THERE’S STILL REAL MONEY IN TORONTO REAL ESTATE. INTEGRAL HOUSE SELLS FOR $18,000,000.

One of the most famous houses in TORONTO and North America has just sold for $18-million, along with a $13-million home in Forest Hill, and a $9-million condominium in Yorkville. In this pandemic market, these would seem to be all positive signs. Integral House was commissioned by the late mathematician and musician JAMES STEWART. Five storeys tall, it was finished in 2009, built into the side of a Rosedale ravine. It cost around $24-30-million to build, plus an additional $5.4-million for the original home which was torn down. GLENN LOWRY, director of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, calls the house “one of the most important private houses built in North America.”  The 18,000-square-foot curvaceous home has 5 floors, a concert space, a stairwell ensconced in handblown blue glass, and heated limestone floors. It took six years to build. The concert space seats 150. Small theatre groups, music festivals, dance companies and fashion designers have all used the house for fundraisers and/or concerts.  JAMES STEWART passed away on Wednesday, December 3/2014 from a rare form of cancer. “My books and my house are my twin legacies. If I hadn’t commissioned the house, I’m not sure what I would have spent the money on,” he once said.  <INTERIOR PHOTOS by James Dow, Edmonton, Alberta>

TORONTO IS KNOWN FOR ITS “INDIVIDUALIZED HOUSES” – HERE ARE TEN CITY-WIDE EXAMPLES OUT OF MANY

<LESLIE & BOND STREETS><LITTLE COTTAGE, BRIGHT STREET, INDIE88 photo><CRAVEN ROAD HOUSE, Greenwood/Coxwell neighbourhood – TORONTO LIFE photo><TORONTO ISLANDS, photo – SANDRO GRANELLA><INTEGRAL HOUSE, Rosedale, PHILIP CASTLETON photo><TINY BUNGALOW – FLICKR><WOOD CAKE HOUSE, Clinton Street><SKINNY HOUSE – photo TORONTO STAR><HALF HOUSE, ST. PATRICK STREET, photo HUFFINTON POST><CASTLE HOME – MAYBOURNE ROAD, photo CTV NEWS>

AN UP-AND-COMING , EVER-GROWING LIST OF TORONTO’S MASS TIMBER CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

<ABOVE – 77 Wade Avenue by BNKC Architecture & Urban Design, will be a hybrid of timber, concrete and steel. With seven storeys it also aims to be Canada’s tallest mass timber commercial structure. Wade Avenue is near the Lansdowne subway station on downtown’s west side.><ABOVE – T3 Bayside by 3XN. The Danish firm plans to construct a 10-storey office building – possibly the tallest such building in North America. Occupancy is expected in late 2021.><TORONTO Tree Tower by Penda is a proposal for an 18-storey residential tower constructed of prefab modular panels with patio garden spaces creating a tower of greenery. Plans have not been announced.><Now open and fully functioning where Yonge Street meets Charles, the Shoppers Drug Mart Flagship store by BrookMcilroy. Construction began in 2016, and the heritage aspects of the building have been carefully preserved.<It’s a beauty.>

WE SELDOM GIVE OLD CITY HALL A GLANCE, BUT UP CLOSE IT’S ONE FINE BUILDING

TORONTO’s population in the 1880’s was about 100,000, and the city fathers believed it was time to erect a public building that stood out from all the others. They hired E.J. Lennox, a local architect, to create a $200,000 court house, which soon expanded to a $1.5-million courthouse and city hall. The good fathers were shocked.Work began in 1889, and kept on going for the next 10 years. Lennox attended 520 meetings, arguing with politicians about the mounting bills. Finally in 1907 the final bill arrived, calculated on six sheets of paper. The tab – $242,870.82, with $181,255.71 still owing. That was serious cash in those days.E.J. Lennox was originally supposed to take home $68,000, but additional duties brought a hefty additional paycheck. He finally pocketed $120,000. Lennox also managed to leave his marks on the building – his engraved smiling face for one, and a string of letters spelling out E.J. Lennox Architect along all four sides of the structure.Just desserts for the penny-pinching city councillors.

TORONTO, KNOWN AS A CITY OF CHURCHES, HAS FOUND NEW USES FOR SEVERAL OF THEM

   Written and photographed by RICHARD LONGLEY – With land so expensive in this city, and an ongoing need for new housing, some elderly churches have been turned into condos. The Third Church of Christ Scientist, 196 St. George Street, for instance now crouches beneath a 20-storey, 169-unit condo tower.College Street Baptist Church, 510 College Street, is one of Toronto’s most luxurious adaptations. Heritage brickwork and gargoyles have been conserved, and one unit sold for $10.95-million.Deer Park United, 26 Delisle, was partly demolished, leaving only its tower and sections of its side walls. Plans are for a 28-storey, 292-unit condo tower and town houses with stones from the demolished church incorporated into the walls.Howard Park Methodist, 384 Sunnyside, no concierge, pool or gym and walls that are four feet thick. An interesting mix of residents, and a congenial condo board.Bathurst Street United Church, 736 Bathurst St. was once a theatre, now it’s the Randolph Theatre and College, cited by the Ontario Heritage Trust as a prime example of adaptive use of places of worship. ‘From Churches to Condos’, NOW Magazine, June 6, 2019

TWO MATCHING HOMES IN TORONTO’S GREEKTOWN – ONE TO LIVE IN; THE OTHER COULD BE FOR RENT

Architects Peter McNeil and Clarissa Nam, the co-founders of COMN Architects, have created this solution for their own housing needs on a tight budget. “In the City of Toronto, single-family detached homes have become out of reach for many, and intensification efforts have come mainly in the form of high-rise condominiums,” they observed.“There is a lack of medium density, ground-related housing options, often referred to as the missing middle.” <PHOTOS – Doublespace Photography>

IN THE FALL OF 1987 I WAS IN PARIS STUDYING FRENCH, WHEN UP POPPED AN EXHIBIT CELEBRATING TORONTO

MADELEINE CZIGLER, McLeans Magazine, October 28/1987 (edited) – “Opening for the next two weeks – an architectural celebration of TORONTO the Beautiful. Le Nouveau Nouveau Monde (The New New World), the first show about a foreign city in the spacious headquarters of the French Order of Architects.The exhibit featured the Toronto-Dominion Centre and 18 other projects built since 1965, that have won rave reviews from French journalists and architects. Remi Lopez, president of the French Order praised TORONTO as “an exemplary showcase for the harmonious blending of the old with the new.”<I Xeroxed a bunch of newspaper articles published in Le Monde,  and distributed them to my French class.> The influential Paris daily wrote that Toronto has integrated “comfort, urban scale and the mixture of functions. It’s a city ahead of its time.” The show was organized by Toronto architects Ruth Cawker and George Baird, and urban planner George Kapelos, who said “There has been an explosion on all levels in Toronto.”  Up to then, Montreal was the city that the French public associated with Canada.<PHOTO ABOVE – Toronto in the 1980’s>  With this show, French awareness of TORONTO architects had increased dramatically. Frédérique Boitard, for one, who studied urban planning and architecture at the University of Toronto, who was then developing the site of Europe’s first Disneyland outside Paris, said “There has been an explosion on all levels in Toronto. It’s time for me to visit the city again.”

FRENCH ACTOR, JACQUES TATI, FORESAW THE FUTURE IN HIS 1967 COMEDY MASTERPIECE ‘PLAYTIME’

Given the forest of high-rise office & condo buildings in downtown TORONTO, ‘Playtime’ seems like an appropriate copy.  It’s set partly in a PARIS glass and steel office building.Jacques Tati (playing Monsieur Hulot) arrives for an important meeting, but gets lost in a maze of rooms, ending up in a trade exhibition of lookalike office designs and furniture.The old Paris touch is a brief reflection of the Eiffel Tower in a glass window. A heritage structure if there ever was one.  ‘Playtime’ is a wonderful film.  <ABOVE – living in a grid of television screensHeavy traffic BELOW>