Category Archives: Neighbourhood Watch: What’s happening in specific city districts

Work starts on highrise apartment/condo addition to 42-year-old rental tower on Isabella Street

66 Isabella Street

February 12 2013: A construction crew begins cutting holes where new windows and balconies  will be installed …



66 Isabella

… on the southeast side of the 26-storey apartment tower at 66 Isabella Street



66 Isabella Street and 620 Church Street

The work is just the first phase of a project in which a 23-storey addition will be built next to the rental highrise (left) in place of the trees and lawn that have provided an open space at the northwest corner of Church and Isabella Streets for more than 40 years. Meanwhile, city approval is being sought for a 3-storey walk-up condo addition to the south and west sides of the Town Inn Suites at 620 Church (right) in a separate project that would fill in the remaining greenspace on the corner property between Charles and Isabella Streets.



Apartment tower add-on: The area around Church & Isabella Streets has been buzzing — literally — with the sounds of crews preparing a 42-year-old apartment tower for construction of a highrise addition that will contain 12 condo suites and 199 new rental units.

Workers started cutting holes in the south wall of the 66 Isabella Street building this week, the first step in reconfiguring apartments on the tower’s east side before a 23-storey addition is constructed only a few feet away.

The renovation work started last month, slightly more than two years after City planners released a preliminary report outlining issues that the project posed, and recommending that a community consultation meeting be called to get public input into the redevelopment proposal.




Promotions start for controversial 365 Church condo tower in low-rise McGill Granby Village

365 Church condo

January 28 2013: This sandwich board sign with a rendering of  the forthcoming 365 Church condo by Toronto developer Menkes


 365 Church condo

… has appeared on the development site, currently a surface parking lot at the northeast corner of Church & McGill Streets …


365 Church condo

… while this “pre-sale” promotional flyer has been distributed to hundreds of households in the area by a Thornhill, Ont.-based real estate brokerage firm.


Sales launch approaching: Promotional activity has begun to rev up for the 29-storey 365 Church condo tower that will rise in the heart of the McGill Granby Village low-rise neighbourhood near Church & Carlton Streets.

A “coming soon to this location” sandwich board sign, bearing an architectural rendering of the rectangular glass building that Menkes plans to build at 365-375 Church Street, was set up just in the past couple of days in the parking lot that presently occupies most of the development site. And last week, a Thornhill, Ontario real estate brokerage firm distributed flyers promoting a website and “pre-sale seminar” for the 365 Church project to hundreds of households in the surrounding area.

But an official full-scale sales launch for the project could be weeks or even several months away, since a legal proceeding concerning the development is due to be heard by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in mid-March. 




Hope for new public park dims as Ontario Gov’t sells 11 Wellesley West lands for redevelopment

11 Wellesley West

Up to three office towers or highrise residential buildings could be in store for lands behind this wooden hoarding at 11 Wellesley Street West, seen here from the northeast at the corner of Wellesley and St Nicholas Streets. Last week, a deal was supposed to close under which the Ontario Government would sell the property and pass ownership to a so-far undisclosed buyer, at a so-far unknown price, for redevelopment purposes. The closing apparently has been delayed until February. See report below for further details.


11 Wellesley West

Hoarding along Breadalbane Street at the southwest corner of the 11 Wellesley West site. Since at least early 2011, downtown residents and neighbourhood associations have been pressing the City and provincial governments to create a new park or public greenspace on the vacant 2-acre property between Bay and Yonge Streets.


Hopes fading: A real estate transaction that was scheduled to close yesterday may dash many downtown residents’ dreams for the creation of a new public park on a vacant Wellesley Street West site surrounded by thousands of existing condo and apartment units, with thousands more on the way. But the local City Councillor has pledged to continue fighting for green space on the location.

Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam told Tuesday night’s annual general meeting of the Church Wellesley Neighbourhood Association (CWNA) that Wednesday January 23 was the scheduled closing date for the sale of empty provincially-owned land at 11 Wellesley Street West. Barring an unforeseen event, she said, title for the land would rest in the hands of its new owner by 4.30 p.m. Wednesday.  [Editor’s Note: CWNA board of directors member Paul Farrelly posted this update on the CWNA’s Facebook page January 26: “Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam has been recently advised by the developer that the transaction will not close until the end of February. A visit on Thursday to Land Registry revealed a new construction lien for $650,000 was put on the property by a construction company on Jan 13,2013, but its not clear whether that has anything to do with the delayed closing.”]

Many in the CWNA audience had been hoping Councillor Wong-Tam would announce significant positive developments in her work to obtain at least some of the land for City park space, but she had no such good news to report in her brief update on the subject.  She could say only that the City will continue its efforts to secure part of the property from its new owner. The buyer has not yet been publicly identified.




Proposals for four skyline-changing towers set for review at Tuesday meeting of TEYCC

York/Harbour Street office & condo towers

This illustration, from a city planning department report, compares the heights of four towers proposed for the York Street/Harbour Street area to the two ÏCE Condominium skyscrapers currently under construction nearby. Click on the image to view it in a larger format.


1 York Street office building

The proposed towers include a 37-storey office building …


Harbour Plaza condo sign

… and two condo skyscrapers rising 62 and 66 storeys …


1 York Street / 90 Harbour Street

… on this surface parking lot property at 1 York Street and 90 Harbour Street, viewed here from York Street looking east.


 Ten York condo tower

Just across the road on the west side of York Street, this surface parking lot is the location for developer Tridel’s proposed Ten York condo tower …


 Tridel Ten York Condominium

 … which would soar 65 storeys from its wedge-shaped site, as depicted in this artistic illustration provided courtesy of Tridel. The developer recently launched sales previews for the 735-foot, 725-suite skyscraper.


Decision day: Two development proposals that would dramatically change the look of the city skyline are up for review at the monthly meeting of Toronto and East York Community Council (TEYCC) on Tuesday. 

The proposals — the Ten York condo tower by Tridel, and the 1 York office tower and two  Harbour Plaza condo skyscrapers by Menkes — both have the blessing of City planners, who have recommended “approval in principle” of Official Plan and zoning bylaw amendments that would permit the projects to proceed, subject to the provision of adequate parking space.




40-storey condo proposed for Yonge & Isabella

625 Yonge Street

A development application has been filed with the City for this 625 Yonge Street property at the southeast corner of Yonge & Isabella Streets. The proposal calls for a 40-storey residential tower with retail shops and offices to take its place.


625 Yonge Street

October 10 2012: The 625 Yonge building, viewed from the southwest


looking north on Yonge Street from Irwin Street

October 10 2012: Looking north on Yonge from Irwin Street. The 625 Yonge development site (white building with the yellow and black YSFC banners) has the cachet of being situated only three blocks south of the prime Yonge & Bloor intersection.


Condos on the corner: News that a rezoning application had been filed with the city for a commercial property on the corner of Yonge and Isabella Streets left the nearby neighbourhood rife with rumours and speculation yesterday about what is in store for the site. Not surprisingly, most people expected an announcement would be forthcoming that a condo  tower project is being proposed.

Word spread quickly that an entry for 625 Yonge Street had been added to the development projects page in the planning department section of the City of Toronto website. For most of the day, the website entry listed only the municipal address for the development application, its file number, and contact details for the city planner responsible for the file. It did not provide any specifics about how big or how tall the development would be, or whether it would be condos, offices, retail or a mix of all three. The absence of further information led to considerable conjecture about the owner’s plans for the property. (When I checked the entry late yesterday afternoon, it still lacked details; this morning, someone called my attention to additional information that finally had been added sometime during the evening.)



Rally will urge Premier to create public park with vacant provincial land on Wellesley St W

wellesley green protest poster

This poster appears on the Save Wellesley Green Public Park Facebook page, and is being circulated by email by local neighbourhood associations and downtown residents


11 Wellesley Street West Toronto

Neighbourhood associations and city residents want the Ontario government to make government-owned surplus property behind the blue hoarding at 11 Wellesley St. W. available to the City for creation of a new public park


New park, please: Community groups and city residents concerned about the severe deficiency of downtown parkland have planned a rally for this afternoon to urge Ontario’s premier to make surplus government property on Wellesley Street West available for public green space.

At numerous public meetings I have attended during the past year, city planners, Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and Toronto Centre MPP Glen Murray all have acknowledged that downtown Toronto is “parkland deficient” with insufficient green space available for a population that is growing considerably faster than expected, thanks to the city’s ongoing condo building boom.

An opportunity to establish a new park or green space of some kind on Wellesley Street West lies within the provincial government’s grasp — after years of litigation, the Ontario government is finally able to do whatever it wants with a large piece of land at 11 Wellesley West, between Yonge and Bay Streets, that has sat vacant behind hoarding for most of the past decade. However, with eyes at Queen’s Park focussed on reducing Ontario’s enormous budget deficit, politicians seem more prepared to cash in on the condo craze by selling 11 Wellesley West and other surplus government land for redevelopment, rather than keeping it to create new parks for present and future generations of Torontonians to enjoy.




49-storey condo tower proposed for east block of Yonge Street between Dundonald & Gloucester

587-599 Yonge Street Toronto

August 25 2012: A 49-storey condo tower has been proposed for this block on the east side of Yonge Street, between Dundonald and Gloucester Streets


New proposal: As Torontonians and tourists enjoy the Celebrate Yonge festival on south Yonge Street between Gerrard and Queen Streets, some city residents are beginning to wonder if there will be anything left for them to celebrate along the north downtown section of Yonge, between Bloor and Wellesley Streets, by the end of the decade.

News that a 49-storey condo tower has just been proposed for the bourgeoning east side of Yonge, between Dundonald and Gloucester Streets, has left many area residents fearing that Yonge is on the verge of becoming another dark and drab condo canyon like the one on Bay Street. Residents are also worried about the overall impact that several more highrise condo projects nearby will have on the Church-Wellesley neighbourhood.

The latest skyscraper proposal involves properties from 587-599 Yonge Street, as well as adjacent business properties at 2 and 4 Dundonald Street, as well as 7 and 9 Gloucester Street. A search on the City’s development applications webpage shows that a redevelopment plan for the block-long site proposes a 49-storey tower with 514 condo units, street-level retail shops, and underground parking. 593 Yonge is the street address indicated for the application.

(The city’s website entry does not provide any further information about the proposal, and does not identify either the developer or the date on which the 593 Yonge rezoning application was submitted to city planners. The city overhauled its development webpage this summer, and entries no longer provide proposal submission dates. Prior to the format change, webpage entries provided more detail, as well as contact information for the city planner responsible for the file.)




Highrise condo cluster could threaten character of leafy low-rise street near Yonge & Wellesley

Dundonald Street Toronto

The lush trees and gardens adorning the front yards of these brick homes on the north side of Dundonald Street could be imperiled by construction of up to four condo highrises …


17 Dundonald Street Toronto

… including an 18-storey tower that would incorporate parts of the brick, travertine and glass facade of this Modern-style office building constructed in 1956 at 17 Dundonald …


31-37 Dundonald Street Toronto

… a potential 18-storey condo on the site of these three-storey houses at 31-37 Dundonald, currently being offered for sale as a block for redevelopment …


22, 40 and 50 Wellesley Street East Toronto

… and two more condo towers, each at least 28 storeys tall, that would loom above Dundonald Street from this location on Wellesley Street East to the immediate south ….


40 Wellesley Street East Toronto

… including a 118-meter-tall (32 storeys) condo tower that a developer wishes to build on the site of this 5-storey office building at 40 Wellesley Street East …


50 Wellesley Street East condo site

… and a 28-storey condo, now being marketed to prospective purchasers, on the site of what is currently an empty lot at 46-50 Wellesley Street East


Dundonald doomed?: A quiet, tree-lined residential street in north downtown’s Church-Wellesley neighbourhood could lose much of its appeal, charm and character — and possibly even much of its lush greenery — if proposals for four condo towers in the area come to fruition.

Only one block long, Dundonald Street runs east-west between Yonge and Church Streets, just one block north of Wellesley Street. It’s among my favourite downtown streets, one I walk several times each week to avoid the noise, steady vehicular traffic and busy sidewalks of Wellesley Street. But my alternative walking route might lose its quiet, pleasant appeal in several years’ time if two highrise condo buildings get built on the south side of Dundonald, along with two more right behind them on the north side of Wellesley Street.



Wellesley Street site touted as potential new park now listed for sale for highrise redevelopment

11 Wellesley Street potential city park site

The 11 Wellesley Street West site, viewed from the northeast last year …


11 Wellesley Street West Toronto

… and viewed today from the northwest on Wellesley Street near Bay Street


CBRE Limited website illustration of the Bay & Wellesley lands

This image, from a flyer on the CBRE Limited website,  shows an aerial view of the property now listed for sale for redevelopment


CBRE Limited website illustration of the Bay & Wellesley lands

This illustration, also from the CBRE Limited online flyer, suggests the highrise development potential for the 2-acre Ontario Government property


Park plans deep-sixed?: Downtown residents who were hoping a new public park would be created on provincial government property that has sat vacant near Yonge & Wellesley for years will be dismayed to learn that the land has instead been listed for sale for potential highrise redevelopment. Nevertheless, a city councillor plans to seek City Council approval to direct municipal real estate officials to negotiate acquisition of the property “for parkland purposes.”

A commercial real estate advertisement in today’s Globe and Mail newspaper touts the 2-acre “East of Bay” lands at 11 Wellesley Street West as a “downtown Toronto development opportunity.” The ad, published by real estate brokerage CBRE Limited, says the land “is located in a prime downtown residential development corridor,” and is “centrally positioned” between the city’s financial core and its tony Bloor-Yorkville district.



52-storey condo tower proposed for site of historic Selby Hotel on Sherbourne near Bloor

Clarion Selby Hotel & Suites

The Clarion Hotel & Suites Selby mansion at 592 Sherbourne Street is where celebrated writer Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley, lived in the 1920s while Hemingway worked as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star.


Tower and townhouses: A condominium complex featuring a 52-storey tower with a 4-level podium and 5 townhouses has been proposed for the site of an historic 130-year-old Victorian mansion on Sherbourne Street near Bloor Street.

Designed by architect David Roberts and constructed in 1882 for the founder of Toronto’s Gooderham and Worts Distillery, the mansion is perhaps best known as the residential hotel where Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Ernest Hemingway lived in the 1920s while working as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star.



TPA parking lot and CCAS building on Maitland St. touted for condo tower development potential

Municipal parking lot between Wellesley and Maitland Streets

April 27 2012: This Toronto Parking Authority surface parking lot at 15 Wellesley Street East, seen here looking south from outside the Wellesley subway station …


municipal parking lot at 15 Wellesley Street East Toronto

… and seen here, looking north from Maitland Street, is presently being marketed for sale as “an outstanding development opportunity” …


20 and 26 Maitland Street Toronto

… along with these two adjacent properties on the east side of the lot: the large brown brick mansion at 20 Maitland (now housing office space) and the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto building at 26 Maitland Street


CBRE Wellesley Development Lands flyer illustration

This illustration of the potential for the site appears in a marketing flyer that says CBRE Limited is “exclusive listing agent” for all three properties, each of which is subject to “separate offering requirements” for development.


CBRE Wellesley Development Lands

Another illustration from the CBRE marketing flyer shows an aerial view, from the northeast, of the site being touted as the Wellesley Development Lands


Tower trio: The Church-Wellesley neighbourhood is buzzing over news that a large Wellesley Street parking lot, plus two adjacent properties on Maitland Street, are being jointly marketed as as an “outstanding development opportunity” in the downtown core, offering a massive 1.3 million square feet of redevelopment space in up to three separate condo towers.

The three properties being offered for sale include the Toronto Parking Authority surface lot at 15 Wellesley Street East, which extends from Wellesley at the north to Maitland Street at the south, as well as a large brick mansion used as office space at 20 Maitland and the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto building at 26 Maitland.



Public meeting will discuss 60-storey condo tower plan for site beside historic hall at Yonge & College

Historic Oddfellows Hall at Yonge & College Streets Toronto

February 26 2012: A 60-storey condominium tower that would loom above the historic Oddfellows Hall building (left) at Yonge & College Streets …


460 Yonge Street Toronto

… has been proposed for this location, currently occupied by a 2-storey building with shops and restaurants at street level and offices on the second floor


460 Yonge Street Toronto condo tower proposal sign

One of the development proposal signs posted outside 460 Yonge Street


Open for discussion: The City is holding a community consultation Wednesday night to get public input on a developer’s plan to build a 60-storey condo tower at Yonge & College Streets, right next door to a 4-storey heritage building constructed in 1891.

Designed by Graziani + Corazza Architects Inc. of Mississauga for developer Canderel Stoneridge of Toronto, the building would feature a 207-meter-tall tower containing 599 residential units at the municipal address of 460 Yonge Street. A podium ranging from 3 to 7 stories would contain the condo’s recreational amenities along with retail space on the street level and second floor, offices on the third floor, and an outdoor terrace with barbecue area on the podium roof. Six levels of underground parking would offer 196 vehicle spaces and 608 bicycle parking spots.




Pop-up store hits its Target in King West condo zone

Target popup store on King Street West

February 20 2012: The east facade, along Blue Jays Way, for a Target Canada pop-up store open only 6 hours today for a special promotion


Here today, gone tomorrow: Condo towers aren’t the only buildings popping up all over the Entertainment District — so are stores. But while the highrises will be standing around for decades to come, one of the new stores definitely won’t; it will be open for less than one day.

For just six hours this afternoon, a former condo presentation centre at 363 King Street West (on the southwest corner of King and Blue Jays Way) was open for business as a “pop-up” store to promote a collection of Jason Wu women’s fashions for Target Canada.  The Canadian division of the American retail chain won’t be opening stores until 2013, but today’s special sales event was intended to give Toronto shoppers an early peek at their products and competitive prices.



50-storey condo tower proposed for Jarvis/Carlton parking lot site across from historic Allan Gardens

308 Jarvis Street Toronto

February 5 2012: Looking west from Allan Gardens toward the 308 Jarvis Street site, currently occupied by a pay parking lot, where a developer has proposed building a 50-storey condo tower with a 9-storey podium


Ramada Plaza Hotel 308 Jarvis & 314 Jarvis Toronto

February 5 2012: A view of the proposed tower site, looking southwest from Jarvis Street just below Carlton Street. At left is the 10-storey Ramada Plaza Hotel at 300 Jarvis Street, while at right is a heritage mansion at 314 Jarvis


308-314 Jarvis Street Toronto and Best Western Primrose Hotel

February 5 2012: Northwesterly view from Allan Gardens toward the proposed condo site. At left is the Ramada Plaza Hotel, at center is the parking lot and the mansion at 314 Jarvis, and at right rear is the 25-storey Best Western Primrose Hotel at the southwest corner of Jarvis & Carlton Streets


314 Jarvis Street Toronto

February 5 2012: The developer proposes to incorporate into its condo tower only the “front portion” of this designated heritage house at 314 Jarvis Street


Palm House built in 1910 at Allan Gardens Toronto

February 5 2012: The tower would rise behind the rear right side of the Allan Gardens Palm House, built in 1910, and would dominate the backdrop in this view


Allan Gardens Toronto west park area

February 5 2012: Looking toward the proposed condo site from the northwest side of Allan Gardens. City parks and planning staff are worried about the potential shadow impact a 50-storey tower would have on this part of the park …


Allan Gardens Toronto

… as well as on these greenhouses connected to the Palm House conservatory


Tower above the trees?: With its 154- year-old park and century-old Palm House conservatory boasting rare tropical plants from around the world, Allen Gardens is one of downtown Toronto’s oldest and most important botanical parks. But plans for a 50-storey skyscraper that would soar high above the historic park from the west side of Jarvis Street aren’t flying well with city parks and planning staff.

The application for a “50- storey with 9-storey podium mixed-use building” was filed with the City on January 23 2012. The proposal would redevelop property situated at the municipal addresses of 308, 310, 312 and 314 Jarvis Street, as well as 225 Mutual Street. The complex would contain 590 units, of which 5 would be townhouses fronting on Mutual Street at the west side of the property. The podium would include commercial space. The building would have five levels of below-ground parking.




The skyline and CityPlace on a sunny winter day

Downtown Toronto skyline

Toronto growing taller


A view of the downtown Toronto skyline, looking east from the Bathurst Street Bridge this afternoon. The cityscape boasts three new skyscrapers, including Charlie Condos at King & Charlotte Streets (with crane, at left) Living Shangri-La Toronto at University Avenue & Adelaide Street (with crane, center rear), and the Trump International Hotel + Tower Toronto, partly visible to the left side of First Canadian Place. The Trump Toronto Hotel opened for business today.


CN Tower and CityPlace skyscrapers

CN Tower, CityPlace and the Puente de Luz bridge


A Bathurst Street bridge view of the CN Tower, some of the condo skyscrapers at Concord CityPlace, and the yellow Puente de Luz bridge which will connect City Place to Front Street West above the railway tracks. Below are videoclips I shot this afternoon showing the downtown skyline, construction activity at the Library District condominiums complex at the west end of CityPlace, and the various condo highrises at CityPlace. The latter clip includes views of the grey-and-white, 41-storey Toronto Community Housing apartment tower under construction at 150 Dan Leckie Way, as well as close-ups of the points where a 2-level bridge will link the round and rectangular Parade condo towers.