Tag Archives: Toronto

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In Conversation With… Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner, City of Toronto

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In Conversation With… Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner, City of Toronto

Gregg Lintern, for those in the urban planning field, has one of the most desired gigs in all of Canada – chief planner of the City of Toronto. But heading up the planning department of the largest city in the country, indeed, one of the fastest growing in the world, is no cushy assignment. Managing growth, housing development, transit and cycling infrastructure… the list of tasks is endless and the critics plentiful and often harsh. And in a COVID world, everything is that much more complicated.

Lintern opens up about his vision for the city, his department, and the challenges of the development approvals process.

You’ve been in the chair a few years now… What have you learned or come to appreciate about the job?

Growth and change in a city of three million people is complex. The job is about managing that complexity to focus finite energy and resources to influence positive outcomes – usually in partnership with public and private interests. I’ve learned that is not easy – and it takes people and your ability to inspire people to get things done.

How would you describe your philosophy as Chief Planner for the City of Toronto?

Be values driven – I ground my thinking in values such as humility, empathy, generosity, perspective and resilience – and be people-centred. Think about the outcomes – the city we want to be in 20 years, and work backwards. What choices can we make now that will get us there and have our children and grandchildren say we made good decisions?

The city as we know it is a consequence of evolutionary change, driven by internal and external forces. Part of my role is influencing change for the better, understanding mistakes and showing a willingness to change direction, and push for beneficial outcomes.

The tensions that exist within the system of evolution are many, including things such as cars versus other modes of transportation, and exclusivity of land use versus mixed use. These tensions often result in incremental compromise, even as the general direction is clear.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, but COVID has seemingly accelerated and clarified both our opportunities and challenges. Ideas with long-standing support, such as increased cycling infrastructure, have moved forward quicker than they otherwise might have. But just as quickly, existing issues such as access to housing and social and health inequities have an increased urgency and visibility around them.

If we remain grounded in our values, I do think we can use this moment of clarity, even if it feels overwhelming at times, to make some lasting changes for the better, particularly for our most vulnerable groups.

What do you hope to accomplish in your tenure?

I set out a simple goal at the beginning of my tenure, and that was to build on past accomplishments and leave the Division and the City in a better place than I found them. I see that as the contribution everyone should make – in service to their family, friends, community and city – is to add, to enrich, to get it ready for who comes next as an intergenerational responsibility. In that sense, the city having more housing available and affordable for more people and better mobility than they have now – to have that access to opportunity that people across the city require. Toronto has landed on many top 10 lists across many measures of success; my job is to keep us there and to grow the list.

What changes would you like to make, or are making, from the way your office has operated in the past?

I would simply emphasize communication with staff and stakeholders. I know you can’t get things done alone – the more we communicate in a way that resonates with people, the better off the results of the services we provide and the outcomes in the community.

What are the top priorities in the planning department these days (such as improving the approvals process, addressing the need for “missing middle” housing, cycling infrastructure…)?

While we are looking at improvements to the approvals process, we are very much focused on improving the outcomes of the process – ensuring that new development contributes positively to the idea of complete. That’s really our main priority and much of what we do is aligned with this objective. In addition to the construction of new housing and commercial space, expanding and improving transportation infrastructure, cycling connections, expanding and making better use of our public spaces are all elements in the process of building complete communities.

Building a more livable, equitable Toronto is also a top priority. The City’s recently approved Housing Now projects are examples of smart density, building complete, mixed income, mixed-use communities with housing accompanied by child care facilities, open spaces, pedestrian connections and new streets, and retail and office space in various configurations. It’s about developing a broad range and mix of uses, combined with good urban design, to support daily life. Missing middle housing, and expanding housing options in neighbourhoods, is part of that work and city planning has a considerable role to play.

The home building industry is lobbying various levels of government to make the approvals process faster and simpler. How do you see this issue, and how are you addressing it?

The City conducted an End-to-End Development Review, which provided recommendations to improve the development process for both applicants and the City. To implement the recommendations, the City has established the Concept to Keys (C2K) program – a dedicated, multi-divisional team that will guide this work and will modernize how the City of Toronto attracts, facilitates and regulates development activity. C2K is working to create more predictability, efficiency, transparency and collaboration. Early areas of focus include a revised operating model and governance structure, enabling online applications and evaluating options to enhance backend technology to more effectively manage the development review process from start to finish.

New home supply and affordability, some say, are at or near crisis levels, and that we really need to approve and build more new housing, and more quickly, in order to meet demand and address affordability concerns. What’s your take on all this, and how realistic is it to expect your office to “fix” this problem?

Affordability and access are major challenges facing Toronto and many other growing North American cities. Council adopted the HousingTO 2020 – 2030 Action Plan in December 2019. It recommends a host of actions to improve supply and affordability across a whole spectrum of need. It’s a tool kit approach because there isn’t one fix for the housing challenge. About 20,000 units of housing are approved every year in Toronto, but a greater variety of housing more targeted to specific needs is required. Ideas such as expanding housing options in neighbourhoods, and more ground related housing such as laneway suites and secondary suites in homes, are gaining interest, for example.

What other cities, either in Canada or elsewhere in the world, have planning departments, systems and processes that you believe work well, and that we could learn from, and why?

We are always looking toward other cities, and encourage other cities to look to Toronto, to seek out and share best practices. No two places are the same and local context is always important, but there absolutely are lessons to be learned from work being done elsewhere.

Many cities in Canada and around the world are contending with the same challenges, though perhaps at different levels of intensity, as Toronto. Expanding housing options and providing for some that of “missing middle” are one such example, where cities are looking at what other jurisdictions are doing and then developing a suite of tools that work for their communities.

How did the early days of the COVID-19 shutdown impact your office? We’ve heard a lot about approval processes slowing, and submission backlogs…

Like any other organization, the pandemic disrupted core business in the very early days but the initial disruption was short-lived. Staff pivoted to work from home over the course of eight weeks, and that transition limited backlog and enabled staff to perform duties normally undertaken in the office.

One of the challenges posed by COVID has been hosting community consultation meetings. We host hundreds of these meetings in communities throughout the year to consult on new development applications and the development of new planning policy. What used to occur in person has moved online, and there has been a period of adjustment in adapting new consultation approaches. These new approaches to consultation present an opportunity for us to reach a broader audience and incorporate more constructive feedback into the planning process.

Lintern cycling on Lake Shore Blvd. during one of the recent ActiveTO weekend road closures.

How have things progressed since then? Is the planning department back up to full capacity?

Since the initial weeks of the shutdown, we have provided staff across the Division with resources to continue processing development applications and new policies remotely. We have been running at full capacity for several months now.

What has your office learned, or changes you’ve made, since the pandemic began?

We focused initially on keeping the economy going with development approvals, introduced temporary use bylaws to expand cafes, supported new housing initiatives for vulnerable people such as modular housing, moved consultation online with virtual consultation meetings and workshops, reformatted services including holding Committee of Adjustment hearings online. We have adapted our processes to work better remotely and provided our staff with resources to continue managing development review applications.

Additionally, the pandemic provided a renewed sense of clarity and urgency to certain areas of work, including the need to expand housing options and build local resilience right across the city.

toronto.ca

And on a personal note:

What part of town do you live in (from your Twitter account, it looks like you’re a west-ender…)?

In Toronto, you are either east or west of Yonge. I’m west of Yonge – actually grew up in Rexdale and have lived in the west end ever since. But I love the east end too, of course!

What is your favourite thing about Toronto?

When I get asked this I usually say – it’s a good place to call home. I often think of the people who were here before European settlement, of the waves of immigrants who have come here and of the people who desire to come here. It’s grown into a big city, but remains a place people want to call home.

When you’re not at the office (real or home office), you’re:

Walking or cycling in my High Park neighbourhood.

If you weren’t a city planner, you would:

Cook for people.

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Burke Condos

Burke at Sherbourne & Bloor, a condo, a community, a culture

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Burke at Sherbourne & Bloor, a condo, a community, a culture

If you have ever wanted to live the quintessential downtown Toronto lifestyle, steps from the subway and everything the city has to offer, the opportunity has now arrived at Sherbourne and Bloor – Burke. These elegant residences reflect the finest urban sophistication, with a level of polish that suits your urban lifestyle. Combined with a well-rounded amenity package and the experience of one of Canada’s most esteemed developers, Concert Properties, Burke represents a not-to-be-missed real estate opportunity.

With an 87 Walk Score and 89 Transit Score, Burke’s interconnected location in St. James Town puts you at the crossroads of so many diverse experiences. Stroll west on Bloor Street and explore the city’s most vibrant shopping, A-list restaurants and premier exhibits. Head the opposite direction and find yourself on Danforth savouring truly authentic Greek food. Head south to Cabbagetown and explore the area’s quaint stores and unique character. Or perhaps escape from city life and connect with nature in the nearby Rosedale Ravine. In every direction, there is always something new.

Standing 53 storeys, this sleek, contemporary tower carves a striking silhouette in the skyline and offers stunning city and treetop views. Far from just another skyscraper, Burke is thoughtfully designed at the ground level and features the integration of rich heritage homes as well as a dynamic and colourful pathway with benches, landscaping and architectural lighting. This is all part of an impressive senses of arrival that leads to an abundance of amenities spanning three floors and just about everything you and your guests could desire.

Complete with chef’s kitchen, private dining room and expansive fireside terrace, the second floor is where you will entertain friends and family over a meal, movie or game of pool. The 27th floor is split between a state-of-the-art fitness centre that will have you cancelling your gym membership, and co-working and meeting spaces that make working from home seamless.

At Burke, you can choose from a diverse selection of homes ranging from junior one- to three-bedroom. Whatever your choice, each home has been elevated by sophisticated design and a timeless palette of natural tones. Featuring a German-engineered Bosch appliance package, quartz countertops and thoughtful layouts, the modern kitchens have been designed to inspire your inner gourmet. Begin and wind down each day in your bathroom sanctuary – featuring impressive, large-format marble-patterned porcelain tile floor and accent wall in striking contrast with matte black hardware.

Peace of mind is also a standard feature at Burke. More than 30 years and 12,000 homes developed across Ontario and British Columbia, Concert has garnered more than 100 industry awards. This means you can buy with confidence knowing that Concert is an experienced developer with a well-earned reputation for quality and homebuyer satisfaction.

Burke is arriving soon. Visit burkebyconcert.com to register your interest.


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Ontario housing markets to lead Canada heading into 2021

Ontario housing markets to lead Canada heading into 2021

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Ontario housing markets to lead Canada heading into 2021

Housing markets across Canada are expected to remain active for the remainder of 2020 due to pent-up demand and low inventory levels – with price growth in Ontario leading the way, according to a new report from ReMax Canada.

The ReMax Fall Market Outlook Report forecasts the average sale price in Canada could increase by 4.6 per cent during the remainder of the year, compared to the 3.7 per cent increase that was predicted in late 2019.

The pandemic has prompted many Canadians to reassess their living situations. According to a survey conducted by Leger on behalf of ReMax, 32 per cent of Canadians no longer want to live in large urban centres, and instead would opt for rural or suburban communities. This trend is stronger among Canadians under the age of 55.

Pent-up demand

“The classically hot spring market that was pushed to the summer months due to the COVID-19 pandemic created a surprisingly strong market across Canada and across all market segments,” says Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president and regional director, ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “Looking ahead, government financial aid programs may be coming to an end in September, which could potentially impact future activity. However, the pent-up demand and low inventory dynamic may keep prices steady and bolster activity for the remainder of 2020. Overall, we are very confident in the long-term durability of the market.”

Not only are Canadians more motivated to leave cities, but changes in work and life dynamics have also shifted their needs and wants for their homes. According to the survey, 44 per cent of Canadians would like a home with more space for personal amenities, such as a pool, balcony or a large yard.

Ontario housing market

With Ontario one of the provinces hit hardest by the pandemic, markets such as Niagara, Mississauga and Kitchener-Waterloo experienced significant drops in activity, but bounced back aggressively in June as economies began to reopen. Toronto continues to be a sellers’ market, with low listing inventory and high demand. An uptick in new listings is anticipated for fall, now that buyers and sellers are more comfortable engaging in the housing market. ReMax estimates a five-per-cent increase in average residential sale price in Toronto for the remainder of the year, with the potential for modest price increases of up to six per cent in regions such as Hamilton, Brampton and London.

Luxury market thriving

Canada’s overall luxury market has remained strong throughout the pandemic, with market conditions unchanged from the beginning of the year in most regions.

The luxury segment in Toronto is considered balanced, with Vancouver pushing into a sellers’ market. Vancouver is beginning to see more interest from move-up buyers instead of the foreign buyers who drove demand in Vancouver’s luxury market prior to COVID-19. This was likely due to travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic. In Toronto, activity was slower than usual this spring as buyers did not have any urgency to transact during the pandemic.

Luxury housing in secondary markets such as Hamilton is seeing a slight uptick in activity, with high-end buyers seeking more square footage and larger properties outside of city centres. Hamilton has experienced an increase in buyer interest from residents from Brampton and Mississauga looking to relocate to the region.


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The Prestige at Pinnacle One Yonge is serving up the best of upscale urban living in Toronto

The Prestige at Pinnacle One Yonge is serving up the best of upscale urban living in Toronto

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The Prestige at Pinnacle One Yonge is serving up the best of upscale urban living in Toronto

Condo development is alive and well in Toronto and it seems like each week, more towers designed by big-name developers and architects that will have a transformative impact on the city’s skyline are announced. Case in point: The Prestige, the first of the trio of residential condominiums set to define Pinnacle One Yonge – a development that’s been ambitiously conceived and is poised to change the way Torontonians live, work and play for years to come.

Currently under construction, The Prestige is part of Pinnacle International‘s multi-tower and multi-use development located between Yonge and Freeland and Queens Quay East to Lake Shore Boulevard East that will include extensive residential, office, retail, dining and hotel components, along with access to Toronto’s PATH network.

With more than 2,200 condominium suites between the three residential towers, the buildings will anchor the master-planned 4.4-million-sq.-ft. development of Pinnacle One Yonge. This sprawling community will also include 1.5 million sq. ft. of office space, 160,000 sq. ft. of retail, a 250-room hotel, and a 50,000-sq.-ft. community centre complete with a six-lane, 25-metre swimming pool and a double gymnasium. Pinnacle also will help build a 2.5-acre public park.

Set to rise 65 storeys, The Prestige will house 496 residential units, ranging from one-bedroom to three-bedroom plus den options. Suites are priced from the low $800,000s. Recently released was the Palatial Collection, which will span the 55th to 64th floors and will feature only five large suites on each level.

When complete, the tower will boast an elegant style that’s been thoughtfully designed, thanks to its timeless and contemporary design. Striking accents of large windows and expansive balconies will pique curiosity to the tower’s facade, while simultaneously offering residents breathtaking views of Lake Ontario or the city skyline and beyond.

Residents of all ages will also be able to enjoy Pinnacle One Yonge’s other family-friendly amenities, such as the two children’s play areas – with one indoor, the other outdoor. There’s also a 10,000-sq.-ft. dog run complete with washing stations and a walking track with fitness stations. For those who enjoy entertaining, the outdoor lounge offers barbecues and dining areas, while the indoor party room is equipped with a caterer’s kitchen and the private dining room provides plenty of space to host and entertain your family and friends.

The next phase of the impressive development to begin construction is SkyTower. Soaring at a record-breaking 95-storeys, it will not only be Canada’s tallest residential condominium, it will also be the second tallest building in all of Toronto, after the CN Tower. Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, it includes 840 condominium suites in a variety of layouts, ranging from 655 to more than 1,700 sq. ft., with prices starting from the mid $900,000s.

With The Prestige’s occupancy slated for summer of 2022, you can stay up-to-date with the project by registering now at pinnacleoneyonge.ca or book an exclusive appointment by calling 416.925.9889.


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ELAD Canada breaks ground at Galleria On The Park

ELAD Canada breaks ground at Galleria On The Park

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ELAD Canada breaks ground at Galleria On The Park

ELAD Canada recently celebrated the groundbreaking of the Galleria on the Park master-planned community, marking a significant milestone for the west end neighbourhood. Galleria on the Park was one of the largest communities introduced to Toronto last year.

The 20-acre site located at Dufferin and Dupont streets will include eight mixed-used buildings, encompassing nearly 2,900 condominium residences and about 300,000 sq. ft. of retail, an eight-acre park, as well as a 95,000-sq.-ft. new community centre that is double the size of the current facility.

Photo: Geoff Fitzgerald
Photo: Geoff Fitzgerald

Representatives from ELAD Canada were joined by Councillor Ana Bailao and staff from the City’s affordable housing division, as well as project team members from CORE Architects, PSR Brokerage and Clark Construction Management, to commemorate the occasion on-site.

“We are extremely proud to deliver such a significant project to the city of Toronto,” says Rafael Lazer, CEO of ELAD Canada. “We have always deeply believed in the west end – its rich industrial past, its strong sense of community, and its vibrant arts and culture scene. (This) event demonstrates the strong momentum of Galleria on the Park and our continued commitment to delivering exceptional, thriving master-planned communities across Canada.”

As part of the first phase of the development, Galleria on the Park will include mixed-use towers Galleria 01 and 02, 150 affordable rental units, retail, the new Wallace Emerson Community Centre and Phase 1 of the expanded Park, which will become landmark amenities in the West End. Galleria 01 and 02 are now more than 95 per cent sold of released units.

Galleria 01 and 02 are 29- and 24-storey mixed-use towers respectively, sharing an articulated podium with an approximate 40,000-sq.-ft double-height retail space to support the growing local community. Designed by CORE Architects, the towers are clad with dark and rich metals, paying homage to the industrial character of the neighbourhood. The podium steps with stacked boxes, and a soft, earthy provides a welcoming environment at the pedestrian level.

The amenities and suites, by award-winning design firm U31, bring urban sophistication indoors. Suites feature modern interiors that take cues from the neighbourhood. Family-friendly amenities include an expansive co-working space that doubles as an event space opening out to a wrap-around outdoor terrace, an outdoor pool and a state-of-the-art fitness centre.

ELAD Canada has also unveiled new public art by internationally acclaimed artist, Thrush Holmes, solidifying the evolving Galleria site as a community hub. Holmes has transformed the bays along the north side of the Galleria Shopping Centre facing Dupont Street, into a series of vibrant, colourful rainbows. Spanning 150 ft. altogether, the murals serve as a message of hope and positivity for the west end as the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The collaboration marks ELAD Canada’s second engagement with Holmes, following the reimagining of the 60-ft.-tall mall pylon that has now become a vibrant, neon beacon for the neighbourhood.

“We have always viewed public art as a way to strengthen communities and invigorate public spaces. This aligns very well with our primary focus for Galleria on the Park, which is to create a new community hub for everyone with exciting new recreational, shopping and dining options. These public art installations are fantastic indicators for what’s to come, as we continue to support local artists using our site as a canvas for the arts,” says Lazer.

ELAD Canada will be launching its next mixed-use building, Galleria 03 in the fall.

galleriaonthepark.com


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CHBA names winners of 2020 National Awards for Housing Excellence

CHBA names winners of 2020 National Awards for Housing Excellence

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CHBA names winners of 2020 National Awards for Housing Excellence

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) has announced the winners of the 2020 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence, celebrating the best of the best from across Canada.

Rosehaven Homes' The Randall Residences in Oakville
Rosehaven Homes’ The Randall Residences in Oakville

Rosehaven Homes of Oakville, Ont. won the Marketing Excellence Award for overall success in marketing categories. Rosehaven also took home the marketing awards for Digital Media Campaign – Mid- to Highrise, and Print Ad, for The Randall Residences in Oakville. Rosehaven’s marketing was created with McOuat Partnership of Markham, Ont.

Minto Communities, another GTA builder, won the Net Zero Home Award, Mid- to Highrise Condo or Apartment Project (planned) for its Toronto development The Saint, Brochure/ Kit for 123 Portland, also in Toronto, and the Net Zero Home Award for the 2019 Minto Dream Home in support of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Located at Church and Adelaide, The Saint is designed to honour the preserved historic buildings of the neighbourhood, including the nearby St. James Cathedral. Inside, Japanese minimalism inspired design with biophilic elements combine to create a serene environment, and 10,000 sq. ft. of amenity space focused on health and wellness provides residents with a home where they can “find their centre.”

For a complete list of winners, visit chba.ca.


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In Conversation With, Anson Kwok, Vice-President, Sale & Marketing Pinnacle International

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In Conversation With, Anson Kwok, Vice-President, Sale & Marketing Pinnacle International

Toronto is blessed with a number of signature high-profile condo projects, forever changing the landscape and city skyline. Few are as noteworthy as what’s about to rise into the sky and pierce the clouds in the heart of the downtown area – Pinnacle One Yonge from Pinnacle International.

One Yonge, as a location, is notable in its own right, as the address of the landmark Toronto Star building, built in 1970 and acquired by Pinnacle in 2012. The property was in the news again recently, when in May the Star itself was sold to a private equity firm, leading some to again wonder what the plan was for the area.

And an opportunity for Pinnacle to again discuss its vision for One Yonge.

The plan is a nothing short of a spectacular master-planned complex of residential, commercial and retail space, that over the years of its development will reshape that area of downtown.

The first phase of Pinnacle One Yonge involves The Prestige, a 65-storey residential tower with 497 condominium units, a community centre and extensive retail space. Phases 2 and 3 will add SkyTower, a 95-storey tower, and then an 80-storey tower, significantly contributing to the densification of the block. Phase 4 will develop the south parcel of the land, introducing an additional three buildings, including a 12-storey addition to the existing Toronto Star building.

Designed to densify and enhance the urban streetscape, Pinnacle One Yonge links to public transit, improves and widens sidewalks and provides prioritized pedestrian and cyclist access.

And this is just one project Pinnacle has on the go in the GTA.

Condo Life sat down with Anson Kwok, vice-president of sales and marketing at Pinnacle, to discuss the progress at Pinnacle One Yonge, how the company is adopting to the COVID-19 pandemic, and other topics.

When we spoke to you at the beginning of the year, things we very different. Pinnacle had four active construction sites in the GTA, and you mentioned possibly increasing that to six projects by the end of the year. Generally speaking, where is all that now, in this unprecedented COVID-19 world?

Our four active construction sites have continued during COVID-19 with some delays, and we are still looking to deliver three of those projects for our purchasers to get their keys in the next 12 months.

Our sites are ready to go for both Pinnacle Toronto East and SkyTower at Pinnacle One Yonge. We are just finalizing approvals and future permits to proceed.

You also mentioned at the time that lengthy municipal approval processes were resulting in longer completion times. How hopeful are you that this will improve? During the pandemic, governments have demonstrated that they can and do move more quickly when they really have to…

Fundamentally, I don’t see the process speeding up, as the system is set up so that all city staff, especially planners and reviewing departments, are working on projects for years, with new applications and resubmissions continuously ending up on their desks. The complexity of projects is also increasing, resulting in additional consultant reports and more detailed drawing sets. This all leads to longer processing times, and it perpetuates the constant cycle.

Even having city staff working on the same file at the same time, would help improve efficiencies and to expedite timelines.

How did COVID-19 affect your projects, in terms of both construction and sales?

Our construction sites have continued to operate, but we did experience about a six-month delay due to new procedures onsite with social distancing, inspections and supply chain delays.

Our sales program took a pause for about four weeks, and then we have been pretty active with inquiries and sales since.

Working from home is expected to become more prevalent in future. How might Pinnacle address this trend in future condo designs and amenities?

We have been offering larger product in the marketplace, so we will continue with that strategy, as I think this has benefited people who have been working from home. Also, providing amenities such as study rooms, business centres and boardrooms will be in higher demand.

How are things coming along at The Prestige at Pinnacle One Yonge?

We have built out the extensive podium of our first Phase 1, and now reached our typical floorplate at The Prestige at Pinnacle One Yonge, so you will start seeing the building really rising quickly. We are on schedule for our first occupancy in May 2022.

And with SkyTower?

Sales have gone extremely well at SkyTower, and we are in position to start construction and will be mobilizing in the near future.

Besides a pretty unbeatable location, how will The Prestige and SkyTower stand out from other projects in the area?

The location and address of this master-planned community definitely speak for themselves. What also stands out is that it’s part of a true master-planned community. At its completion, it will comprise:

  • Three residential towers, including the tallest residential building in Canada at 95 storeys
  • 80,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor residential amenity space
  • 50,000-sq.-ft. community centre with a six-lane swimming pool and gymnasium
  • 1.1 million sq. ft. of office space
  • 160,000 sq. ft. of retail space
  • Two future hotels
  • PATH connected
  • Next to a future a 2.5-acre park.

So, there is a lot to be excited about!

The Prestige and SkyTower are two of the three towers planned for One Yonge. What is the third, and what is its status?

We are currently working on the final design of the 80-storey tower planned on the north parcel, as we review the suite layouts.

What’s next for Pinnacle, beyond these noted signature projects?

We are currently working on rezoning our Pinnacle Etobicoke and Pinnacle Uptown Communities which will consist of eight future residential towers and three residential towers, respectfully.

We are also looking forward to start leasing our new office building at Pinnacle One Yonge.

And on a personal note…

When I’m not at the office, I am:
In my condo, enjoying time with my wife and our two young boys.

My greatest inspiration in this business is:
My mom, Grace. She brought the concept of preconstruction sales to Vancouver and is dubbed as BC’s First Lady of Pre-Sales. She has been consistently leading successful sales programs in all different market conditions.

If I wasn’t in the new condo business, I would:
Be pursuing my previous passion of running a hotel.

Portfolio

Amber at Pinnacle Uptown
Move in now
Mississauga

Cypress at Pinnacle Etobicoke
Under construction
Etobicoke

PJ Condos
Under construction
Toronto

Perla Towers
Under construction
Mississauga

Pinnacle Toronto East
Pre-construction
Toronto

SkyTower at Pinnacle One Yonge
Pre-construction
Toronto

The Prestige at Pinnacle One Yonge
Under construction
Toronto

pinnacleinternational.ca

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Embrace your happy place

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Embrace your happy place

If ever there were a year when thoughts of our happy place are essential in helping us navigate challenging moments in life, collectively, that year is 2020. From massive protests fighting systemic racism to global pandemic measures relegating us to months of self-isolation in our homes, the screeching halt to our day-to-day lives sent us all in uncharted waters.

Finally, with Ontario slowly opening up in time for summer (with extensive social distancing measures in place), we are all breathing a sigh of relief as Canadians venture into society again. Yet for the wanderlust like me, international air travel is still off the table for some time; well they say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and being grounded doesn’t stop me from visiting my happy place in my mind. Throughout the lockdown experience and even still, sweet memories of my time last fall at The Crane Resort on the South East coast in Barbados spark that much needed joy factor during this global crisis and reinforces my desire to return to this jewel in the Caribbean as soon as we have the restored freedom to roam.

Classic Caribbean

The natural, authentic beauty is largely untouched by the passage of time; it is the antithesis of the island’s Platinum West Coast where there are no jet skis, celebrities, condominiums or night clubs.

Since 1887, the historic Crane Resort has been famous for the ‘healing powers” of its spectacular beach, cooling trade winds and the surrounding pristine landscape of the island’s less-travelled coast. Beyond the idyllic setting, the ever-growing resort and residential properties brought to life by The Crane owner, Torontonian Paul Doyle (he acquired the property in 1988), the resort’s expansion has also been a journey in design. From the Marine Villa to the new suites, “We were very respectful of The Crane’s place in history of Barbados,” says Doyle. The iconic architectural details, such as the coral stone walls, mahogany vaulted ceilings and four-poster beds in all the colonial-style suites were deliberately kept faithful to the design of the original Crane Beach Hotel.

Do you know how the island got it’s name? A Portuguese sea captain, Pedro A. Campos pondered over the island’s numerous bearded fig trees, and decided the island needed a name which emphasized how much of a prominent feature those fig trees were. And so, Barbados, before it was known as Barbados, was called Los Barbados, which means “bearded one.”

A piece of paradise

A hybrid design approach where contemporary style pays homage to Bajan classics was Doyle’s inspiration for The Crane Private Residences, which debuted in 2017. A master planned luxury development of condo-style units spread over five acres feature clean architectural lines and finishes that reflect the Crane Resort’s signature use of coral stone.

However, it is the latest property development of 63 beach villas at Skeete’s Bay where Doyle plunges wholly into modern design. “In the Skeete’s Bay villas, we take another leap and aren’t worrying about history at all, it is completely modern.”

Generously scaled and beautifully appointed, each villa sits on approximately 1/5 of an acre and offers breathtaking 180-degree ocean views, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, infinity-edge private pools with hot tubs, private patios and gardens with “no tan-lines levels of privacy,” hammocks and barbecues. This secluded, low-density and eco-friendly development truly delivers on the Beach Houses’ tagline: When you really want to get away.

“The bathrooms open up to the private garden with sliding glass doors, so the entire wall disappears and opens into a landscape courtyard.”

Serenity now

Modern design principles are put into action to create a feeling of Zen throughout the home. From the openconcept floor plan, muted tones, to the seamless cabinetry, which keeps fixtures out of view and also serves to protect from the harsh salt air. The paradisiacal component to this design is most definitely the blurred lines between indoor and outdoor living spaces as it allows for complete sensory connection with nature. “The bathrooms open up to the private garden with sliding glass doors, so the entire wall disappears and opens into a landscape courtyard. The shower is outside adjacent to the garden space… It’s an amazing experience that you just don’t get in Toronto,” says Doyle.

Sustainable & lush

Sustainable design is also an important component of the beach villas’ construction. Every home includes a living rooftop. The displaced verdant landscape from each of the 63 building’s footprint has been thoughtfully moved to the flat roofs, revealing clear sight lines. “When we started, there was very little landscape, it is a very intense environment on the East coast with winds and strong breezes coming in,” says Doyle. The solution was to add landscape plants that thrive in the environment to the perimeter of the flat roof, as well as solar panels in the middle, with the goal of going off the grid as soon as testing permitted.

Beach house chic

Naturally, there is also a casual beach vibe accentuated with the decor touches in the villas, including sisal rugs, rattan chairs and avocado-coloured lamps. It echoes the casual comfort of the island in a spectacular setting. “For hundreds of years, Barbadians look to the East Coast as a place to get away.” Doyle says. Then draws a local comparison to depict the location accurately. “The Skeete’s Bay area is what Muskoka represents to Torontonians.”

The result of The Crane’s latest East Coast Barbados property development is the ideal tropical luxury retreat for those who prize peace, tranquillity and natural beauty. I am grateful to have experienced the magical place first-hand. I truly believe that inner peace starts at home and as homeowners, we are naturally drawn to add some of the design elements that resonate with us from our travels into our own homes. I relish the thought of returning to Barbados (the island of the flying fish); a glorious way to indulge the senses in real time and build up that reservoir of happy place memories and moments for years to come.

For more information on the beach houses in Barbados Skeete’s Bay Beach and Culpepper Island, go to beachhouses.bb

Inspired by beauty in all its forms, Toronto-based RENO & DECOR editor, Silvana Longo combines her love of design and travel, exploring trends in interiors and stunning destinations around the globe. writerbydesign.ca

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Broccolini breaks ground at River & Fifth

Broccolini breaks ground at River & Fifth Condos in Toronto’s Corktown neighbourhood

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Broccolini breaks ground at River & Fifth Condos in Toronto’s Corktown neighbourhood

Montreal-based developer Broccolini has broken ground at River & Fifth Condos, a new condo development at Dundas St. E. & River St. in Toronto’s Corktown neighbourhood. Comprising 37-storeys and 560 units in one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts, the project is due for completion in 2023.

Broccolini is a family-owned business in operation for more than 70 years now. “While our name is relatively new in Toronto, in Montreal we have been an active partner in the city’s growth for many decades, with some of the most exciting projects, including the tallest mixed-use tower in the city and new national bank head-office, currently under development,” says Chief Operating Officer Anthony Broccolini.

“Using our family name on our projects means a lot to us and reflects our commitment to excellence in everything we build,” he adds. “We’re unique in that commitment as we wear the two hats of this industry – both the construction side and developer side. It is this track record that we bring to Toronto. River & Fifth is a really special project because it marks our first residential tower property in Toronto, and we feel really grateful it can be in a neighbourhood with so much promise and connected to greenspace and public parks.”

River & Fifth is located in downtown east, an area already undergoing significant development of greenspace, parks and other public spaces, given its proximity to the Don River.

“It’s a great opportunity to do city-building in a way that we can be proud of and create value for the city and for residents,” says Broccolini.

River & Fifth is designed by Graziani + Corazza Architects Inc., with design from U31 Design and sales by the Milborne Group.

broccolini.com

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Downtown Toronto

Toronto still one of the fastest growing cities in North America – even with the impact of COVID-19

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Toronto still one of the fastest growing cities in North America – even with the impact of COVID-19

Toronto was the fastest growing metropolitan area in Canada and the U.S. last year, overtaking Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington, Tex., according to new data from the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development (CUR) at Ryerson University.

Downtown Toronto
Photo: Wayne Karl

And even though Toronto will take a hit as a result of COVID-19, it is still expected to be one of the top cities in North America.

Toronto was the only Canadian metropolitan area in the top five; Montreal was sixth and Vancouver twelfth.

Metro Toronto grew by 127,575 persons in 2019, outpacing Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington, which grew by 117,380 persons, to become the fastest growing metropolitan area in all of the U.S. and Canada.

Short-term impact

The research for this latest report was conducted prior to COVID, covering the period of July 2018 to July 2019, so the results are likely to change over the next year, CUR says.

“COVID is estimated to drop immigration (to Toronto) by half this year,” Diana Petramala, senior CUR researcher told Condo Life. “Therefore, this will likely push Toronto down the list of fastest growing cities.

“Toronto’s main strength is immigration, whereas places like Dallas are benefiting from millennials leaving more expensive areas like New York. Toronto, however, will continue to do better than New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – areas that are seeing large outflows of millennials in search of more affordable housing and jobs.”

The impact of COVID in Toronto will be short term, Petramala adds. “Immigration is still allowed, so as other countries move out of lockdown and processing offices open up and airlines start flying again, you will like see a snap back in immigration.”

Outpacing New York

Toronto, in fact, had almost three times the population growth from immigration as New York in 2019. Both regions experienced a loss in resident population to other areas (domestic net migration), but the rate was four times faster in New York.

In terms of population growth on a city basis, as opposed to the metropolitan area (GTA), Toronto (45,742 persons) and Montreal (31,565) represented the two fastest growing cities in all of the U.S. and Canada over the study period. Overall, Canadian cities represented 11 of the top 20 central cities in the U.S. and Canada in population growth, with Calgary, Ottawa and Edmonton placing fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

While the city of Toronto’s population grew by 45,742, New York City’s decreased by 53,264.


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