Category Archives: City Scenes: random snapshots of Toronto

City Scene: $28M condo penthouse in the clouds

Four Seasons Toronto $28 million condo penthouse

Penthouse in the mist: Clouds and fog swirl around the top floors of the Four Seasons Toronto Hotel & Residences tower in this photo shot this afternoon.  The skyscraper, which is under construction in Yorkville,  made headlines last month when an undisclosed buyer from outside the country purchased the 9,038-square-foot 55th floor penthouse for $28 million — the highest price ever paid for a condo anywhere in Canada. But as today’s weather proved, money can’t buy everything — especially a glorious penthouse view on a rainy day.



City Scene: A BIXI mix-up

BIXI bike station at Jarvis & Charles Streets

April 30 2011: Notwithstanding what the signage says, this new BIXI public bike rental station (sans bicycles) is actually at Jarvis & Isabella Streets


Big oops!: Things could get off to a confusing start four tourists and even many city residents when Toronto’s new BIXI public bike system launches on Tuesday. The sign on the bike rental station installed this week at the northeast corner of Jarvis and Isabella Streets is mislabelled as “Yonge St & Dundonald St,” which is actually four blocks away to the southwest. I didn’t have time to hike over to Yonge & Dundonald today to see if the station there is marked “Jarvis St & Isabella St” or something else, but can only presume that at least one other station has been installed in the wrong place. Hopefully they will get the station signs sorted out before Tuesday … as well as their website map that indicates rental station locations. Neither the Jarvis & Isabella nor the Yonge & Dundonald stations appear on the map, nor do any of the other dozen BIXI stations I saw while walking around downtown today.

City Scene: Toronto Hydro handwell replacements reduce risk of shock for pedestrians & pets

Toronto Hydro handwell replacement on St Thomas Street

April 21 2011: Orange cones mark handwell replacement work on St Thomas Street, above, and along St Nicholas Street to the south (below)


Shocking but true: During the last decade, it’s been almost impossible to walk more than a few blocks in downtown Toronto without having to pass under scaffolding and alongside hoarding on sidewalks adjacent to building construction sites. And for most of the past three years, Yorkville-area pedestrians and shoppers have had to wind their way around construction activity as the Bloor Street Transformation Project gave the Mink Mile a major makeover. This year, there’s a new hazard for downtown walkers: crews cutting up sections of sidewalks to replace hydroelectric handwells in the pavement. Handwells are the metal plates that mark  access points for underground electrical service to streetlights, traffic lights, signs and other utilities.  Under certain conditions, these lids can become energized, transmitting shocks to pedestrians and animals that come in contact with them. In 2008 and 2009, at least two dogs died when they stepped on handwells and got electrocuted, while several people also received shocks, a February 2 2009 Toronto Star story reported. Last year, Toronto Hydro launched a handwell remediation program to replace the metal lids with non-conductive polymer concrete access panels. More than 15,000 handwells across the city are being inspected and replaced. The program is in full swing at the moment, and it’s common to encounter orange traffic cones and asphalt patches along downtown sidewalks where the panels are being changed. As if that’s not enough, sections of streets and sidewalks through Toronto are being dug up as the City launches its annual summer infrastructure construction program.  More than $130 million will be spent on maintenance and repairs to bridges, roads and sidewalks, along with sewer and watermain replacement. If you heading out for a walk, be sure to watch your step!


Toronto Hydro handwell replacement activity on St Nicholas Street

City Scene: The keys to X Condos

Realtor lockboxes at X Condos on Charles Street East

April 22 2011: Lockboxes containing keys to units for sale at X Condos


Keys to your next condo: Looking to buy a condo in the Bloor-Jarvis area? You’ll have lots of options on Charles Street East, where at least 23 suites are currently up for resale at the X Condos tower alone.  The photo above, taken at X Condos on Good Friday, shows real estate agent lockboxes containing keys to units listed for sale in the building.

The 44-storey condo tower is situated at 110 Charles Street East, on the northeast corner of Ted Rogers Way (aka Jarvis Street). The lowest-priced unit listed on the website on Friday was $319,900 for a 545-square-foot 1-bedroom on the 17th floor. The most expensive listing was $918,000 for a 2-bedroom plus den with three bathrooms on the 40th floor. Most suites are priced in the $400,000’s.

If you’re not interested in X Condos, but want to live in the same neighbourhood, there’s still plenty of choice: Couture Condos is under construction right next door, while X2 Condos is starting construction right across the street.


City Scenes: Digging itself into a deep hole

Couture Condos

February 8 2011: A Caterpillar 321C excavator digs at the top of a tall pile of earth in the southeast corner of the Couture Condos excavation site on Ted Rogers Way in the Bloor/Jarvis neighbourhood.


Couture Condos

February 8 2011: Foundation construction for the 44-storey condo tower proceeds on the northern two-thirds of the project site while excavation continues on the southern section, next to the X Condos tower.


Couture Condos excavation progress

February 16 2011: The huge mound of earth doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller


Couture Condos excavation and foundation construction

March 16 2011: The pile of earth in the southeast corner has shrunk considerably, and foundation construction has commenced at the southwest corner of the site.


Couture Condos excavation and foundation construction

March 16 2011: The Cat excavator sits at the P4 level of the Couture site — the lowest parking level for the highrise condo building.


Couture Condos excavation and foundation construction

March 24 2011: The Cat excavator gets a helping hand from above the day after a late March snowfall.


Couture Condos foundation constructio

April 2 2011: The excavation is nearly complete in the southeast corner as P4 foundation construction approaches the Cat excavator.


Couture Condos foundation construction

April 22 2011: With the excavation finished in the southeast corner, construction of the rest of the P4 level foundation proceeds quickly.


City Scene: Looking up — and down — at CityPlace

CN Tower viewed from Concord CityPlace


Looking both ways: The CN Tower is viewed through a gap between condo highrises at Concord CityPlace in this photo from March 29 2011 (above). The photo below, taken on November 2 2010, shows the view from the exact opposite direction — from one of the observation decks on the CN Tower.


CN Tower view of Concord CityPlace condo highrises

City Scene: A very Modern new view to the east along Richmond Street

The Modern on Richmond condo midrise

April 3 2011: Construction of The Modern on Richmond, a  condo midrise on Sherbourne Street, viewed from Richmond West at York Street


Focal point: Condo construction constantly changes views in the downtown area, particularly while a new skyscraper climbs higher on the skyline. But it isn’t just highrise towers that profoundly impact views and sightlines, as construction of The Modern on Richmond shows.  The midrise condo complex going up at the northeast corner of Sherbourne and Richmond Streets will be just 17 storeys tall when finished, but the building is already giving pedestrians in the Financial District a whole new perspective when they look east along Richmond. Just glance down Richmond from as far west as University Avenue, and your eyes will be drawn to a big red and white construction crane perched atop a concrete structure that looks like a giant wall blocking the road. That part of the condo actually extends along the east side of Sherbourne Street, but because Richmond Street jogs half a block to  the northwest as it crosses Jarvis Street, it creates the illusion that The Modern is being built right across Richmond. There’s more pics of The Modern’s construction progress in my February 3 2011 post.

The Modern on Richmond condo midrise

March 17 2011: The Modern viewed from the intersection of Church & Richmond