Pop-Up Urban Planning In Toronto

What is pop-up urban planning?

According to a recent Globe and Mail article, “pop-up” urban planning is a “smart” and “savvy” form of urban experimentation. It allows municipal governments to experiment with urban revitalization projects on a temporary basis. This allows city planners to try out new projects without committing the city’s or tax payer’s money.

Yonge St, with is crowded sidewalks, is a prime candidate for revitilization. Image courtesy on Daily Dose of Imagery.

Typical pop-up projects include the temporary installation of a café or retail store. The purpose of such projects could be to try out a restaurant or retail concept or to gauge the interest and spending habits of a specific neighborhood.

Now, municipal governments and urban planners are employing the use of these projects with a slightly different strategy in mind. The utility of these pop-up projects for city planners is straightforward – such projects allow city councillors and urban planners to gain public support for the revitalization of a given street or city area, to circumvent city hall in some cases, and to amend any flaws in proposed projects before they are furthered.

This innovative new strategy is taking off around the world and many cities are enjoying a more pedestrian-friendly streetscape as a result.

Success around the world

From Paris to our very own city, municipal governments and city planners are embracing the idea of pop-up planning projects.

Pop-up urban planning has its origins in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was first employed there in the 1950s. At that time, the city was debating whether to close Strøgert Street to oncoming traffic. The residents of Copenhagen did not approve of the idea, so the government decreed that they would close the street experimentally over the Christmas holiday. The street has remained closed to all but foot traffic ever since. Copenhagen is now considered one of the world’s most pedestrian-friendly cities.

Modern Stogert Street. Image courtesy of The Globe and Mail.

For a modern example of the benefits of pop-up planning, we can look a little closer to home. Take New York City, for example, which is home to one of the most renowned practitioners of pop-up – Janette Sadik-Khan. In 2009, Ms. Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner, closed Times Square to vehicular traffic – installing pylons around the site and a smattering of lawn chairs within.

Lawn Chairs in Times Square. Image courtesy of The Globe and Mail.

While some drivers complained, no one could argue with the statistics that Ms. Sadik-Khan collected through the duration of the experiment. Indeed, as a result of the closure, revenues for businesses located in Times Square rose by 71%, while injuries to motorists and passengers in the area dropped by 63%. It was also found, through the installation of 13,000 GPS systems into taxicabs, that northbound trips in the area of Times Square were 17% faster as a result of the project.

Ms. Sadik-Khan was also the mastermind of the installation of several public swimming pools on the streets of Manhattan last summer and the creator of a public park in a Brooklyn parking lot. Sadik-Khan said, in a recent interview in Esquire magazine, that she wants people to understand that a public space can be transformed in a matter of days.

Public Pools on the Streets of Manhattan. Image courtesy of Esquire.

These projects often do not require funding from the coffers of local governments, she proves. Sadik-Khan executes most of her projects without city funding, scrounging together the cash from a myriad of other sources and exempting herself from asking for permission to implement her urban visions.

Pop-up Toronto

How will pop-up urban planning affect our fair city of Toronto? Just ask City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam about her vision for Yonge Street. This fall, Wong-Tam will propose her vision to the Toronto City Council and will use the idea of ‘pop-up,’ with its temporary nature to help get many councillors on-side.

A recent press release on Wong-Tam’s website revealed that in January 2011, the newly elected Councillor began to consider ways to remedy the declining vibrancy and character of Yonge Street. Wong-Tam cited the destruction of the Empress Hotel as a catalyst for her interest in preserving one of the most iconic streets in Canada. Indeed, the fire provided residents, store owners and City Councillors alike with a cruel reminder of the fragility of the Yonge St. landscape and its history.

Earlier this year, Wong-Tam commissioned a study on preservation tactics for Yonge Street. The report was co-authored by Marianne McKenna of KPMB Architects and Ken Greenberg of Greenberg Consultants.

Councillor Wong-Tam unveiling the results of the Yonge St study. Image courtesy of Toronto Sun.

The report prioritizes several projects to revitalize Yonge Street, including: transforming the streets to make them more pedestrian-friendly and boost retail sales, expanding subway access with the creation of a new Ryerson station at Gould, and the encouragement of street markets, street-vendors and entertainment.

Perhaps most pertinent to this article, though, is the proposed reduction of Yonge Street to two lanes between Gerrard and Dundas. The lane reduction will reduce vehicular traffic and make this strip of Yonge more pedestrian-friendly.

Rendering of a two lane Yonge Street. Image courtsey of The Globa and Mail.

Prioritizing pedestrians just makes sense as pedestrians outnumber vehicular traffic on Yonge St. by a whopping 250%. Indeed, Yonge St. sees an average of 53,000 pedestrians in just 8 hours. As Ken Greenberg states, “pedestrians are literally falling off the sidewalks at busy times.” Wong-Tam asserts of her vision that it “embraces a new urbanism and one that comprehends a Yonge St. in 2011 that currently is not well served by narrow sidewalks.”

Pedestrian traffic outnumbers vehicle traffic on Yonge Street by 250%. Image courtesy of Toronto Life.

Wong-Tam will ask the city to test-drive her idea as a pop-up pilot project. The strip of Yonge Street outlined above will be reduced to two lanes through the use of removable landscaping. The trial will be commitment-free and relatively inexpensive, which will hopefully make it more friendly to many of the vehicle-philes that currently comprise the city’s administration. While Wong-Tam has the support of city heavyweights such as the Yonge Street Business Improvement Area and Ryerson University, she acknowledges that the pro-vehicle mayor and his administration will be tough to convince.

What are your thoughts on the plans for a revitalized Yonge St.? Would you be more or less interested to live in the area if it was revitalized to be more pedestrian-friendly? We welcome your comments and would be delighted if you chose us to help  you find a condo in the area. Don’t hesitate to call Broker of Record Kaive Wong if you need help with your condo search at (416) 929-1660.

Agrell, Siri. Cities rethink urban spaces with ‘pop-up’ projects. The Globe and Mail. 15-Jul-11.

Cityscape. Kristyn Wong-Tam is pushing an ambitious revitalization plan for Yonge St. Toronto Life. July 2011.

Reynolds, Chris. Study says Yonge stretch should be narrowed. The Toronto Sun. 6-Jul-2011

Taddeo, Lisa. Janette Sadik-Khan: Urban Reengineer. Esquire. The Brightest: 16 Geniuses Who Give Us Hope.

Unknown Author. Councillor Wong-Tam launches Yonge Street Planning Framework. kristynwongtam.ca. 14-Jul-11.

Trend Alert: Condos With Hotel Vibe

While the concept of a combined hotel-condo is not new, recent developments of this kind in downtown Toronto have become increasingly popular, as glamorous buildings house world-class hotels on lower floors with hotel-style residences on upper floors. Indeed, there has been a growing tendency from developers to stand out in an increasingly competitive market by adding that little extra to put their design over the top. The newest hotel-condo hybrids appeal to those who want to experience the relaxation, attention and opulence of a five-star luxury hotel on a daily basis. Those who opt for a permanent stay in these luxury units experience the perks and convenience of hotel service like housecleaning, room service, an ideal location, stunning lobbies, and attentive staff – so it’s no wonder that these hybrids are becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Rendering of Groud Floor Lobby at Trump Tower

Big Names

Big names like Trump, Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons are known for excellence in hotel services across the globe- and you’ll likely experience the quality that they are renowned for in their residences. The companies behind some of Toronto’s biggest hotel-condos have a strong international presence. Shangri-La, for instance, has five-star hotel locations in Beijing, Dubai and Paris. While Trump Tower in Toronto is the only Trump hotel expansion outside of the US, the Trump name is known worldwide, synonymous with quality and elegance. The Ritz Carlton Residences are sure to be a success, since the hotel brand is known for classic luxury and has a century-old reputation. The Cosmopolitain is on many travel hot lists as a destination hotel, and offers the convenience of a fully-furnished high calibre suite that is yours to keep. The big names behind hotel-condos attract big name clientele. For instance,  the West Penthouse at the Four Seasons Private Residences sold for a Canadian Record of $28 million in May.

A World Below

Most new hotel-residence hybrids feature the hotel segment on the first twenty or thirty floors, with the remaining floors reserved for private residences. This unique setting means that residents are living above high class (and often celebrity) world travelers staying at the hotel below,  in an environment of constant excitement with a steady flow of interesting clientele. Many of these companies have created destination hotels, and living in one means you have world at your fingertips. Being in the midst of all this action, however, may raise some concerns about privacy, security and most importantly peace of mind. Trump Tower takes this into account by constructing its residential floors to hold only four-six units per floor, ensuring that your living space feels more like a home than a hotel room.

Instant Tranquility

Lately, the hotel-condo concept has been taken a step further with the addition of world class spa service. While The Lotus at 8 Scollard boasts the only luxury spa and residence combination in the city, many hotel-condos are including spa service that can hardly be considered an afterthought. The Ritz Carlton offers one of the largest hotel spas in Toronto, the Hazelton Hotel and Residences features a two-storey infinity pool as part of its spa design, and the Cosmopolitain offers a Japanese-inspired urban oasis in its ‘Shizen’ spa. Trump Tower takes it a step further, offering a full spa that takes up two levels in the building. Shangri-La goes further still with CHI, its renowned spa chain, making luxurious private spa suites and villas and ancient Chinese and Himalayan treatments available to residents.

Outrageous Amenities

In the intense downtown Toronto condo game, developers are constantly trying to outdo others that have come before them with seemingly unending lists of exclusive amenities offered to residents. The selection of easily accessible amenities and formal hotel service is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why hotel-condos are so successful, so the services at these residences attempt to meet any foreseeable desire. While the Shangri-La offers private limo service to take you anywhere in the city, Trump Tower does one better by offering two S-class Mercedes available 24/7 to whisk you away. Trump and Four Seasons both offer high speed direct-access elevators, and numerous condo-hotels offer exclusive private residence lobbies – often with sky-high views. Of course, the newest hotel-condos offer the most high-tech gym equipment and trendy fitness classes possible, and an astounding array of extras like heated pools, private lounges, doormen, and screening rooms.

Delicious Offerings

An additional bonus of living above a world-class hotel is access to fine dining in keeping with a five-star reputation. While living at Trump Tower or the Ritz Carlton, you’re bound to be exposed to elegant restaurants featuring some of Canada’s top chefs cooking the latest in high end cuisine. The Hazelton is home to the highly-regarded ONE restaurant, and the Cosmopolitain offers Eight Wine Bar – a Toronto staple in delicious food and drink. Bisha, set to begin occupancy in 2014, will offer a huge choice with a 24hr cafe and a two-storey casual restaurant proposed in addition to a five-star rooftop restaurant. It’s also hard to forget the chic bars and lounges in hotel-condo hybrids that allow you to mingle with world-class guests.

With CMHC reporting best-ever Toronto condo sales in May, the market is showing no signs of slowing down. The heated competition means increasingly residents will have access to a dizzying array of offerings from the most luxurious and renowned hotel and condo brands. For those who want only the best, look no further – these combined condos offer the benefits of having direct access to hotel-inspired service, amenities and design – all without a check out time.

Interested in getting the hotel treatment? Give me a call at (416) 929 – 1660 or drop by my office on Wellington to learn about exclusive hotel-condo incentives.

What do you think about the combined hotel-residence trend?


To Rent or to Buy?

To Rent or Buy? That is the question. We bet Hamlet never faced this dilemma, so don’t look to Shakespeare for the answer, just read on!

Home Ownership

The sub-prime mortgage crisis that rocked the United States in 2007 has made potential real estate investors in North America question whether home ownership is overrated.  

As James Stewart attests in Smart Money magazine, people haveextolled the benefits of home ownership for years.  Indeed, in not so recent times renters were looked down upon and were seen as those who chose to throw their money down the drain. All this has changed, though, as a result of the sub-prime lending crisis. Now, people are beginning to question whether home ownership is really a wise investment.

Regardless of any temporary setbacks that resulted from the 2007 crisis, no one can argue with the historical benefits of home ownership. Stewart cites Professor John Quigley of UCLA Berkeley as saying that “over 75 years the mortgage system is how the middle and lower-middle class accumulated capital.” Typically, a person’s home represents their largest investment and largest asset – it’s what allows them to retire comfortably and live out old age without financial worries cropping up. Quigley adds that you can’t consider home ownership as a typical “investment” – it’s not designed “to triple your money in three years” but rather, it’s designed as a system of forced savings.

Yet, some are arguing with the historical record. These nay-sayers of home ownership cite the double-edged nature of the leverage that a first mortgage provides to homeowners. While this leverage can provide for gains in accumulated capital, it can also magnify losses in the event of a housing market collapse. Christopher Mayer of Columbia Business School argues that people do not assign enough of a risk premium to the leverage a mortgage places on home ownership.  While these kinds of risks were magnified in the 2007 lending crisis, one should remember that people were obtaining financing when they never should have qualified for it, so of course risk would magnify in such a situation.


So, we have now determined some of the major arguments for and against homeownership — but what about renting?

On the rental side, National Post columnist Kelvin Browne seems to agree with Stewart’s tone toward the traditional emphasis that home ownership is wise. Indeed, he says “Today, it seems there must be something amiss if you’re not a homeowner” and discusses how his parents are constantly reminding him of the type of person that rents and the bad end this type often comes to. But, is he just describing a societal norm, or does he buy into it? 

Globe & Mail columnist Dianne Nice also weighs in on the renting issue. She says, and I quote, “[n]o matter how many stories I read about housing price bubbles and rising interest rates, there’s no way I would go back to renting, and most Canadians feel the same way.” She cites her main reasons for choosing home ownership as her detest for being at the mercy of her landlord’s every whim and fancy and knowing that her monthly rent cheque was going toward paying off her landlord’s mortgage instead of her own.

The Final Verdict

Perhaps what we, as Canadian investors, should take from the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis is that home ownership is a good investment, provided one crucial criterion is satisfied: you can afford it. We should all heed the advice of Warren Buffet, a man who has amassed one of the world’s greatest fortunes and yet still resides in the home he bought for $31,500 over 50 years ago: “Our country’s social goal should not be to put families into the house of their dreams, but rather, to put them into a house they can afford.”

If you’re unsure whether renting or buying is the better solution for you at this stage in your life, why not call (416) 929-1660 and make an appointment to sit down with Kaive Wong, Broker of Record at Axon Capital? He can help you determine what your needs are and what you can afford, so that you know with certitude that you’re making the right decision.


Browne, Kelvin. My rent vent: pros and cons. The National Post. 27 May 2011.

Nice, Dianne. How to Give Up Renting without Going Broke. The Globe and Mail. 25 May 2011.

Stewart, James B. Is Home Ownership Overrated? Smart Money. 3 May 2011.

 Posted on June 30, 2011

This Weekend: Doors Open Toronto

Looking for something to do that’s both fun and informative this weekend? On May 28-29, the city is hosting its annual Doors Open festival, which features “150 buildings of architectural, historic, cultural and social significance” in celebration of public education and access. For no cost, curious visitors can explore some fascinating Toronto buildings that are normally publically inaccessible or require paid admission.

With ‘photography’ as the theme for 2011, Doors Open is offering a glimpse into some of the most interesting buildings and landmarks that Toronto has to offer, along with various concerts, talks and tours and the ‘ask a photographer series’.

This year a number of architecturally stunning and innovative buildings are on display, including:

Humber Ecology Centre

LEED Gold-certified complex that is a model of environmental sustainability, featuring over 250 acres of assorted gardens and natural spaces on the Humber River. Designed by Taylor & Hazell in 2007, the Humber Ecology Centre is a recipient of the OAA Design Excellence Award and was a 2010 selection for the Sustainable Sites Initiative. This multi-award winning building is a great place to learn about photography, landscape, and design. During Doors Open it will feature displays of student and staff work in addition to daily bulding and landscape tours.

Li Ka Shing Institute

Designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects in 2010, the Li Ka Shing institute exists as part of St. Michael’s Hospital, symbolizing the best in combined design and efficiency. At Victoria and Shuter, this nine-storey location is made up of two connected buildings: the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre. This location displays amazing connectivity between the interior and exterior, featuring an elegant wishbone staircase and a design to ensure a maximum daylight allowance. The bridge that links the institute to the hospital is an beautiful statement in downtown Toronto that “solidifies the link between research, education and patient care”. Visitors will be given a tour and presentation of these architectural features and others, with an emphasis on research and green sustainability.

Corus Quay

Designed by renowned Diamond and Schmitt Architects and featuring an interior by Quadrangle Architects, this building is the central project in the East Bayfront revitalization initiative, adding new life to this waterfront area. Corus Quay was developed by Toronto Port Lands Company and is managed by Build Toronto. Offering the latest in media production, Corus Quay combines advanced technology with functional design in an effort to promote an innovative open concept workplace. The building has street level radio studios and a performance area opening onto Sugar Beach, and features energy efficient lighting, a living five storey bio-wall, and reused rain water to reduce water consumption. Visitors will be able to explore the street level entertainment, third floor lounge, atrium and art gallery.

Ontario Architectural Association Building

Designed by Toronto’s own Ruth Cawker in 1992, the OAA building is an extremely modern two-storey structure. It is supported by columns on a hilltop, with the upper floor offices located around the outside of the building. The building features bright interiors and natural lighting, a double height exhibition gallery and lounge, a second-floor atrium with views to the floor below, an adaptable conference centre, and various meeting rooms and offices. Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour, and there will be an exhibit of the 2011 OAA award winners on display in addition to volunteers that can answer any questions.

401 Richmond Street West

A well-known landmark in the city, this building was originally meant for industrial use in the early 20th century, operating as a tin lithography factory. This original character has been maintained in a new space meant for over 140 artists, producers, and businesses. Many older architectural features of the building, like its many double-hung wood frame windows, are successfully combined with contemporary sustainable design, seen with the 6,500 square foot roof garden and interior courtyard. During Doors Open, guided tours will be provided Saturday at 11am and 1pm and Sunday at 1pm. Otherwise visitors can explore the on-site galleries, shops and gorgeous rooftop for themselves.

The Gardiner Museum

This centre for ceramic art was designed by Keith Wagland in 1984 and has been recently updated with a 1400 square foot third floor expansion designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects in 2006. Despite its bold presence on the street, the museum maintains an intimate atmosphere, showcasing new works while maintaining a permanent collection. The building features polished buff limestone in homage to Victoria University. Visitors can explore all public museum areas and will have an opportunity to participate in an architecture tour.

Doors Open also features access to numerous architectural offices and their works in progress. Visitors can see the “post and beam” structure of the Hariri Pontarini office on King W, the award winning industrial office building of Bortolotto Architecture and Interior Design on College, or the classic Ellis Building of Diamond and Schmitt Architects featuring exposed red brick, large windows, and mushroom cap columns.

With new additions this year, Doors Open will include various other participating locations such as Campbell House, Factory Theatre, the Gooderham Flatiron, Hugh Garner Housing Co-op, the Michener Institute, the Native Child & Family Services of Toronto Lodge, Osgoode Hall, Queen’s Park, U of T, the RC Harris water filtration plant, Rogers Studio, Steamwhistle Brewery, Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre, Black Creek Pioneer Village, Casa Loma stables, City of Toronto Archives, Evergreen Brickworks, For York, Gladstone Hotel, The Drake Hotel, the MaRS Building, City Hall, and Toronto Botanical Garden.

With this many choices, there is something to suit every interest. So this weekend, take advantage of Doors Open and get to know TO!

Information courtesy of http://www.toronto.ca/doorsopen

What are your thoughts on Doors Open Toronto?

Posted May 26, 2011

NEW: Cinema Tower

The Building
Construction has already begun on Cinema Tower, and this iconic 43-storey building is starting to take shape. The building design will be have an undeniable presence in the downtown Toronto landscape, as it features a stunning tower with sophisticated curves and unique lines. Designed by the prestigious Daniels Group, Cinema Tower is also environmentally conscious, built towards the LEED Certification Standard.

The building will be situated at 299 Adelaide St. W at Widmer, minutes away from Toronto’s finest theatre, restaurants, shopping and nightlife. Beyond the entertainment sector, Cinema Tower will be steps away from the financial district and the TTC, truly cementing it at the heart of the exciting action downtown.

Suite Features
Each suite will feature nine-foot smooth ceilings and engineered wood flooring throughout.

The kitchen in each unit will come with a complete Miele kitchen appliance package and sleek Irpinia kitchens. They will also feature an elegant porcelain mosaic tile backsplash, under cabinet valence lighting and a custom quartz kitchen island.

The suites will also feature energy-efficient windows, appliances, and fixtures.

Kitchen/Living Area


Services and Amenities
Cinema Tower further sets itself apart in the downtown Toronto condo market through its unique connection to the TIFF Bell Lightbox, a key entertainment and cultural hub in the city. This connection comes with fantastic perks associated with a 3 year membership to TIFF Bell Lightbox, which include a chance to purchase tickets to the Toronto International Film Festival before the general public, residents-only screening at TIFF Bell Lightbox with a special guest from the world of film in attendance, and Director’s Series screenings hosted by TIFF within the state-of-the-art screening room.

Besides the TIFF ‘Inside Pass’, guests also have many other luxurious amenities available to them:

  • Fully-equipped workout facilities including a multipurpose full court gym
  • Access to a beautiful private terrace lounge with BBQ on the sixth floor
  • Residents only state-of-the-art screening room
  • Indoor hot tub & steam room
  • Party room for guest use
  • Underground and above-ground parking with some spaces able to accommodate plug-in vehicles.

Multipurpose Gym


There will be 444 suites ranging in design and style. Prices begin in the 300,000’s.

At this time, the developer believes expected occupancy to start in 2014. Please inquire for more information about payments and schedules.

For more information, visit our Cinema Tower blog.

Don’t miss out on this exciting project! Contact us at 416-929-1660 or resupport@axoncapitalrealty.com to gain access to special incentives and to learn more information.

What are your thoughts on this project?

Posted May 15, 2011.

Jane’s Walk 2011

Every year on the first weekend of May, free walking tours are held all around the city of Toronto to honour the legacy of urbanist Jane Jacobs. The first Jane’s Walk was held on May 5th 2007 and since then, thousands have participated. The walks allow individuals to explore a wide range of urban landscapes and topics related to urbanization and Toronto’s general gentrification process. Join in this weekend and get better acquainted with your (future?) neighbourhood!

Here is our list of tours to consider:

Making CityPlace a Place
Saturday, May 7th @11:00 a.m.
Meeting Place: In front of Sobey’s, 22 Fort York Blvd. (NW corner of Fort York Blvd. & Spadina Ave.)

Join City Councillor Adam Vaughan, Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina, as he guides participants through the emerging CityPlace neighbourhood.  The discussion will involve the former railway lands’ past, present and its future as a home and meeting spot for residents and visitors alike.  You will hear about plans for a new park, a public library and a pedestrian bridge with a connection to the waterfront.  Joining Councillor Vaughan on the walk will be local residents and some of the partners involved in the creation of this emerging neighborhood in the downtown core.

Buildings in the Neighbourhood:
Apex I & II
Harbourview Estates I, II, III & IV as well as Harbourview Estates Lofts
Luna I & II
The Gallery
The Matrix

Old Town Toronto
Sunday, May 8th @ 10:00am
Meeting Place: St. James’s Park, King St. E and Church St., just E of the fountain.

Join Heritage Toronto in exploring this fascinating area, where Toronto developed to become more than a military post, beginning in the early 1800s. Some of the city’s most remarkable buildings can be found here, including Canada’s oldest bank building and the Flatiron Building. Condominiums have recently joined quaint shops, restored warehouses, and Toronto’s Anglican cathedral.

In the Neighbourhood:
Absolute Lofts
Backstage on the Esplanade
Bauhaus Condos
Imperial Square
King George Square
King’s Court
L Tower
Post House
The Berczy
The Modern

200 Years of Lakefront Development: Covering Fort York & parts of Garrison Common
Sunday, May 8th @ 1:00pm
Meeting Place: The group will meet next to the canteen/admissions office by the main (W) entrance at Fort York (off Garrison Rd.). Ask for tour leader René Malagón at the admissions desk.

Starting at the canteen at Fort York National Historic Site, this special walking tour explores the evolution and history of Fort York, the Garrison Common and the nearby Lake Ontario shoreline from the early British colonial era to the present day. On this tour you will learn about the origins of Fort York, the fortification of the harbour, local railway & road building. You will also learn about the subsequent industrial, recreational and residential development of the area – thus coming to understand its transformation through the years.  You may discover a surprising blend of past and present in the historic landscapes surrounding the Fort.  The tour centers on historic events, the war of 1812, and its connections to modern urban development.  There will be free admission to Fort York following tour. There will also be free Parking.

In the Neighbourhood:
Library District Condos
LTD (Malibu II)
Tip Top Tailors Building
Waterpark City
West Harbour City


NEW: Peter Street Condos

As a pre-construction condo VIP broker and top producer, Team Axon recently got a first sneak peek at Peter Street Condos development. You’ll certainly be saying “P.S. I love you” after seeing the features and amenities proposed in the new Peter Street Condos. An insider look can be found below.

The Building
Peter Street Condos will be a dazzling 40-storey glass and aluminum structure that will include an 11-storey podium and a 29 story tower.

The building will be situated on the Northeast corner of Peter and Adelaide, a short walk away from the offices of the Financial District, the boutiques and cafes of Queen West, and a plethora of theatre and music in the Entertainment District.

The exterior of the building will be architecturally dramatic, featuring gorgeous vertical lines and extensive use of glass for a stylish and modern presence. It will contain 330 residential units and five levels of below grade parking.

Created by the award-winning firm Architects Alliance, the building embodies excellence in its design as well its as location.

Suite Features
Each suite will feature nine-foot ceiling heights and floor-to-ceiling windows for an astounding view of the city. In addition, principal rooms will have engineered wood flooring.

The units will feature contemporary kitchen cabinetry custom designed by Cecconi Simone with quartz countertops and tile or glass backsplashes, individual suite metering and Energy Star appliances.


Bathrooms will feature quartz countertops, Cecconi Simone cabinetry and porcelain floor tiles, with the bathtub and sink featuring polished chrome faucets.

The project provides an exciting opportunity for those in search of affordable one bedroom suites and hard to find three bedroom units.

Services and Amenities
Peter Street Condos will feature a lobby, interiors and amenities designed by internationally renowned interior design firm Cecconi Simone.

The fifth and sixth floors will be the location for guests to enjoy a fantastic array of amenities including:

  • A theatre room with servery, billiard room, lounge and kitchen and dining room
  • Fully equipped fitness and weight rooms including a yoga room and a relaxing therapeutic/massage room
  • A partnership with fitness and wellness company Totum Life Science, offering residents the chance to partake in seven Totum classes per week and book additional services and trainers within the building

There will also be 24/7 concierge service and a guest suite for residents’ use.

Suites range in size from 303 to 772 square feet, with options of studio, one-bedroom, one-bedroom-plus-study, two-bedroom and three-bedroom designs. Prices range from the $200,000’s to $500,000.

At this time, the developer believes expected occupancy to begin December 2014. Please inquire for more information about payments and schedules.

For additional floorplans, limited time offers and special incentives for early purchasers, please contact us at 416-929-1660 or resupport@axoncapitalrealty.com

What are your thoughts on Peter Street Condos?

Posted May 15, 2011

NEW: The Yorkville Condominium

The Yorkville sales centre opened its doors on March 10th, 2011 to an exclusive group of brokers and agents. As a VIP brokerage, Team Axon was in attendance.

Below, find our insider’s take on The Yorkville

The Building
The Yorkville will be a stunning 31-storey tower that will also feature six contemporary two-storey townhomes, each with a private entrance.

The building will be located at approximately 20 McMurrich St., just north of Davenport Rd. and steps away from world-class dining, shopping and culture!

The exterior of the building will possess striking architectural features and angles galore. A variety of projecting boxes and a series of reflecting fins will be featured prominently on the tower design.

Suite Features and Finishes
Each suite and two-story townhome will feature ceiling heights of approx. 9’ -10’ with floor-to-ceiling windows for breathtaking views of the city.

Kitchen/Living Area

Each suite will feature a Signature Kitchen with a choice of natural stone or quartz countertops, a choice of natural tiles or mini-glass mosaic tiles, a dining island and an integrated slim-line Miele stainless steel appliance package.

Bathrooms will feature marble flooring (choice of natural stone tiles in all master bathrooms), 5’ white soaker tub with chrome faucets, glass shower stalls with chrome fixtures and vanity countertops with fixtures of polished chrome.

The Yorkville will have a sleek two-storey lobby featuring black-on-black floors and brilliant white walls as well as a three-sided onyx fireplace, all under an umbrella of striking chandeliers and draped archways.


Club Yorkville will be located on the fifth floor and will be the place where residents can enjoy a vast array of stunning amenities, including:

  • A lounge that opens onto a piano bar and billiards room.
  • An elegant dining room with private lockers for residents in the wine cellar, full gourmet kitchen and catering facilities available for residents’ private chefs.
  • A fully equipped fitness centre, including cardio, yoga and weight training studios.
  • His and Her change rooms with steam rooms, each of which leads to a central plunge pool.
  • A 5000 square foot outdoor terrace complete with BBQ, dining and fireplace lounge areas.

Spa With Fitness Centre

The Resident’s Lounge

Deck on Rooftop Terrace

Suites range in size from 383 to 1965 square feet and townhomes range in size from 885 to 1455 square feet. Prices range from $298,900 to 1,500,900 for suites and $749,900 to $1,150,900 for townhomes.

At this time, the developer believes expected occupancy to be in the fall of 2014. Please inquire for more information about payments and schedules.

The first sales opportunity is on now for a limited time as first round suite choices are due Monday March 14th! Contact us at 416-929-1660 or resupport@axoncapitalrealty.com soon to ensure you don’t miss out! When you do, don’t forget to ask about our special incentive program!

What are your thoughts on this project?

Featured Condo: The Element

“The facts ma’am, just the facts…”

20 Blue Jays Way
Developer: Tridel Corporation
# of Floors: 24 storys
# of Units: 354 units
Unit Size: 550 – 2500 sq. ft.
Prop. Mngmt: Del Property Management
Neighbourhood: Entertainment Neighbourhood
Completion Date: 2007

My Two Cents…okay, with inflation…My Two Dollars…

The Element currently is Tridel’s most recent completion in the downtown core. Following the footsteps of Tridel’s success at the Icon, half a block away, the programming for the Element is very much similar, with a few notable exceptions.

The biggest innovation for the building is the use of Enwave’s Deep Lake Water Cooling System, which utilizes water from Lake Ontario to assist in heating and cooling the building. This is the first condominium to use this system, which is environmentally friendly, as well as helping to maintain lower than average condo fees by decreasing overall utilities bills. In addition, Tridel used this building as an opportunity to experiment with their first “green building.” While the building is not green enough to qualify for the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the building did add energy efficient designs, such as one master switch for all suite power, dual flush toilets, low-emission paint, and low-flow aerators.Being in the middle of the Entertainment District, the Element is convenient to the financial core (the PATH system is a block away), and your favourite restaurants (Jacob Steakhouse), fast-food joint (check out Craft Burger, Smoke’s Poutinerie, and Burrito Boyz) and lounge (check out Brant House) on King Street West. The Element is also perfect for those who are ultra lazy since your cup of joe (Tim Hortons) and late-night munchies (Pizza Pizza) are on the retail floor. The Element rooftop terrace on the 22nd floor boasts some of the best views of the city skyline. Here, you can get a glimpse of what the ultra-exclusive units, the sub-penthouse and penthouse, have on a daily basis.

The Bottom Line: Good, traditional Tridel building with added benefit of energy conservation and a great, convenient location.

Why Tableau Condos Makes Sense

Renderings of a new Preconstruction project, Tableau Condominiums, have been released! This is the newest project that will launch VIP first broker access on Wednesday, October 20th.

Tableau will be located at 117 Peter Street – right at the corner of Peter and Richmond – steps away from the entertainment and shopping districts of downtown Toronto. It is somewhat an infill project, joining Queen St W to the more established King St W entertainment district. At 36 stories, this is a very tall building, adjacent to the Scotiabank Theater, and will have tremendous views east of the city skyline, south towards the lake, and relatively clear views north and west, depending on the floor purchased.

I believe that this is an ideal project for the first time home buyer and young professional that enjoys the entertainment district amenities, as well as appreciating the short walk to the PATH system and the financial core. This project is unique because virtually all units have outdoor space with expansive terraces.

Notable Amenities & Finishes include:

  • Fitness Area
  • Games/Billiards Room
  • Theatre
  • Reading Room
  • Party Room/Show Kitchen
  • Dining/Servery
  • Guest Suite – don’t have these in many condos. It allows for cheap accommodation for overnight guests.
  • Conference Room
  • Private Outdoor Cabanas
  • 24 Hour Concierge
  • Smooth ceiling finishes make unit feel taller
  • Undermount stainless steel sinks

Take a look at some of the outside and interior designs, as well as some initial floor plans.

Entrance on Richmond and Peter

5th Floor Rooftop Patio

T1 Studio (First time buyer/investor)
This unit is unique for the fact that it is a studio that is shaped like a pie – meaning, it gradually gets wider as you approach the windows.  This solves the age old problem with studios not having enough sunlight/windows.  In addition, I like the paneled, sliding doors, defining the sleeping area, as well as the option of adding a desk near the front entrance.  The unit then expands into a fairly large, combined living/dining room space, that is logical in terms of furniture placement.  This unit further adds a walk-out to a very generous balcony.  All-in-all, one of the better studio layouts I have ever seen.

T2/T3 One Bedroom (First time buyer/investor)
Nothing wrong with these floor plans, nice and square – very logical, featuring great outdoor space.


T4 One Bedroom + Den (First time buyer/investor)
This is a great one-bedroom plus den layout since it gives you the opportunity to have an almost pseudo 2 bdrm, given the large size of the den. In fact, I have already come up with a closet solution for this space, to make it exactly that (Can you tell I’m an architect’s son?). A very logical place to put a closet is between the fan coil and the wall. Once this is completed, there is still decent width in the den (turned bedroom) for a single, double, or maybe even a queen sized bed, albeit on the snug side. This allows an investor to gain significant additional rent for this unit since there are many tenants looking for small, cheap, shared rental accommodation in the downtown core at under $2000 or $1000/person. In addition, a first time home buyer willing to stretch themselves a bit can also use this unit in a transitory way by having a roommate to supplement their mortgage payments until they are able to afford the entire space on their own. The unit boasts generous outdoor space. Excellent choice that first time buyers and investors should be purchasing. 

T5 One Bedroom + Den – (First time home buyer/investor)
Nice, wide floor plan, suitable for true users of the space.

T6 Two Bedroom (Move-up buyer)
This is the smallest unit that you can buy that allows for the purchase of parking. For people intending on living in the building for an extended period of time, this may be your best option, given the scarcity of parking in the core. This is also the lowest priced corner unit you can buy, which obviously boasts enormous amount of window space and an enormous wrap around balcony. While this unit is available on the NE and SE corners, the SE corner is my preference for the greatest possibility of natural lighting. Buyers of this unit, on high floors, should experience some dramatic views of the city skyline. For an even more luxurious unit – for individuals that may not require the second bdrm, there is the opportunity to eliminate the wall between the 2 bedrooms and reconfigure the space with a more generous walk-in closet or more of a one bdrm + den. In fact, one of my clients has already fallen in love with this unit and will be turning it into a luxurious one bdrm, with walk-in closet/dressing room. Ladies, make your Sex and the City dreams come true! Just make sure you save a small corner for us boys to hang a few shirts!

T7 Two Bedroom (Move-up buyer)
This is also a nice, clean corner unit with massive wrap around balcony, with the added benefit of a western orientation providing lots of afternoon sun.  In addition, the programming of this unit with the second 3 piece bathroom, makes this a truly sharable 2 bdrm.  This will provide the top rental rates for 2 bdrm units.




T8 Two and Three Bedroom (Move-up Buyers)
Nothing really special about these, but clean layouts nonetheless.

T9 Two and Three Bedroom (Move-up buyer)
Luxurious 2 bdrm corner unit with the best lighting orientation since it faces SW. I definitely prefer T92 over T93 since the attempt to create a 3 bdrm makes the living room tiny. The odd investor may consider this 3 bdrm for 3 roommate rental scenarios, where each tenant is demanding rent below $1000/each.

Given the fact that price/sq.ft for the project is in the 535-570 range, it represents about a 10-15% premium to the current resale market for product that will not be completed for an estimated additional 5 years. Given that this reflects a pricing growth rate of approximately 3% per year, this is not a bad purchase scenario. In addition, it has a relatively good deposit structure of 20% equity required when many new projects today are at 25%. The bulk of the deposit of 15% is required within the 1st year and then an additional 5% is required on May 15th 2013. This makes this a fairly good leveraged purchase.

Do not hesitate if you are interested since first day sales begin on Wednesday, October 20th. What are your thoughts on this project?