Toronto and its surroundings are getting lots of criticism for skyrocketing costs in the battle to try and secure homes in smaller towns and cities – not to forget farmers and others who depend on tourism. ‘Toronto Life’ headlines what’s going on above – “a market gone berserk; over-asking hysteria; million-dollar dumps; rabid bidding wars; sight-and-unseen offers.” The big city in the south, that’s Greater Toronto, has become the cherry-on-top amongst realters, and it’s now being grilled by the press. Is the city to blame for this? Data in the Globe and Mail puts it – “Toronto buyers are behind the uptick in house prices across Ontario.”With images like these in the back of our minds, some thoughts were forthcoming from Rachelle Younglai in a June 5th Globe story. First off, multiple offers are common now in much of Ontario. – “Torontonians are contributing to the spike in real estate prices in cottage country and smaller Ontario cities. (They are) driving up the prices . . . and have helped (increase them) on residential properties.” It’s true that there are some higher paying jobs in Toronto, but along with those are much higher costs to afford a big city roof over our heads. <Photo above – by Dreamstime> A Teranet Study, which analyzed mortgage activity in the provincial land registry, found that Torontonians and the rest of the province spent similar amounts if a condo was involved. The study found that a Toronto condo owner spent an average of $523,000 on a condo outside the city in 2020, compared to the provincial average of $505,000. According to the study, migrating Torontonians are busy increasing growth of the Simcoe Region and Cottage Country to the north, along with Durham to the east.
“The pendulum might now have swung too far”, wrote the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) economists Benjamin Tan and Royce Mendes. That was applied to Toronto when 50,400 people left the city for other parts of Ontario – Cottage Country, small towns and rural areas. As in America, some families are having second thoughts about heading back, or staying put in countryside towns. New York City is again embracing those who fled to the hinterland or the middle of nowhere when the pandemic hit really hard. Jason Kirby in the Globe and Mail’s ‘Report on Business’ writes . . . . . . . . “In its most recent analysis of housing market imbalances and household debt, the Bank of Canada looked at markets in scores of postal codes in and around Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa. It found that the farther you went from those city centres, the hotter the market.” “A lot may depend on how accommodating employers decide to be when it comes to continuing remote work arrangements. CIBC economists found that many employers expect their workers to return to the office full time when this is over.” The city is waiting, and daily commutes may be approaching.
By JULIA MASTROIANNNI – “Some of the most interesting buildings and developments are slated to go up in the next few years and will transform how we experience the cityscape – for better or for worse. From developments billed as sustainable to future skyline icons and hyped neighbourhood game-changers, we looked at projects that will alter the city in environmental and aesthetic ways, impact the city’s heritage buildings and attempt to address the affordable housing crisis.” 1 – The One, 1 Bloor West – Foster + Partners, Core Architects. This condominium tower will become a skyline icon – and the tallest building in Canada. and the second-tallest man-made structure in the country after the CN Tower. 2 – St. Lawrence Market North, 92 Front Street East, City of Toronto, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Adamson Associates Architects. Much-anticipated St. Lawrence Market North building has been over 10 years in the making. The development will combine courtrooms, offices and a large market in the open hall that will continue to operate as a covered, outdoor marketplace that can be adjusted to the seasons. 3 – The Arbour – 185 Queens Quay East, One of Toronto’s first large span mass wood structures will also make a mark on the skyline. Who is involved: George Brown College, Moriyama & Teshima, Acton Ostry Architects. 4 – One Delisle – 1 Delisle (St. Clair), Studio Gang Architects, WZMH Architects, Creating a new green-focused model for future residential buildings. Studio Gang is designing the unique structure of this 47-storey condo building, which is billed as a sustainability first for the city. One Delisle meets Tier 1 of the Toronto Green Standard, a set of sustainability requirements for new private and city-owned developments proposed after 2018. 5 – Mirvish Village – 581 Bloor West. Those involved – City of Toronto, federal government, Mirvish Village BIA, neighbouring resident associations, Henriquez Partners Architects and Diamond Schmitt Architects. Many residents were sad to see discount store Honest Ed’s go in 2017, and years of work and community consultation went into the planning of the current development, which will include heritage elements, retail, residential, green space and affordable housing. 6 – The ORCA Project – 433 Front Street West, Who is involved: Moshe Safdie, PWP Landscape Architecture, Sweeney & Co Architects, City of Toronto. The most complex construction would create a skybridge fortress. Mayor John Tory has been aiming for this since 2016 in favour of the ORCA Project (which stands for Over Rail Corridor Area). A Rail Deck Park would have transformed the 21-acre space above a central rail corridor into a massive park, covering Bathurst to Blue Jays Way West along Front. Now, the proposed $5 billion ORCA Project, a private developer’s plan to turn the space above the rail corridor into a sky community, will become the most complex construction in the history of Canada – that is, if it actually gets built. For an additional five buildings go to the NOW magazine website. The address is https://nowtoronto.com/
These century-old heritage buildings at 153-185 Eastern Avenue in the West Don Lands are important parts of Canada’s industrial railway history. Councillor Wong-Tram is trying to save them.The structures owned by the Province of Ontario, were recently being demolished without any community consultation nor a formal notice to the City of Toronto. Councillor Wong-Tam successfully stopped demolition until a formal hearing could be put into place. City Council adopted her motion for the City Solicitor to seek court enforcement of the Ontario Heritage Act, along with an additional Plan of Subdivision with the City. Negotiations are underway and updates will be posted at this address – kristynwongtam.ca/respectlocalplanning
J. Kelly Nestruck and Kate Taylor on Saturday, May 15th, examined some of Canada’s biggest art endowments and why they haven’t been making full use of them. There are funding restrictions, investment policies and the up-and-down health of the stock market – key roles in decision-making as what and where to Draw from the Endowments. A few of the Endowments below – Toronto Symphony Orchestra – $41.1-million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. The Art Gallery of Ontario, $84.4-million endowments along with another $23.5-million in assets. The Stratford Festival – a $93.9-million market value as of February 28, 2021, along with about half in restricted funds for areas such as training, new play development and maintaining gardens. A much more complete story is in The Globe and Mail edition, Saturday, May 15, 2021.
City Council has approved YongeTOmorrow and a monumental transformation of our city’s main street from College to Queen will be taking place. Over the next four years two lanes of traffic will disappear, replaced by bikes, sidewalk patios, planters, street vendors and pedestrians. <photo above – City of Toronto>Local condo dwellers will no doubt enjoy the brand new Yonge. The city expects downtown Toronto to double its population in the next 20 years. <Rendering City of Toronto>From Spacing Magazine – “This proposal is largely triggered by the fact that one of Toronto’s oldest watermains, located underneath this part of Yonge Street, requires urgent renewal. Since the street will be torn up and put back together, there is a ‘build back better’ opportunity that will not come for another generation. This is a no-brainer that should have no opposition.” So there’s a good reason for doing it and City Council has approved 21 to 5 – first time in more than 100 years.
You won’t see this $500-million sports, media and entertainment venue at Toronto’s Exhibition Place until its’ opening in 2025. Location – four acres on the north side of Lake Shore Boulevard, across from the lands of Ontario Place. Besides providing a future meeting place for sports, media and entertainment, the project is expected to host over 200 events a year, primarily music and entertainment, but also conventions, corporate occasions, tournaments, product launches, award shows – and lots more. The big numbers – $500-million stadium; 7,000 seat hall; 400-room hotel – President of Overactive Media – CHRIS OVERHOLT, who launched The Air Canada Centre, one of Toronto’s biggest venues.
About two years ago NETFLIX set up a Toronto production hub, leasing studio spaces along the waterfront. The company recognized this city’s many talents, partners, international festivals and production crews, some of which also applies to Vancouver. In its forthcoming corporate office, Netflix expects 10 to 15 employees will be based in Toronto. First priority is hiring the Content Executive in June, who will work directly with creators, deciding on ideas for films and series.Other jobs will be posted in the careers section of the Netflix website.Toronto’s Mayor JOHN TORY said “a new Canadian office will call Toronto home! Our pitch: We’re a film friendly city that celebrates the screen industry. Quality and our talent pool diversity is unmatched. Our production and post-production industry is robust and expanding.”