glass are lushly framed in a crisp box of marble. “The marble box creates visual interest and movement, and the glass panelling has sparkle, so it makes the kitchen look more spacious.” Reihani also panelled the inside surfaces of the pillar and thin bulkhead (essential for the plumbing and structural support) in mirror, so they all but disappear.

living room
The living room has an ethereal quality, with white walls (subtly downlit by recessed lights set into “light boxes”) and textiles in muted pinks, blues and whites. A clever window seat stretches the width of the room designed to seat a crowd during the homeowner’s requent parties; an open base keeps the look light and the drawers below amp up storage space.

Of course, looks weren’t everything: the space had to have brains, too. “She’s an older lady and she likes to cook,” she says. To boost cooking space and function, Reihani pulled the fridge and stove out of the tiny galley space, packing those plus a full-height pantry cupboard and more storage into repurposed closets along the adjacent hallway, and freeing up space for cooking and storage in the kitchen.

BUDGET-FRIENDLY CUSTOM TOUCHES

To keep the reno budget manageable, Reihani didn’t radically alter the structural elements. She left the narrow column in place for support, and it also houses the kitchen’s pipes and drains. “I didn’t touch the plumbing,” she says. She hid the outer support wall inside the cabinet. “By extending the materials from the cabinets, I made it look more custom.”

guest bathroom
In the guest bath, the vanity is framed in a tidy white box of stone. The granite composite surface amps up the light around the mirror for applying makeup or shaving. Expanses of storage make it easy for the owner to keep living spaces clear of clutter.

Reihani had equal aplomb when tackling the dull-as-dishwater bathrooms. In the master bath, she focused her redesign on a long, lean display shelf that runs the length of the room, right into the glass-walled shower, for a look that’s crisp and architectural. The guest bath riffs on the kitchen design, with its vanity area boxed in in sheets of quartz composite.

The reimagined bathroom design hinges on a striking but simple display shelf that’s stretched all the way along on wall – right into the shower. Effectively a decorative move, it looks integral and architectural, giving the space a thoroughly custom esthetic.

When she started thinking about the condo as she would her own, Reihani developed a long list of alterations for the home. But, of course, all good things must come to an end. “I would have done wallpaper in the master bedroom to give it that extra layer, and upgraded the closet doors in the bedrooms. But you have to spend your budget where it’s most visible and always keep resale in mind as well,” Reihani says. “You have to create changes that will stay relevant. By that token, the bedrooms are usually last.”

master bedroom
The master bedroom is a serene retreat rendered in a tranquil palette of off-whites and blues. To boost ambience throughout the condo, Negar brought in layers of light, including innovative “light boxes” she fitted with recessed lights on dimmers along the edges of the ceiling.

In the end, the homeowner never got to choose her own finishes – that pleasure went to the designer. Nonetheless, she has gained a bright and charming new home base that’s a perfect launchpad for the next phase of her life. And as for the personal stamp… she’ll have to make that mark through memories she creates hosting guests overnight, and throwing parties for her friends, children and grandchildren.

Katie Hayden
Katie Hayden

SOURCES

INTERIOR DESIGN by Negar Reihani, CONSTRUCTION, FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS, Space Harmony; WOOD FLOORING, Floor House; PAINT, Pure White by Sherwin-Williams. LIVING ROOM: CUSTOM SOFA, Space Harmony; SIDEBOARD, Nuevo Living; SIDE TABLE, Suquet; POUFS, HomeSense; COFFEE TABLE, Jonathan Adler; BENCH FABRICS, Brentano. DINING ROOM: TABLE, Suquet; CHAIRS, CHANDELIER, LH Imports; ARTWORK (behind dining table) by Caro (caro-paint. com). KITCHEN: CABINETRY COMPANY, BACK-PAINTED GLASS, Modaa Kitchen; COUNTERTOPS, MARBLE BACKSPLASHES, Alpine Countertops; DRAWER PULLS, Atlas Homewear. DEN: WALLPAPER, Hygge & West; CUSTOM SOFA, Space Harmony; TABLES, West Elm; RUG, Surya (surya.com); MIRROR, The Home Depot; WALL SCONCE, Aerin; large PLANT in basket, HomeSense. MASTER BEDROOM: BED, COVERLET, West Elm; BEDDING, HomeSense; WALL SCONCES, Aerin; SIDE TABLE, CB2; ARTWORK by Negar Reihani, Space Harmony. ENSUITE BATHROOM: MARBLE FOR WALLS, FLOOR TILE, Creekside Tile; GLASS FOR SHOWER WALLS, Universal Supply; CABINETRY MANUFACTURER, Modaa Kitchen; TOILET, SINK, FAUCETS, TAPS, SHOWER HEAD, Universal Supply; DRAWER PULLS, Atlas; COUNTERTOP, Alpine Countertop. GUEST BEDROOM: BED, SIDE TABLE, BEDSPREAD, West Elm; WALL SCONCE, Aerin; PLANTS (on bedside table), HomeSense. GUEST BATHROOM: MARBLE FOR WALLS, FLOOR TILE, Creekside Tile; GLASS FOR SHOWER WALLS, Universal Supply; CABINETRY MANUFACTURER, Modaa Kitchen; TOILET, SINK, FAUCETS, TAPS, SHOWER HEAD, Universal Supply; DRAWER PULLS, Atlas; COUNTERTOP, Alpine Countertop.

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Condo TO web

GTA condo sales and prices hit record levels

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GTA condo sales and prices hit record levels

Condo TO web

With home prices seemingly forever on the rise, there is only one way for many GTA homebuyers to go – up, as in into highrise condos and other multi-family housing options.

Fueled largely by affordability – and the lack thereof in lowrise homes – resale condominium apartments and townhomes in the GTA now represents almost 37 per cent of total residential sales by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), up from 30 per cent in 2013, according to a new report by ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region.

ReMax report

Momentum has also been reflected in resale condominium values, which is the only property segment that held up against the 2017 market correction, ReMax says.

The average price of a condominium unit increased almost eight per cent to $551,761 between January and October 2018, up from $512,552 during the same period in 2017.

Townhomes were slightly ahead of last year’s pace, with values hovering at $571,058, compared to $568,165 in 2017. Prices of freehold properties, including single-detached, semi-detached, attached/row/townhouse and linked townhomes are all down year-over-year.

AFFORDABILITY KEY ATTRACTION

“The condominium lifestyle continues to resonate with buyers in the Greater Toronto Area for a number of reasons,” says Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president and regional director, ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region. “While the affordability aspect is first and foremost, we’ve also a seen strong investor presence in recent years.”

Alexander cites a recent report by Urbanation and CIBC, which found that investors who bought condominiums for the purpose of renting accounted for 48 per cent of all newly completed units in the GTA in 2017. “The income potential, given today’s tight rental market, in addition to the overall return on investment, has been a serious draw for real estate investors.”

Immigration, population growth and lifestyle choices have also contributed to the uptick in demand for condo apartments and townhomes. Aging infrastructure, combined with a lack of transportation alternatives, longer commute times and the environmental component – with efforts to reduce carbon footprint – have all played a role in buyers choosing condominiums in Toronto proper that are close to both work and play, Alexander says.

DOWNTOWN THE CHOICE LOCATION

The most popular area for condominium sales remains the downtown core, with one in every five condominiums (21.9 per cent) sold in the area bordered by Bloor Street to the north, the lakeshore to the south, the Don Valley Parkway to the east and just past Dovercourt Road in the west.

“In spite of a proliferation of condominium developments over the past decade, supply and demand issues continue to persist in the core,” says Alexander. “Limited inventory continues to place substantial upward pressure on prices, with fewer affordable housing options available– and that includes condominium rentals.”

Average resale prices hover at $700,000 for condo units, with new construction closing in on $1,000 per sq. ft.

PROXIMITY TO TRANSIT

“Higher prices in the core are prompting buyers to consider condominium communities farther afield,” says Alexander. “New construction along subway lines to the north, east and west are exceptionally popular, especially with first-time buyers. Yonge Street north of Hwy. 401 comes to mind, as well as the Sheppard line between Bayview Avenue and Leslie Street. Combined, these two areas represent approximately 10 per cent of total resale condominium sales to date and continue to experience growth.”

Mississauga is the GTA’s second most popular destination for condominium living, accounting for 14 per cent of condominium sales so far this year.

Almost 51 per cent of condominium sales in the GTA occur under the $500,000 price point, but affordability is being threatened as builders and developers face skyrocketing construction costs and a land crunch within the GTA, and struggle to maintain the status quo, ReMax says.

“The necessity to ‘build up’ has never been more prevalent in a city that has seen its population climb from one census to the next,” says Alexander. “To prevent the run-up we’ve seen in housing values in the past, all levels of government must work together with developers to streamline the building process. We need to create more affordable GTA housing options that can accommodate buyers and renters at every price point.”

THE TOWNHOME OPTION

These trends generally align with the findings of another report, from Altus Group. Lack of affordability and availability of single-family new homes has buyers increasingly looking to townhomes as a lowrise home option. But supply issues in this category have seen new townhouse sales plummet in the past two years, in both absolute terms and as a percentage of total new home sales – just seven per cent of the total in the first half of 2018.

RELATED READING

New condos in Toronto hit record high in prices

Vast majority of GTA Millennials fear buying a home is out of reach, poll says

7 factors that will affect GTA housing in 2019 – and 5 reasons to consider buying NOW

5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

 

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How to host Christmas dinner in your condo – for cheap!

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How to host Christmas dinner in your condo – for cheap!

One of the biggest challenges condo owners face is lack of space. Many who choose condo living do so to minimize maintenance costs and live close to where they work and play. That often means a smaller unit where every single square inch has a purpose. For day-to-day living this is an excellent solution, but for hosting a large gathering it can be challenging. With Christmas coming up condo owners might feel like their only choice is to attend a party at a larger home, but with some careful planning, you too you can host a great party in your home and not break the bank.

Book the party room

The easiest and most obvious choice is to book your condominium party room. Most of these spaces come with food prep rooms, a lounge area and of course a spacious place to seat all your guests. With only a few weeks before the holidays the best dates may be gone already, but inquire about Christmas 2019. Maybe you can book now for the year ahead and let guests know that next year the holiday meal will be hosted by you. As a courtesy let your doorman know your plans to minimize delays of your dinner guests getting in. Go a step further and make signs that lead to the room, as some condo buildings are difficult to navigate.

Rent it

Most condo owners don’t have a table that will seat eight to ten guests. If you’re hosting in your unit look into renting a dining table with chairs. Turn your condo into a restaurant like feel. Move all the unnecessary furniture out of your main space into your bedroom. Leave only the long table and chairs and a few seats for guests to lounge. Keep the focus on the table and encourage guests to claim their seats as they arrive. This way, like a restaurant, they can stand during cocktail time and know there is a seat available right way if they need it. In some cases you can rent a dining set for as low as $200 and this includes set up. Some companies will provide the china and flatware, too.

Pot luck

The easiest way to keep costs (and efforts low) is to make your holiday dinner a potluck. After all if you’re spending money on renting furniture or a party room to accommodate your guests you may already be looking at a few hundred dollars to put on your party. As host commit to making the main dish. Ask your guests to bring dessert and the fixings. Also, for a big Turkey dinner skip the appetizers. When guests arrive already having your first course on the go, like a soup or salad. This will keep guests occupied and save you the hassle and money of making extra appetizers.

Prep

Having a small space means there is little room to do any work once guests arrive. After all you should be talking to them and not stuck in the kitchen. Make all you dishes ahead. In fact, except for dressing the salad, don’t leave anything to the last minute. The joy of holiday cooking is that casseroles and can be cooked ahead and kept warming in the oven.

Saving money

Planning ahead will make sure you don’t blow your budget. Make a list early of what you want to buy, search the flyers to get food ahead of time on sale. Make conscious choices to not cook meals that have complicated ingredients that you’ll have to go out and buy; use what you have at home first. Christmas is about getting together and enjoying a great meal with family and friends. A small space and small budget should not sway you from hosting.

Rubina ahmed-haq is a journalist and personal finance expert. She is HPG’s Finance Editor. She regularly appears on CBC Radio and TV. She is a contributor on CTV Your Morning and Global Toronto. She has a BA from York University, received her post graduate journalism diploma from Humber College and has completed the CSC. Follow her on Twitter @alwayssavemoney.

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Great Gulf 357 King West

Great Gulf breaks ground at 357 King West

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Great Gulf breaks ground at 357 King West

Great Gulf 357 King West
Left to right, Michael McGrath, Niall Collins, Halim Chaccour, Dani Cohen, Alan Vihant, Sheldon Levitt, Mauro Carreno.

by Wayne Karl

Fresh off a huge milestone occasion on Sept. 25 when it won 2018 Builder of the Year at the OHBA Awards of Distinction, Great Gulf had another reason to celebrate this week. On Sept. 27, the company broke ground at 357 King West – a 42-storey condo development in the heart of Toronto’s financial district at the corner of King St. W. and Blue Jays Way.

357 King West is situated in a vibrant neighbourhood with some of the best dining and entertainment options in the city. TIFF is centred in the area, and the Rogers Centre, Scotiabank Arena, CN tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Roy Thompson Hall are all steps away.

NEIGHBOURHOOD EVOLUTION

“With so much dynamism, we created a building that’s adaptable and reflective of this area,” says Niall Collins, president, Great Gulf Residential. “To support the free movement of transit, we’ve minimized parking spaces with one bicycle locker for every bedroom and dedicated 18 spots to car-share which supports a modern transportation strategy.”

“Look around at all the buildings being built and how the neighbourhood is changing and will continue to change,” Alan Vihant, senior vice-president, highrise at Great Gulf, told Homes Publishing. “It’s not just a place to live now. A lot of offices are moving here, the bars and restaurants continue to evolve. It’s a great time to be building down here.”

Vihant
Alan Vihant, senior vice-president, highrise at Great Gulf

Designed by Quadrangle with interiors by Figure 3 and Ferris + Associates Inc. landscape architects, the 324-unit development features one to three-bedroom condo units ranging from 521 to 1,271 sq. ft. Its light-filled third floor comes equipped with a state-of-the-art fitness centre and yoga studio. With many unique features such as bike lockers, parcel pick-up service, meeting rooms and communal workspaces, 357 King West has been designed to enrich the lives of its residents.

The 42nd floor at 357 King West takes entertaining to new heights. From stylish lounges to a private dining room with a well-appointed catering kitchen, it offers a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces perfect for both formal dinners and relaxed gatherings.

INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS

“We’re really excited about this development,” says said Dani Cohen, CEO King Financial Holdings Ltd. “It was initially a challenging site that inspired us to come up with innovative solutions to create a highly desirable and successful location. This is quite an accomplishment which aligns with the City of Toronto’s vision for the future development of King St. West.”

“As we designed this building, we really thought a lot about what’s happening in the area, the King Street streetcar pilot project and how it’s changing how people move around in the city and how we think our residents would like to live,” adds Vihant.

In addition to bike storage for every unit, 357 King West also includes a dedicated bike elevator and a bike wash and repair area. “We’ve really thought a lot about the way our purchasers will live,” Vihant says.

RELATED STORIES

OHBA 2018 Awards of Distinction

Great Gulf to acquire Mirvish+Gehry landmark project

 

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The Great Gulf Great Condo Event

The Great Gulf Great Condo Event

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The Great Gulf Great Condo Event

Great Gulf presents four distinct downtown projects under one roof for a one-stop shopping experience in a convenient location.

For the first time, Great Gulf presents four distinct downtown projects under one roof for a one-stop shopping experience in a convenient location. This extraordinary opportunity showcases Monde, Home, 357 King West and 8 Cumberland for interested buyers to discover their dream condo with 100 suites to choose from designed by award-winning architects.

The six-day public event at 357 King Street West (corner of King Street West and Blue Jays Way) begins Saturday, April 28, 2018 through to Thursday, May 3, 2018 (Saturday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Monday to Thursday 2 to 8 p.m.). Condominium prices start in the low $400,000s with occupancy available as early as winter 2019.

Interested buyers can click here to register in advance.


Monde
12 Bonnycastle Street
Lower Sherbourne Street and Queens Quay East

An enviable lakefront location near the downtown core describes it as among the world’s most desirable waterfront communities. Monde will be the premier 44-storey residence in a new international destination for shopping, entertainment and culture.

The stunning design was conceived by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, his first residential project since the landmark Habitat ’67 in Montreal.

Safdie’s genius is complemented with sleek, custom-design interiors by Cecconi Simone.


8 Cumberland
Yonge Street and Bloor Street West

Designed by architectsAlliance with interiors by Thomas Pearce, a sleek, majestic tower rises above a classical podium; a confluence of heritage and modernity. Located in the heart of Canada’s most prestigious shopping district, 8 Cumberland rises 51 breathtaking storeys above Yorkville at Yonge Street.


Home
48 Power Street
Parliament Street and Adelaide Street East

Home brings the East front and centre, with a striking two-tower community (19 and 22 storeys) at the intersection of culture, creativity and art. At the corner of Power and Adelaide, two towers connect to a shared podium providing a central hub for all residents.

Core Architects and the creative minds at TACT Interiors have delivered great design that transcends typical urban living.


357 King West

King Street West and Blue Jays Way

This King Street condo, with its sky-high condominium, lively restaurants and theatres, trendy stores and offices, is the essential place to live, work and play. At 42 storeys, designed by Quadrangle with interiors by Figure 3, this highly coveted location puts essentials and luxuries within easy reach.


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Neighbourhood Watch: Queen West & King West

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Neighbourhood Watch: Queen West & King West

Housing Options

The condo boom began in the Entertainment District when abandoned warehouses in the area began to be transformed into lofts, or were demolished to make way for condo towers. With the huge increase in residents, there has been a decrease in the number of night clubs, mostly because of the noise and traffic issues associated with those types of venues.

David Mirvish’s two-storey condo complex at the northeast corner of King and John Streets, designed by Frank Gehry, would see the addition of a huge art gallery space. The 92- storey and 82-storey towers will be developed by Great Gulf, which also has 357 King West Condos under development. As well, Robert De Niro’s Nobu Hotel started sales of their first Nobu Condos in the summer and Empire Developments will develop Maverick Condos, a 47- storey condominium at 323 King St West.

Leisure Pursuits

Do you need to ask? The area is called the Entertainment District. Live theatre rules, with the Princess of Wales Theatre, the Royal Alex, Roy Thomson Hall, the Four Seasons Centre, Theatre Passe Muraille and the Factory Theatre. But cinema is also well represented with the TIFF Bell Lightbox and the large complex of movie screens at the Scotiabank Theatre at Richmond and John Streets and the National Film Board of Canada’s home right across the street. Need a laugh? Try an evening at Second City, Yuk Yuk’s or the Forget About It Supper Club.

If you want to stroll the area, check out the stars of Canada’s Walk of Fame along King between Simcoe and John Streets, and on Simcoe south of King. This year’s inductees were Olympic sprinter Donovan Bailey, civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond, actor Anna Paquin, businessman Ted Rogers, scientist and broadcaster David Suzuki, singer/songwriter Stompin’ Tom Connor, and singer/songwriter and Shawn Hook (Allan Slaight Honour).

Parks & Rec

Clarence Square – located where Wellington Street West meets Spadina Avenue – is one of the oldest remaining parks in the downtown core. Although a small area, it is relatively quiet and shady, with many large trees, a spacious grassy area and a fenced in dog park. The Roundhouse Park is 17 acres and features the John Street Roundhouse, a preserved locomotive roundhouse that is home to the Toronto Railway Museum.

Retail Therapy

Shop until you drop into one of the fabulous restaurants, cafés or bars located throughout the district. Although there aren’t any large indoor malls in the area, stores of all kinds are plentiful and range from modest to bespoke.

Queen Street west of Spadina Avenue has some of the highest density of independent and chain stores. But if you want to stay inside, just wander through Toronto’s PATH to find an outstanding array of retail, or head on over to the Eaton Centre.

Easy Access

Subways, streetcars and all-night buses service the area. Union Station is close by, so GO Transit is readily available, as is easy access to the Gardiner Expressway and DVP.

torontoed.com

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