‘THE WELL’ IS TORONTO’S LARGEST BUILDING SITE – EVER! WORK IS GOING ON DESPITE THE COLD

Through snow, wind, freezing rain, sleet and slush TORONTO’s enormous project, ‘The Well’, is going non-stop on Front Street at Spadina Avenue.

Several development companies and architects are involved in the project, which will contain a 36-storey office tower, six residential buildings, and 432,000 ft² of retail space. Spread over seven and a half acres, the development occupies space vacated by the Globe and Mail and car parks.

PHOTOS by Red Mars, a contributor to UrbanToronto.comhttp://urbantoronto.ca/news/2019/01/site-well-hive-construction-activity-despite-cold

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MAYOR TORY’S PLAN TO CONVERT SOME CITY-OWNED PARKING LOTS INTO AFFORDABLE HOUSING

<Surface parking lot, 3933 Keele Street; photo – MARK RICHARDSON>

DOWNTOWN TORONTO has very few surface parking lots, but that’s not the case in the inner and outer suburbs. There are at least eleven city-owned parking lots under consideration near transit hubs, which might become development sites.

Needless to say, there’ll be blowback to the Mayor’s Housing Now Initiative from drivers and some city councillors.

<ABOVE – one of three commuter parking lots at WILSON subway station has been declared surplus by the city, and might become an affordable housing development site – Google Maps/CBC>

Housing advocate MARK RICHARDSON “There have been councillors in the past who’ve pushed back against the closing of these parking lots. But they’re literally on top of transit stations, where dense housing needs to go.” <PHOTO – Martin Trainer, CBC News>

Mr. RICHARDSON has launched a website with a map and photos of underused parking lots that might qualify for the Mayor’s plan. Check out the map at this address –
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1ROhMQUHXmVMyeyXJcHT7eSuVLiSnwFQN&ll=43.70402728923885%2C-79.40693935000002&z=12

TORONTO, VANCOUVER, LONDON & SYDNEY PROPERTY MARKETS ARE LOSING TRACTION IT SEEMS

What went up is coming down, according to the Globe and Mail’s ‘Report on Business’, January 12/2019. The real estate boom is cooling around the world, and CANADA’s two top real estate markets are decelerating.

In SYDNEY residential property values have dropped 8.9%
LONDON prices in prime neighbourhoods have been lowered by 20%
NEW YORK median prices fell 5.8% in 2018
Greater TORONTO Area (GTA) total home sales fell 16% in 2018
Average TORONTO home prices slid 4.3%
In the VANCOUVER region housing sales dropped by 31.6%
Benchmark VANCOUVER home prices slipped 2.7%

The Swiss investment bank UBS, warned in a recent report that in both TORONTO and VANCOUVER “rising rates, stricter market regulations or an economic downturn could put the lights out on the party, given the high valuations and strained affordability.”

VERY MUCH A DOWNTOWN UNIVERSITY, RYERSON IS PLANNING YET ANOTHER TOWER

<IMAGE – an aerial rendering showing the 202 Jarvis neighbourhood; City of TORONTO>

Over the past few years RYERSON UNIVERSITY has been building and rebuilding a number of architecturally significant additions to its downtown core campus.

The latest – and possibly last because of a land squeeze – will be a 41-storey tower designed by Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen Architects & TORONTO’s Zeidler Partnership Architects. The address, if approved, will be 202 Jarvis Street.

PHOTO ABOVE by steveve – another of Ryerson University’s projects is the Centre for Urban Innovation, still under construction.

The Centre combines old and new structures fronting on residential McGill Street and Gerrard Street East. The designers – Moriyama and Teshima Architects.

<PHOTO ABOVE – the Ontario College of Pharmacy, 1887, once occupied the Innovation Centre site.  It was demolished. City of Toronto Archives>

PHOTO ABOVE was taken by Craig White in 2018. It’s an aerial view of the 27-storey Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex under construction on Church Street, north of Dundas.

Among its features – an 8th floor green roof, which will triple the Ryerson Urban Farm’s yield of vegetables; a much-needed student residence expected to be finished by March/2019, with accommodation for 332; podium levels dedicated to nursing, nutrition, midwifery, occupational and public health.

TORONTO HAD QUITE A YEAR IN 2018, WITH A FEW NASTY BUMPS ALONG THE WAY

JANUARY/2018
‘The Shape of Water”, winner of 4 Oscars, was shot entirely in TORONTO and HAMILTON: Regent Cinema (formerly The Crest) went up for sale; Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. West, was rescued from oblivion by local business owners, music promoters, and the West End community itself; Theatre Passe Muraille, founded in 1968, celebrated its 50th birthday; CNN (Style) International voted TORONTO “a design-savvy city to watch in 2018); King Street streetcar pilot project increased morning rush hour transit ridership by as much as 25% – a gain of 16,000 additional riders; much-loved ‘Sam The Record Man’ sign spun its discs again above Yonge-Dundas Square, after a decade of negotiating and restoring; Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, presented the magnificent Bruschettini Carpet Collection, one of the most important private collections of Islamic art in the world; Stink Bugs invaded the Annex. More and more of them are setting up house in TORONTO.

FEBRUARY/2018
University of TORONTO celebrated 200 years of Valentine’s Day cards; Yonge-Dundas Square’s Digital Signage Project installed 10 new high-definition screens: CIBC, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce announced plans to move its headquarters to the new financial district’s South Core sometime around 2021; Tapes of four GLENN GOULD studio sessions were released by Sony Classical – ‘Treasures for the Taking’; Archives of TORONTO opened a large exhibition on the city’s inner suburbs during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s; TORONTO at last imposed a 4% new tax on hotels and short-term accommodations; Syrian food suddenly became very popular in TORONTO.

MARCH/2018
After a 14-year, $128-million renovation, ST. MICHAEL’S CATHEDRAL BASILICA, 65 Bond Street, became resplendent again; socially aware millennials are adopting rescue dogs – among them survivors of Hurricane Harvey in HOUSTON; an awesome collection of historic photos of TORONTO is now at your fingertips after great efforts by the City of Toronto Archives & Google’s Sidewalk Labs; Chicago’s mural artist JUSTUS ROE III, in a partnership with STEPS Initiative, painted up the gray concrete Roncy (Roncesvailles) Pedestrian Bridge; The Stratford-Perth Museum opened an exhibit dedicated to the life of famous hometown hero JUSTIN BIEBER; ‘Vital Signs Report/2018’ painted a clear picture that quality of life in this city varies depending on the neighbourhood, income, race, immigration status, gender, sexual identity, and age.

APRIL/2018
Leslie Barns opened to service and house 100 of the TTC’s fleet of 204 Flexity Outlook LRT vehicles; After six years and millions of dollars, both the Hot Docs Cinema and the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival returned a profit; a terrorist van attack on Yonge Street in North York took 12 lives and wounded several; Terra Cotta House, 20 Jerome Street, built in 1905, is now a landmark, and the neighbourhood wants it saved; ‘The Well’ was named TORONTO’s biggest and deepest construction site on Spadina Avenue at Front Street.

MAY/2018
For the first time in 15 years the TORONTO Zoo gave birth to six Arctic Wolf pups; After a 30-year search, Massey Hall’s Bach and Beethoven stained glass windows were found wrapped up in the basement of Roy Thomson Hall; Iconic One Spadina Crescent, 143 years old in 2018, has been restored and now houses University of TORONTO’s School of Architecture; with the death of WILL ALSOP, 70, TORONTO lost an ‘architectural friend’ in 2018, best known for the Sharp Centre for Design; the annual LGBTQ Film Festival – ‘Inside Out’ – became one of the largest in the world; Windsor Arms Hotel, 18 St. Thomas Street, in the Yorkville/Bloor West neighbourhood, has been refreshed and re-opened for business; a new financial hub – Southcore – is rapidly growing south of Union Station.

JUNE/2018
Donald Trump lowered the boom and started a trade war with Canada; eyeball to eyeball, an exasperated German Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL stared down Donald Trump at Quebec’s G-7 Summit; another birth at the Zoo – 46-year-old Charles & 20-year-old Ngozi delivered a baby Western Lowland gorilla; the TORONTO Reference Library mounted an exhibit on Canadian comic book superheroes; a Progressive Conservative majority government, headed by Doug Ford, a controversial premier to say the least, won the provincial election.

JULY/2018
Yorkdale, TORONTO’s most successful shopping destination, is reducing its carbon footprint with an array of solar panels; a mass shooting on Danforth Avenue took two lives and wounded fourteen; Ryerson University’s City Building Institute examined TORONTO streets and found some great ones; the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough told Americans how to have sex in a canoe; MOMA MARKOVICH (1902-1977) captured Ontario’s transportation history, one painting at a time.

AUGUST/2018
The Royal Ontario Museum re-opened its Avenue Road entrance; Regina-born Murray Westgate, Esso’s ‘Happy Motoring’ television spokesman passed away; the Canadian National Exhibition, 140 years old, opened; the Ottawa Art Gallery re-opened in an impressive new building; the 150-year-old St. Charles clocktower was saved and will be part of a new Yonge Street development.

SEPTEMBER/2018
Mississauga, TORONTO’s neighbour, landed a 260,000 square-foot television production centre to open in 2019; Shary Boyle’s 11-foot-tall vessel with legs was installed at the Gardiner Museum; Sugar Beach umbrellas moved north and connected with Daniels City of the Arts; cyclists were using pool noodles to keep cars at a safe distance; Scabrorough’s Guild Park displayed architectural relics from TORONTO’s past; Paris unveiled the Uritrottoir – the Sidewalk Urinal; TORONTO welcomed a bevy of movie folks to the annual International Film Festival.

OCTOBER/2018
Mayor John Tory scored a huge re-election victory, thanks partly to Doug Ford; Westbank and Allied Properties got approval for a very big and distinct development on King Street West; city council was cut in half by Premier Doug Ford; University of TORONTO’s School of Cities partnered with India’s Tata Trusts to open a research centre in India; on October 17th marijuana usage became legal from coast-to-coast-to-coast in Canada; in 2018 the TORONTO Dance Theatre celebrated a half-century of extraordinary creativity; the Royal Ontario Museum began building 5,000 square-feet of exterior space, gardens, outdoor seating, and an open-air stage; the MZTV Television Museum in Liberty Village opened an exhibit on the forgotten television genius Philo T. Farnsworth; the TTC kept trying to keep drivers out of the Queens Quay streetcar tunnel; Canadians pondered whether or not they’d won the NAFTA agreement with the US and Mexico; an artist studio building on Dufferin Street was demolished.

NOVEMBER/2018
Ontario Place lights up with work by 20 local artists; TORONTO Transit Commission (TTC) took delivery of its first new generation hybrid electric buses; a Magnetic Levitation train could be on its way to the Zoo; Premier Doug Ford revealed his plan for the province to take over TORONTO’s subway; TORONTO Public Library created a digital map celebrating the works of local poets; the first phase of Daniels Waterfront City of the Arts opened for business; TORONTO racked up an all-time record of 95 deaths from gun violence; the El Mocambo neon sign was re-installed; the New York Times wrote about TORONTO’s notorious Matharoo sisters; Manulife displayed 11,800 Canadian flags on its lawn for Remembrance Day; Richard Florida said TORONTO Is a ‘city state’ and should start acting like one; in the mid-terms Democrats won the House of Representatives in Washington DC; TORONTO did not win the Amazon HQ2 competition; the Art Gallery of Ontario raised $2-million for Canada’s first permanent Yahoi Kusama ‘Infinity Room’; the annual Santa Claus Parade was another huge success.

DECEMBER/2018
The Prince Edward Viaduct is now 100 years old; TORONTO Community Housing staggered under a debt load; attendance records on the new subway stations showed Highway407 & Downsview Park aren’t performing that well; construction for Barbara Ann Scott Park downtown was well underway; imaginative designs for skyscrapers began to appear; Sidewalk Labs released its development plan for Waterfront TORONTO’s Quayside neighbourhood; and TORONTO went Christmas shopping.

<ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, 2018 has been a very good year for our great city.  MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE & ALL!>

TORONTO COMMUNITY HOUSING CORP. IS STAGGERING UNDER A DEBT LOAD – WITH NO END IN SIGHT

Dumped on the city by former premier MIKE HARRIS and his Progressive Conservatives a couple of decades ago, Toronto Community Housing Corp. (TCHC) is now in way over its head.

home to 110,000 tenants
number of properties – 2,100
massive repair backlog
broken units closed, communities fractured
bouts of poor management
projected repairs – $1.6-billion over 10 years
value of public assets owned by TCHC – about $9-billion

PADMAPPER (AN APT. HUNTING WEBSITE) REPORTS TORONTO IS NOW CANADA’S #1 HIGH RENTAL CITY

The top ten Canadian cities for median MONTHLY rentals of 1-bedroom apartments, December/2018 – #1 TORONTO ($2,260); #2 VANCOUVER ($2,100); #3 BURNABY ($1,570); #4 MONTREAL ($1,450); #5 VICTORIA ($1,390); #6 BARRIE ($1,210); #7 KELOWNA ($1,250); #8 OTTAWA ($1,250); #9 OSHAWA ($1,200); #10 HAMILTON ($1,180).

TORONTO continues to reign as the most expensive city in the country with one-bedroom rents growing 1.8% to $2,260 while two bedrooms increased a slight 0.7% to $2,850. Notably, two bedroom rent is up 15.9% since this time last year.

VANCOUVER remained second with one-bedroom rents decreasing 0.5% to $2,100, while two bedrooms dropped 0.3% to $3,150.

HAMILTON, Ontario moved up two spots with one-bedroom rents jumping 5.4% to $1,180, while two bedrooms saw more modest growth, up 2.1% to $1,450.

To search the rental market in both Canada and the United States on PADMAPPER visithttps://www.padmapper.com/