Tag Archives: Gale Beeby

LOCAL FOCUS: Pickering & Ajax

Pickering and Ajax one of the fastest growing areas in Ontario

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Pickering and Ajax one of the fastest growing areas in Ontario

Part of the Durham Region, Pickering and Ajax comprise one of the fastest growing areas in Ontario.

HOUSING OPTIONS

Often considered suburbs of Toronto, most of the housing here is single-family homes. However, the condo craze has arrived and there is a great selection of home types, from historic homes to modern townhouses and condos. But single-family homes are still the norm.

Click here to see a list of homes for sale in Ajax.

Click here to see a list of homes for sale in Pickering.

LEISURE PURSUITS

The Nautical Village, located on Pickering’s waterfront, is a fabulous day away from the hectic grind of modern life. There are many quaint shops, cafés, bakeries and restaurants, as well as a splash pad and park for the kids and beach volleyball courts. A lovely waterfront trail runs along the Frenchman’s Bay and during the summer there are concerts at Millennium Square.

Pickering Museum Village is a unique experience brought to life by “live” pioneers in 18 heritage buildings, including a blacksmith’s shop, general store, schoolhouse, temperance hotel and chapel.

The Pickering Recreation Complex offers a host of activities, including fitness classes, racquetball, squash, swimming and tennis, plus loads of children’s programs.

Pickering and Ajax are home to a number of golf courses, including Glen Cedars, Hawthorne Valley, Seaton Golf, Pickering Golf Club and Watsons’ Glen.

Ajax is home to Ontario’s only quarter horse racetrack, Ajax Downs. The central library, the Ajax Community Centre and the McLean Community Centre offer lots of programs, including swimming, ice skating and arts and crafts workshop.

PARKS & REC

Pickering is home to over 550 acres of open space including over 85 parks, sports fields and trails, as well as three conservation areas. One of the city’s gems is its Lake Ontario waterfront, with about five kilometres of it publicly accessible, three of them beach areas. There are also public areas around Frenchman’s Bay and the Hydro Marsh. Canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, wind surfing and sailing make Pickering a perfect place for water sports enthusiasts.

Conservation areas including Petticoat Creek, Claremont Conservation Area and Greenwood Conservation Area, are operated by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

Ajax also has an expansive system of cycling and walking trails totally 74 kilometres. Veterans’ Point Garden commemorates the town’s history and is dedicated to the HMS Ajax, the DIL Plant and the employees who lived in Ajax during the World War II.

RETAIL THERAPY

Pickering has a number of shopping opportunities, including the shops, restaurants and cafés located in its quaint downtown. The Pickering Town Centre has over 200 shops and services and big box stores can be found at the Brock Power Centre and the Shops at Pickering Ridge. The Durham Centre, located on Highway 2 in Ajax, offers close to 1 million square feet of shopping in a large-scale power centre format.

Pickering Village — an old Quaker Village — is filled with numerous shops, specialty boutiques and gourmet restaurants.

EASY ACCESS

Transit is supplied by Durham Region Transit and GO Transit train and bus service. Highway 401 is the main arterial hub taking drivers west to the DVP or east to Highway 115.

BY THE NUMBERS

Pickering population: 91,770

Ajax population: 119,670

Pickering walk score: 50

Ajax walk score: 47

Pickering.ca

Ajax.ca


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NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: South Core

South Core, one of Toronto’s fastest-growing neighbourhoods

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South Core, one of Toronto’s fastest-growing neighbourhoods

By Gale Beeby

Harbourfront and Fort York – the area known as the South Core – is one of downtown Toronto’s fastest-growing neighbourhoods. It reaches south of the railway tracks to Lake Ontario, and from Yonge Street to Bathurst Street. Perhaps it all started when Concord Adex started developing CityPlace, or when Menkes built the Telus office tower, but the area has blossomed. Move a little farther west, from Bathurst Street to Strachan Avenue, and you’ll find the pocket known as Fort York.

Housing Options

Most of the major players have a piece of the action here. Add in the condo corridor along Harbourfront and the ongoing development of the Fort York neighbourhood, there are units for every taste and budget.

Leisure Pursuits

With both the Rogers Centre and the Air Canada Centre located in the South Core, it’s a sports fans’ wonderland with baseball, basketball, hockey and football – along with the musical treats those venues host – all within walking distance. Toronto’s newest attraction, Ripley’s Aquarium, has become a huge draw, as is the CN Tower.

Parks & Rec

The Harbourfront area is home to a number of marinas, boat charter companies and the Empire Sandy, Toronto’s best-known sailing ship. The Harbourfront Centre holds a number of events throughout the year and has an outdoor winter skating rink. The Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre holds classes for every level, including the newest craze, stand-up paddleboarding.

Canoe Landing Park, 20 acres of parkland developed by Concord Adex in CityPlace, is host to a number of events, including summer movie nights and the Terry Fox Miracle Mile run. The park gets its name from a large red canoe – big enough for people to stand in and see over the Gardiner to Lake Ontario – designed by Douglas Coupland.

Access to the Martin Goodman Trail, which is the Toronto portion of the 730-kilometre Waterfront Trail around Lake Ontario, can be made at a number of points in the area. For those who enjoy sailing, the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the Island Yacht Club and the Toronto Island sailing club are located just across the harbour on the Toronto islands.

The Fort York National Historic Site – built in 1793 and the location where the Battle of York came to an end during the War of 1812 – was the home of a military garrison until the 1930s.

The Music Garden is one of the best-kept secrets in Toronto. Located at the foot of Spadina Avenue, the park offers live music in the summers and has an incredible garden. Just west, at the foot of Bathurst Street, you’ll find Ireland Park, which was opened in 2007 as a memorial to the more than 38,000 Irish immigrants who took refuge from the famine in Toronto in 1847.

Retail Therapy

There are grocery stores in the South Core and Maple Leaf Square, where there is also a LCBO, is connected to the city’s transit and the PATH System, a 27-kilometre underground network of shopping, services and dining outlets. Loblaws is in the process of converting its former warehouse at Bathurst Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West into a new retail centre, including a Joe Fresh and an LCBO.

Easy Access

Maple Leaf Square is connected to Union Station – with TTC and GO Transit connections – through a variety of inter-connected walkways and the PATH System. For those who live along Harbourfront or in the Fort York district, the LRT line along Queens Quay makes access to Union Station a breeze. CityPlace residents can connect to Union Station by the Spadina streetcar or an easy stroll along Front Street. And for those who need to travel farther afield, Toronto Billy Bishop Airport gives residents access to Porter and Air Canada flights to Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, New York, Boston and Chicago, to name a few destinations.

BY THE NUMBERS

WALK SCORES

South Core: 95
Fort York: 89

Toronto motto: Diversity: Our Strength

Toronto.ca


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In conversation with David Bunston, president of Georgian International Land Corp.

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In conversation with David Bunston, president of Georgian International Land Corp.

By Gale Beeby

Georgian International started as a small aeronautics company, founded in part by Jamie Massie and David Bunston. The company has grown since it was founded in 1984 and now Air Georgian operates 19 aircrafts on scheduled passenger and charter flights, is a partner with Air Canada Express and also performs aircraft maintenance, management and training services. Based at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, it is now ranked as its fourth largest user by traffic frequency.

That’s a success story.

And from that storied beginning, Georgian International has taken off with automotive and real estate businesses, as well.

Bunston — who is executive vice president, real estate, for Georgian International, as well as president of Georgian International Land Corporation — has been friends with Massie since they were kids. He also carries a pedigree as a third-generation member of a real estate family.

He’s also a really nice guy.

Georgian’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship — as well as unique designs — has landed Georgian numerous awards, including being awarded the Best New Home Community in Canada by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association for Braestone Estates in Horseshoe Valley in 2016.

Georgian International took a very holistic approach when developing Braestone and the result is a unique. What Georgian calls Remarkables are amenities that have grown naturally out of the community’s own landscape. That includes a 566-acre working farm that includes a fruit orchard, berry patch and Christmas tree farm. Other Remarkables include are horseback riding, Nordic skiing, a maple sugar bush, beehives, a pond that is used for ice skating in the winter, a toboggan hill, a treehouse and a hilltop observatory called Starfall.

Also in development are Windfall at Blue and Mountain House at Windfall, both located in the Town of Blue Mountains.

Q: How did Georgian International move from the aviation industry to real estate?

A: We were well positioned to add real estate development to what we do — there is still a lot of runway left. Aviation is, obviously, a large part of what we do, but real estate is becoming a bigger part of our focus. Jamie Massie and I were childhood friends and over the last 30 years our friendship has evolved into a partnership.

Although I grew up in the GTA, I had a lot of connection to the area of Collingwood and Blue Mountains, where as a family we spent a lot of time. It’s an area that is close to my heart.

Q: Whose idea was the holistic approach to the development of Braestone?

A: It really was a team vision. In the early days we knew we had a unique property and that we could create something remarkable and do something different and capture the imagination of buyers.

Braestone is unique in that it appeals not just to the 705 area, but also the 905. It’s close to the GTA but still remote and we embraced the architectural style of the farmhouses, barns and sheds that are common in Oro-Medonte. Each of the lots are 3/4 to 1 1/4 acres lots.

As exciting as Braestone is, I’m excited by all three of our current projects — Windfall and Mountain House condos, as well.

Q: Who are your buyers?

A: Geographically, most of our buyers don’t see themselves living in this area until they come and see it. It’s a great place and once they experience it, they want to spend the rest of their lives here, and that includes parents, kids and grandparents. The multi-generational aspect of our buyers is quite unique.

There is a great sense of community here and we appeal to those who embrace an active lifestyle. Georgian has continued to keep the management under their banner, and we organize a number of social functions to get residents involved and connected.

We are committed to Simcoe County and Collingwood and the Town of Blue Mountains are our backyard. It is more accessible to the GTA than other resort areas, and there is so much to do — it’s an interesting place to be during all four season.

Q: Do you think that the real estate market is going to slow down?

A: We haven’t seen any pull back in market activity, but here we are still benefitting from the high prices of homes in the GTA, where many people are feeling disenfranchised. Plus the traffic congestion and other issues facing large urban areas and sending people out of the GTA in search of community.

I believe in Simcoe County, its got lots of growth potential and we are well positioned to take advantage and create other remarkable communities.

Q: Georgian is known for its philanthropic endeavours. How does that align with the company’s philosophy?

A: We believe we should invest in the community and the people who support it and not just by writing a cheque. The executive team and our employees are encouraged — and do — volunteer hundreds of hours to community initiatives. We embrace the importance of community and philanthropy.

Portfolio

GeorgianInternational.com

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LOCAL FOCUS: Vaughan

Vaughan now known as ‘The Place To Be’

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Vaughan now known as ‘The Place To Be’

by Gale Beeby

No longer is Vaughan just the city above Toronto, it’s now known as ‘The Place To Be.’

HOUSING OPTIONS

In Vaughan, over 80 per cent of the housing is single-family, detached dwellings, and about 94 per cent of residents own their own home. However, with the province’s Places to Grow policy, Vaughan is seeing a boom of condominium towers along the vibrant Highway 7. Maple, Concord, Kleinburg and Woodbridge are also seeing housing booms, with lots of master-planed communities on offer.

Click here for a full list of developments for sale in Vaughan.

LEISURE PURSUITS

The largest theme park in Canada – Canada’s Wonderland – is in Maple and measures 330 acres and boasts 16 roller coasters. It also has a 20-acre water park and its fall season includes Halloween Hunt. Historically, the areas of Woodbridge, Concord, Nashville and Maple have been agricultural and a number of farmers’ markets are open during the summer.

The City of Vaughan is also home to some of the best public and private golf courses in the GTA, including The National, The Board of Trade, Bayview, Thornhill, Cardinal, Eagles Nest, Maple Downs and Copper Creek.

PARKS & REC

People are drawn to Vaughan because of its high quality of life, abundant green spaces and exciting attractions.

Toronto & Region Conservation Authority Photo
Toronto & Region Conservation Authority Photo

In Woodbine, the Kortright Centre for Conservation is a natural oasis and environmental educational centre on 800 acres of pristine woodland. Located at the headwaters of the Don and Humber Rivers, the 990-acre Boyd Conservation Area offers a number of outdoor activities, including a trail system, lots of picnic areas and bocce courts.

Bindertwine Park in Kleinburg features a trail systems that links it to the grounds of McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Kortright Centre.

RETAIL THERAPY

Vaughan Mills, located at Highway 400 and Rutherford Road, is one of the GTA’s popular shopping attractions, with over 200 outlets shops and services. It also includes entertainment attractions like Hollywood’s Lucky Strike Lanes, Pro Hockey Life, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. At Highway 7 and Weston Road is another large shopping district, the Colossus Centre, which also features a slew of outlet and big box stores, plus a 19-screen Cineplex.

EASY ACCESS

Vaughan mass transit is served by the York Regional Transit/Viva system, which links the entire region with Toronto and the Region of Peel. Currently, YRT is building a bus rapidway along Highway 7, between the Richmond Hill Centre (where the subway extension ends) to Warden Avenue. The City of Vaughan is surrounded by several major highways, including Highways 400, 401, 404, 407 and 427, making it an easy place to commute anywhere in the GTA.

BY THE NUMBERS

Population: 306,300

Walk score: 49

From Vaughan: Elizabeth Arden

Vaughan.ca


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LOCAL FOCUS: Waterloo Region

Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge thrive in Waterloo Region

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Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge thrive in Waterloo Region

by Gale Beeby

HOUSING OPTIONS

Kitchener and Waterloo are mostly made up of single-family homes and there is a great selection of home types, from historic homes to modern townhouses and condos. But single-family homes are still the norm.

Click here to see a list of new homes for sale.

LEISURE PURSUITS

The region has a lot of cultural venues and events, including the Contemporary Art Forum, The Open Ears Festival, IMPACT theatre festival, the Multicultural Festival, the Kitchener Blues Festival, Mill Race Festival and the Rock the Mill music festival.

It is also home to the Homer Watson House & Gallery, McDougall Cottage Historic Site, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Centre in the Square, The Cambridge Centre for the Arts and the Doon Heritage Museum.

Cambridge has some of the most historic bridges in Waterloo Region and the Black Bridge Road Bridge — built in 1916 — is Cambridge’s only truss bridge.

And, of course, Kitchener-Waterloo is home to Oktoberfest, an annual nine-day event that is billed as Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival and is the largest Bavarian festival in the world outside Germany.

Grand River Conservation Authority/S. Rhodes Photo LF
Grand River Conservation Authority/S. Rhodes Photo LF

PARKS & REC

Kitchener’s oldest outdoor park is Victoria Park in the heart of downtown. A cast-bronze statue of Queen Victoria, which was unveiled on Victoria Day in 1911, is the centrepiece. Another significant park is Rockway Gardens, which occupies a long narrow strip of land alongside King Street. Here there are many fountains, ponds, waterfalls and rock grottoes.

The region has an extensive community trail system and the Grand River draws nature-seeking tourists to the region. The Grand River Conservation Authority operates 11 conservation areas.

RETAIL THERAPY

The downtowns of each of the region’s cities and townships offer some very stylish and forward-thinking retailers, as well as restaurants, cafés, salons and spas. Fairview Park is Kitchener’s largest shopping mall, while Conestoga Mall in Waterloo is also home to the Galaxy Cinemas. In Cambridge, the Cambridge Centre also has an NHL-sized ice rink.

EASY ACCESS

The Conestoga Parkway is the area’s main highway, connecting with Highway 401. Public Transit throughout the Region of Waterloo is provided by Grand River Transit, which was created by a merger of Cambridge Transit and Kitchener Transit. GRT operates a number of bus routes in Kitchener, with many running into Waterloo and two connecting to Cambridge.

GO Transit provides bus service from Kitchener to Mississauga Square One and train service to Union Station during rush hours. Passenger train service is provided by Via Rail.

The Region of Waterloo International Airport is in Breslau.

BY THE NUMBERS

Population: 583,500

Known best for: Oktoberfest

Walk scores:

Kitchener: Average of 47

Waterloo: Average of 44

Cambridge: Average of 44

RegionOfWaterloo.ca


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LOCAL FOCUS: Whitby & Oshawa

LOCAL FOCUS: Whitby & Oshawa

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LOCAL FOCUS: Whitby & Oshawa

by Gale Beeby

The eastern anchors of the Greater Toronto Area

HOUSING OPTIONS

Both the City of Oshawa and the Town of Whitby have historic downtowns with the requisite collection of century homes, but new subdivisions are quickly changing the landscape.

Click here for a fill list of new homes for sale in Oshawa.

Click here for a full list of new homes for sale in Whitby.

LEISURE PURSUITS

Oshawa is a hockey town and it’s not the Maple Leafs that residents are cheering for, it’s the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. The team has many successful alumni, including Bobby Orr, Eric Lindros and Rick Middleton, to name but a few.

For those seeking more genteel pursuits, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery is the largest in Durham Region and features a collection of more than 4,000 works of art.

The Whitby Public Library is a state-of-the-art building that offers an extensive array of collections and programs as well as the Whitby archives. The Whitby History Museum and Children’s Centre has a unique collection of artifacts that tell the story of early life in Southern Ontario. One of Whitby’s best-known historic sites is the infamous Camp X, which was a secret spy training facility during World War II. Established by Sir William Stephenson, the “Man Called Intrepid,” British and allied forces also used the camp as a communications link between Britain and the United States with overseas information passing secretly between allied nations.

PARKS & REC

The Oshawa Botanical Gardens is a beautiful oasis that is home to North America’s largest contemporary peony collection. Oshawa also boasts beautiful and pristine wildlife preserves, including the Pumphouse Marsh, Second Marsh and the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve. On Oshawa’s Lake Ontario shoreline you will find Lakeview Park with many picnic areas, playgrounds, sports fields, a waterfront pier and sandy beaches.

There are over 100 parks maintained by Whitby and over 60 kilometres of trails, including the Bio-Diversity Trail, the Cullen Central Park Trails, Otter Creek Trail and the Whitby Shores Waterfront Trail. The 670-acre Lynde Shores Conservation area, together with the adjacent Cranberry West Tract, is known for its wildlife and provides habitat for nesting birds.

RETAIL THERAPY

The Oshawa Centre is the largest shopping complex in Durham Region and is home to over 230 establishments that include retail, food outlets and a variety of services. In downtown Oshawa, you’ll find a variety of unique shops and restaurants and its here you will find the annual Original Downtown Sidewalk Sale, and the Festival of Murals.

In Whitby, Pearson Lane is a historical development that houses boutiques, cafés and services.

EASY ACCESS

Public transit is provided by Durham Region Transit, which connects it with the other cities in the region, including Pickering, Ajax, Clarington, Brock and Uxbridge. Highway 401 runs through the south of region and Highway 7 runs across its northern edge. Highway 407 ETR is being extended to Highways 35 and 115 and will cross the top of Durham Region.

BY THE NUMBERS

Whitby population: 128,400

Oshawa population: 159,500

Whitby slogan: Community of Choice … for Business

Oshawa slogan: Prepared to be Amazed

Walk Scores:

Whitby: 43 average

Oshawa: 51 average

Whitby.ca

Oshawa.ca


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LOCAL FOCUS: Niagara Region

LOCAL FOCUS: Niagara Region

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LOCAL FOCUS: Niagara Region

by Gale Beeby

Including the communities of Grimsby, Lincoln, West Lincoln, Wainfleet, Pelham, Port Colborne, St. Catharines, Thorold, Welland, Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie.

HOUSING OPTIONS

The region’s housing is comprised predominantly of single-family dwellings – from historical homes dating back 200 years, to new master-planned communities – although condos are making their inevitable appearance.

There’s something in Niagara for everyone at every price point and every style, from luxury estate homes to modest semis and townhomes, with many new projects springing up throughout the region. Click here for a full list of homes for sale.

LEISURE PURSUITS

There is a lot to do in the Niagara Region! Too many to list here, but some highlights include a visit to the famous Niagara Falls, a stroll through the quaint village of Niagara-on-the-Lake, a jet-boat ride on the Niagara River rapids, taking in a play at the world-renowned Shaw Festival, a drive along the Niagara Wine Trail, a picnic along the Niagara Parkway, watching the world-class Royal Canadian Henley Regatta (rowing), a night at one of the casinos, or a round of golf on one of the region’s fabulous golf courses, which includes Canada’s oldest course, Niagara-on-the-Lake, which held its first international tournament in 1895.

PARKS & REC

The Niagara Region has hundreds of kilometres of trails and paths, as well as a multitude of parks. In Niagara Falls, Queen Victoria Park features manicured gardens, platforms with views of the American, Horseshoe and Bridal Veil Falls as well as underground walkways behind the falls.

The Niagara River Recreational Trails runs 56 kilometres from Fort Erie to Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake and includes many historical sites from the War of 1812. The Greater Niagara Circle Route Trail System is 140 kilometres of mostly off-road paved trails for walking, cycling or rollerblading. It passes through urban centres, the Niagara Escarpment, waterfronts and agricultural areas.

Also in the area is the Bruce Trail, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the Merritt Trail, which passes through many of the old sections of the Welland Canal, the Waterfront Trail, and the Welland Canals Parkway.

RETAIL THERAPY

A stroll down the main street of any of the towns in the region will be a delight with a number of boutiques, cafés, art galleries, craft stores and fine dining establishments. Niagara-on-the-Lake, in particular, is a great place to spend the day popping into one unique store after another. There are also a number of outlet malls in Niagara offering brand-name shopping at lower-than-retail prices.

EASY ACCESS

Welland, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines each have airports and the area is served by a number of expressways, including Highways 405, 406, 420 and the QEW. Niagara Region Transit moves riders between Welland, Fort Erie, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines. Niagara Falls Transit and the St. Catharines Transit Commission provide local bus service in the two largest communities in the region. GO Transit and VIA Rail provide train and bus service to Niagara Region from the GTA.

BY THE NUMBERS

Population: 447,900

Known as: The Honeymoon Capital of the World

Walk scores:

St. Catharines: 52

Welland: 47

Niagara Falls: 43

Port Colborne: 38

Lincoln: 32

Grimsby: 31

Fort Erie: 31

Thorold: 36

Niagara-on-the-Lake: 25

Pelham: 22

NiagaraRegion.ca


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NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Yorkville

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Yorkville

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NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Yorkville

by Gale Beeby

Everyone knows the neighbourhood because of its haute couture, fine dining, plush hotels, art galleries and high-end shopping, but there’s more to the historic Village than just a glass of fine Chablis

Housing Options

Yorkville has seen a building boom of late, with developers and builders getting in on the luxurious action. Density is the name of the game here, with pricing from the mid $400,000s to well over $24 million for the penthouse at The One.

Leisure Pursuits

The Royal Ontario Museum is just the beginning of a tour of some of the most interesting galleries and museums in Toronto, including the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, the Mira Godard Gallery, the Heffel Fine Art Auction House and Gallery 36. The Windsor Arms Hotel is a stunning architectural masterpiece, as well.

Parks & Rec

In 1993, the Village of Yorkville Park was opened, an award-winning park on Cumberland Avenue, which was designed with elements taken from Yorkville’s history and Canada’s diverse geographic landscape. “The Rock,” as it has become known, is a favourite meeting spot in the area. It was moved in pieces from the Canadian Shield and transported on 20 flatbed trailers to Toronto. It’s about a billion years old and weighs 650 tonnes.

Ro

Retail Therapy

Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Escada, Chanel, Tiffany’s … does it get any better than the upscale designer boutiques that line the “Mink Mile” along Bloor Street? The Holt Renfrew store on Bloor is a piece of Toronto history, and the iconic Hazelton Lanes, which first opened in 1976, has just received a major facelift. For those who don’t have bulging wallets — or a limitless AmEx card — The Hudson’s Bay store at Yonge and Bloor might be a better fit, and the new Nordstrom Rack that sits at the base of 1 Bloor East has offerings at both ends of the financial spectrum covered.

Easy Access

The TTC has three subway stops along this stretch of Bloor Street. At the west end, the Museum Station leaves you at the door of the ROM and it’s a leisurely walk along the recently refurbished Bloor Street, Cumberland Avenue or Yorkville Avenue into the heart of the action. The Bay station has a pedestrian exit right on Cumberland and the Bloor/Yonge station is at the east end of the neighbourhood. For those who use a limo, no worries, your driver knows where to go.

Bloor-Yorkville.com


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Cuckoo clocks are not just for the chalet

Telling Time

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Telling Time

by Gale Beeby

Cuckoo clocks are not just for the chalet

Many years ago — too many to count — a friend gave my husband and I an authentic German-made cuckoo clock as a Christmas gift. It was large and loud and we didn’t quite know what to do with it, as our decor sensibility was more on the contemporary side.

In hindsight, I realize that clock was made with a great amount of skill by artisans plying their craft in the Black Forest region of Germany. I wish I still had it, although I think it is still dancing and cuckooing on the hour in the sports department of the Toronto Star, where I used to work.

So, as the world marches on to a different tune than that traditional German icon I so frivolously gave away, I have learned that cuckoo clocks are still made — traditional and modern — by a select number of Black Forest artists at Cuckoo Forest.

Perhaps it’s our need to remember the past, but apparently the old-fashioned timepieces are making a comeback and Cuckoo Forest makes them in many different styles, including carved, chalet, shield and modern clocks. Each one is a one-of-a-kind treasure.

I know I’m going to be saving my loonies so I can get a time-tested piece of history.

cuckooforest.com


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In Conversation With: Alan Hirschfield

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In Conversation With: Alan Hirschfield

Design is fragile, but it is the most important element in a liveable community, says the driving force behind The Uplands in Courtice

By: Gale Beeby

Every once in a while, you might meet someone who makes so much sense you wonder how it is possible that most people don’t think that way.

Alan Hirschfield is one of those people.

I had the distinct privilege of sharing lunch with him at the Richmond Hill Golf Club earlier this year, where our wide-ranging conversation touched on so many topics that we barely got a chance to discuss his newest project, The Uplands in Courtice. So, we had to talk a second time and — strictly — only about The Uplands.

Hirschfield, who was born in South Africa and has lived in many countries around the world — including nine years in the United States — was an architect and founder of UD+D Incorporated, an urban design and development consulting firm.

He is also the driving force behind High Street Courtice Inc., the development company behind The Uplands, which will include many housing forms — including townhomes and condos — all designed with a modern flair.

High Street has embraced a design forward approach and is the development manager for two $100 million projects, in addition to a 110-acre lowrise and midrise development in Wellington.

Hirschfield’s experience in the architectural world has enlightened him to one hard fact: Canadians have always had a more enlightened and modern take on the world. However, he notes, Canadians have not been offered much more than the same old, same old, and when they see something unique, they embrace it.

Q: How do you envision the design of homes evolving?

A: Local people are driving design, and that’s the way it should be. Canadians haven’t being offered much, just more of the same. When I lived in the U.S., I thought that Americans were trying to do history cartoon style. You know, overly done Tudor and Victorian-era homes that just seemed, well, cartoonish. Trying to make the dead look good.

Unfortunately, that sensibility exists here as well, but when Canadians were offered something different, they sucked it up and bought. People are now seeing a greater variety of housing styles

— an explosion of available and timeless designs.

There seems to be a historical gap in architecture here. There were the great old architects and then a gap, but now I see some great young architects doing really interesting things and the public is totally accepting.

There is a really big change in the kind of people who are doing development, a changing of the guard, challenging the previous order. That’s a really good thing.

As a company, we don’t want to do work we don’t like ourselves. It takes five to 10 years to get approvals, so we need to love what we do. There is a new philosophy to development, the City Beautiful Movement.

As Toronto was built out, in order to make it work the lots got smaller and individual house styles became unworkable on those tight lots — it became a cacophony. But people still need — and want — individuality.

There was also a need for different kinds of housing, traditionally in different areas of the city. But not anymore. Families don’t want to be separated by housing form. People are now buying a townhouse or house for themselves and a condo for their kids, which they will eventually retire to. And they want them all together, not in different areas. No longer is the house in the suburbs and the condo in the urban core.

As a philosophy, I think showing how condos and townhomes work together on one site is critical, tying them together by design.

Q: How modern do you think you can go and still be acceptable by the buying public?

A: Our designs are modern but still look like a house with pitched roofs. How modern can we do it in a suburban environment? Quite modern, but comfortably modern. And we’re doing modern designs with traditional materials because we have hard weather conditions here, so it just makes sense to use tried and true materials. The materials we use are chosen not only because of their great looks, but for longevity as well. It can still look good and hold up to the outside elements. Design is fragile, but it is the most important element in a liveable community.

Q: How has building design changed over the years?

A: First, designers are responding to what they see and hear. The buyers know what’s available and they’re not willing to take cookie-cutter anymore. Good designers do good work and good construction. For instance, we’re using fiberglass front doors. They insulate better and look good longer.

We’re also responding to new public knowledge of design, energy-efficient homebuilding techniques and warranty requirements.

Q: Tell me more about The Uplands.

A: It’s a master-planned community of townhomes and condos overlooking the Farewell Creek Valley with absolutely stunning views and direct access to the trail system in the valley. The townhomes are spacious and feature smart home designs with contemporary exteriors of brick, stone and stucco and the condo building will mirror those design elements.

The architecture is being handled by Naylor Architect Inc. and Turner Fleisher Architects Inc., with landscaping by Strybos Barron King and interiors by Johnson Chou Inc.

It’s a great team and I’m thrilled to be working with them.

Q: What’s on the drawing board?

A: Something I’m really very excited about, but can’t talk about in detail just yet, but it will be a $500 million master-planned community in Etobicoke that will include townhouses, multi-tower highrises, a seniors residence, retail and office space.

Stay tuned!

MyUplands.ca

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