This 19th century rooming house on King Street West at Strachan, once home to poor men, will soon be sharing space with a 14-storey apartment building, designed by Sweeny and Company Architects for International Capital.The facades of this old hotel and neighbouring houses will remain. There’ll be no underground parking; the affordable housing space will be 15,000-square feet; apartment rental fees will depend on incomes; and the immediate neighbours aren’t exactly keen.
FRANK GEHRY <in the foreground>, who was born in Toronto and is based in Los Angeles, has since developed a second-to-none international career. Now he’s planning to erect 298-metre-high and 267-metre-high skyscrapers in the heart of Toronto’s Financial and Theatre Districts.FRANK GEHRY – “I wanted to create an ensemble of buildings that were respectful to the city and referential to the Toronto that I once knew. I want the two towers to each have their own personality, but I also want them to talk to each other, creating a dynamic and changing addition to the skyline depending from where you were viewing them,” added Gehry, who will be 92 at the end of February/2021.Initially the project plan was three towers, but this all changed and the Princes of Wales Theatre was saved. The former plan was undertaken by well-known Torontonian, David Mirvish, who sold the project in 2017 to developer Great Gulf. That company is now working on the scheme with Westdale Properties and Dream Unlimited.Frank Gehry is coming home to help create a new skyline for the city he loves. — “He is the heart and soul of the project,” said Westdale Properties COO Mitchell Cohen.
According to CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association) both cities remain Canada’s most expensive housing markets. In Greater Toronto the average seasonal price of a home was $941,100. In Greater Vancouver – just over $1-million.Single family home prices rose 2.6% month-over-month and 17.4% year-over-year. Apartment prices advanced by a smaller 0.2% month-over-month and decreased 3.3% year-over-year, TD Economics said in a statement after CREA released its report. Sales activity for the month were up 35.2% from January 2020.Rentals – The median price for a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto is currently $2,340 and in Vancouver it’s $2,630, which is down 21.5% and 12% over last year.
The Globe and Mail has delivered three solid pages of what’s happening in Canada’s real estate market. The market has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rachelle Younglai did the reporting. Some highlights below . . . .
ATLANTIC CANADA is a big winner. People are flocking to the East Coast. Average selling price of a home in Nova Scotia $331,429; Halifax $400,000; New Brunswick about $200,000, including Saint John and Fredericton; Newfoundland and Labrador – bigger properties with ocean views; Prince Edward Island above $300,000.TORONTO – average selling price – nearly $930,000.HAMILTON, Ontario – house prices topping $700,000 – not so affordable any more. 63 months to save a down payment on a Hamilton house.DOWNTOWN MONTREAL – apartment vacancy 10.2%; metropolitan area 2.7%CITY OF TORONTO – 7.3%; metropolitan area 3.4%VANCOUVER – 6.3%; versus 2.6%IMMIGRATION – plunged 46% to 184,370; lowest level of permanent new residents in more than two decades.
Amherst Head is alluring in spring, summer and autumn – but winter can often be a challenge, although a rural winter can be spectacular. Access in one way or another to tractors, snow blowers or plows would no doubt be essential if you live there. Without one of them you could be housebound. Shoveling your way out means an endless confrontation. <photo by Sharon & Peter Smith, Amherst Head>
There are now two modular supportive buildings within Toronto’s Phase One for the homeless. The latest has opened at 321 Dovercourt Road, preceded by the first at 11 Macey Avenue. These 44 new studio apartments will be part of the 2020-21 winter service plan, to ensure safe places for people facing winter’s cold.Mayor JOHN TORY – “Modular Housing has proven to be a quick and efficient way to increase the supply of affordable housing in our city. These sites provide vulnerable residents with a safe, stable, and welcoming place to call home, and access vital supports and services. Building affordable housing in Toronto has been a top priority for me, but I know this cannot be done on our own,”Canada’s federal government provided funding for the project, and the Province of Ontario got the homes built as quickly as possible.The new structure is three-storeys high and includes a common room, dining room, program space, administrative offices, and a commercial kitchen that can provide on-site meals for residents. Each apartment comes with a built-in kitchen, microwave and fridge. They’re furnished with a twin bed, a lounge chair, a dining table and chairs, and a dresser. <PHOTOS – City of Toronto>
Having worked for about 30 years near the intersection of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue, I’ve seen this neighbourhood spread and heighten. It’s now evolving full speed ahead, with a possible massive mixed-use complex of five office and residential skyscrapers. Oxford Properties, one of Canada’s major developing companies, has submitted a Zoning By-law Amendment application to the City in hopes of developing 9.2-acres in Midtown.<Photo above – Eglinton-Yonge, more or less as it is now> The project would take over a block already occupied by three office buildings. They’ll be demolished, along with an elevated parking garage. The Crosstown LRT is being assembled under and above ground, making Eglinton-Yonge a prime interconnection for the Line Number One subway, and several TTC bus routes.<Rendering above – 9.2-acre site with a 3 million square foot mixed-use masterplan. Image – Oxford Properties.> Renowned architects Pelli Clarke Pelli will work with designers in the north precinct, and Toronto’s well-known and much admired Hariri Pontarini Architects will take on the south. Pelli Clarke Pelli has designed the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the International Finance Centre in Hong Kong, and other of the world’s tallest skyscrapers.
The production numbers are impressive and so are the sales numbers. No other carmaker saw a 40% increase in sales as Tesla did in 2020. By January 2nd, 2021 a total of nearly 500,000 cars had come off the line. Its stock was added to the S&P 500 Index. The stock price ended last year at more than $700, up from less than $100 in 2019.Tesla has ramped up production at a Chinese factory, and sales growth there has increased. China’s sales growth is within the world’s largest market for electric and conventional cars. The company is also building factories near Berlin and Austin, Texas. <Photo above – Derek Gee, Buffalo News>There are only 11 Tesla stores in Canada, four of which are in the City of Toronto and suburban Oakville. Addresses – 1325 Lawrence Avenue; Yorkdale Shopping Centre; Sherway Gardens; and 225 Wyecroft Road in Oakville.
Why is it so engaged? KOSSI, one of three ‘sniffer dogs’ has been greeting passengers at the Helsinki Airport since September/2020. Using their keen noses, they smell the sweat of travelers, searching for coronavirus tracks. The ‘doggie threesome’ has already smelled more than 4,000 passengers, and their noses have done very well indeed.The tests by the dogs take less than a minute. They’re cheaper than other methods, and more fun.If a trained dog detects the coronavirus it makes a specific sound. Employees then inform the passenger that he or she may be infected. The forewarned individual heads for the airport’s health centre for a free swab test. The dog gets a treat and moves onto the next wipe.