Toronto’s History Gets Sticky

Image c/o the Torontoist.

Due to its concrete jungle of skyscrapers and plethora of gentrified neighbourhoods, it is easy to forget that Toronto is actually a city rich in history. In an attempt to showcase these often forgotten events, enthusiast Adam Bunch has begun the “Toronto Dreams Project,” a project which has created quite a stir amongst tourists and Toronto residents alike.

The purpose of the project is to inform the public of significant events that occurred in particular spots in Toronto. To do this, Bunch has created what he calls “sticky plaques”- or, postcard-sized stickers containing QR codes which may be scanned using a smart phone device.

Once scanned, the codes forward readers to either blog sites such as the Torontoist or Bunch’s own site; both of which explain the significance of that particular spot in Toronto.

For example, if you scan the plaque posted across from Sidney Smith Hall at the University of Toronto campus, you will be led to an article about William Hincks- or, the “Adulterous fox”. The article explains that in 1853, when the University of Toronto was looking to hire the chair of their new natural history department, a brilliant scholar named T.H Huxley, who was second only to Darwin as the most influential scientists in history, became a front runner for the position.

That is, until William Hincks came along- a scientist whose questionable and often bizarre theories were “negligent at best and harmful at worst.” Despite his lack of scientific merit, Hincks apprehended the position. Why? Because his brother, Francis Hincks, was the Premier of Ontario at the time.

Many of the historical stories chosen by Bunch are similar to this in that they are full of irony, humour, and charm. Told in a sarcastic and casual tone, the tales are an easy and interesting read, appealing to Torontonians of all ages.

There are now about 24 different sticky plaques posted throughout Toronto, but Bunch hopes to increase this to 100 by the end of the summer. These plaques not only add a unique quirkiness to the city, but also pose as a reminder that Toronto was not always the dizzying corporate core that it is today.

Not sure where to find these plaques? The map below indicates where most of them are located:

 

For more information on the Toronto Dreams Project or the historical events themselves, visit Bunch’s website at http://torontodreamsproject.blogspot.ca/ or scan one of the QR codes themselves!

As always, if you would like more information about living in Toronto, feel free to contact us at (416) 929-1660 or email us at resupport@axoncapitalrealty.com.  

Sources:

http://torontoist.com/2012/07/a-sticky-sort-of-history/

http://torontodreamsproject.blogspot.ca/

Grange Park

Grange Park Grange Park is bounded by Spadina Ave, University Ave, College St and Queen St. Predominantly, Grange Park is a residential neighborhood, however, many of the buildings within this area have been converted to commercial use and as a result there are many office buildings, small art galleries, and restaurants located within the area. Famous landmarks in this neighborhood include the AGO, OCAD University, and “Village by the Grange,” which is a residential and shopping complex located on the east side of McCaul St. Also featured within this neighborhood is the commercial enclave known as “Baldwin Village,” which is situated between Beverley St and McCaul St.

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GTA Realtors Q2 Condo Report Released

On July 18, 2012, the Greater Toronto Area REALTORS released their Q2 Condo Report. Here’s a summary of the data, as well as commentary by our very own Broker of Record, Kaive Wong.

Resale Market

There were 6,345 condominium apartment transactions during the second quarter of 2012, down by 2.6 percent compared to the 6,609 transactions reported in the second quarter of 2011.

Meanwhile, new listings for condominium apartments were up by 19 percent in comparison with the second quarter of 2011.

The average price for the second quarter condominium apartment sales was $342,212, a 3.2 percent increase when compared with the 2011 average price.

Rental Market

There were 4,771 condominium apartment rental transactions during the second quarter of this year, which reflects an increase of 3 percent when compared to last year’s 4,629 transactions.

Meanwhile, new listings for condominium apartment rentals were up by 15 percent in comparison with the second quarter of 2011.

The average rent for a two bedroom condominium in the second quarter of this year was $2,088, representing a four percent increase over the second quarter of 2011, which had an average rental price of $2,016 for a two bedroom condo.

Kaive’s Commentary

The media has finally been able to talk down the condo market with a slight decrease of 2.6 percent compared to a strong year in 2011.

There is definitely more supply of listings available in the market given that so many buyers, while they do want to purchase real estate, are now trying to time the market and perceive that there may be potential price reductions in the near future.

The problem with that scenario is that they must continue to rent and are now facing some of the highest rents ever recorded for downtownTorontocondos.

Even though it is only July, and we are not quite into the peak demand for September occupancy, we are already seeing properties rent not in days, but in hours. Furthermore, many rental properties are receiving multiple offers.

Therefore, the cost of the buyers’ market timing is significantly higher rents versus taking on five year mortgages at below 3% (I can currently offer a 5 year fixed mortgage at 2.94%).

This again, as I previously mentioned, is great news for landlords who can rake in top notch rents and be extremely selective on tenants.

I have been pounding the table for investors to act quickly to acquire rental properties that, in all likelihood, I can have leased prior to them even closing on the property and generating double-digit returns on equity.

Given the increased supply of sale listings, landlords can strike a bargain on a purchase deal, yet still achieve record level rents for their property.

The Q2 Rental Market Report from TREB agrees with my findings, with rental transactions up 15% year over year and rental rates increasing significantly faster than inflation.

If you are interested in dipping into the market, call me at (416) 929-1660 or contact me via email at resupport@axoncapitalrealty.com. I’d be happy to assist you with all your real estate and mortgage needs.

 

Harbourfront

The Toronto Harbourfront extends along its southern border of Lake Ontario and its northern border of Lakeshore Blvd from Lower Jarvis St to the Bathurst Street. The Harbourfront is a mixed-use neighborhood. Government lands to the south of Queen’s Quay include a Community Centre, a Toronto Fire Department Station, various boating uses, parkland and the Harbourfront Centre, which is located at the bottom of Lower Simcoe Street. The Harbourfront is also the site of the Toronto Island Ferry, which provides transportation to the Toronto Islands from the foot of Bay Street. The Harbourfront neighborhood is also in possession of a vast network of parks, open spaces and trails that allow residents and visitors to access the public realm.

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Toronto’s Latest Pop-Up Project

Chances are that unless you’ve been out of town or just haven’t left the house in the past week, you’ve probably noticed a brightly coloured piano or two on our city’s sidewalks. Perhaps you’ve even been fortunate enough to stumble upon an impromptu concert by one of Toronto’s hidden maestros. So, what’s the story behind one of Toronto’s latest pop-up projects? Read on to find out!

Play Me, I’m Yours

Outside Koerner Hall. Image c/o The Globe and Mail.

Touring internationally since 2008, the Play Me, I’m Yours project is an art installation curated by British artist Luke Jerram. Jerram is a multi-disciplinary artist who creates sculpture, installation art, and live art works. Jerram’s overarching goal with the Play Me project is to “provoke people into engaging, activating, and claiming ownership of their urban landscape.”

Since the commission of the exhibit by the French Minister of Culture in Paris and Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, the project has travelled to 26 countries across the globe. The Toronto edition of the project was launched with a free concert at David Pecaut Square on July 10th in anticipation of the three-year countdown to the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, which Toronto will host in 2015.

The 41 pianos represent the 41 countries that will send athletes to the Games. Each country’s piano has been painted by an artist who calls the country home. While the artists were asked to reflect the culture and spirit of their home country, they were not given any overarching themes from which to work. The idea behind the Toronto exhibition is to celebrate the diversity of cultures within the Pan American sphere.

The pianos will be donated to local schools and community groups on July 31st, so consult the list of locations we recommend checking out before you miss your chance to play a tune for your city!

Some Prime Locations for Piano Scouting

At the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Image c/o The Globe and Mail.

North

Royal Ontario Museum
Condos Nearby: 1 Bedford, Exhibit, Museum House, the Prince Arthur

Yorkville Parkette on Cumberland
Condos Nearby: 18 Yorkville, 36 Hazelton, The Four Seasons, Yorkville Plaza

South

Maple Leaf Square
Condos Nearby: 300 Front, Infinity, Pinnacle, Maple Leaf Square

Toronto Music Garden
Condos Nearby: Cityplace, Pier27, Ten York, West Harbour City

East

Berczy Park
Condos Nearby: 25 The Esplanade, Backstage, The Berczy, L Tower

Distillery District
Condos Nearby: Clear Spirit, Glasshouse, Mozo, The St. James

West

TIFF Bell Lightbox
Condos Nearby: Charlie, Cinema Tower, Festival Tower, M5V

Trinity Bellwoods Park
Condos Nearby: Bohemian Embassy, DNA, Liberty Village, Minto 775 King West

After you’ve visited the pianos that appeal to you the most, we encourage you to leave your comments here, as we’d love to hear about your experience, but also to the visit the official website and leave your comments and media there as well.

Sources:

http://streetpianos.com/toronto2012/

http://www.toronto2015.org/lang/en/gallery/news/making-piano-music-on-the-streets-of-toronto.html

http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/Do/July-2012/Play-Me-Im-Yours-the-piano-extravaganza-kicks-off-tonight/

Liberty Village

Liberty Village is bordered by King St W to the north, the Gardiner Expy to the south, Dufferin St to the west and Strachan Ave to the east. The neighborhood is within walking distance to recreation, shops, services, restaurants and galleries. Its excellent location has allowed the neighborhood to experience rapid growth since 2004. This has been evidenced by the influx of new condominium and loft developments, office space, a new park and a multitude of new shops and restaurants.

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Niagara

Niagara is bordered by Queen Street to the north, the Canadian National railway corridor to the south, Atlantic Street to the west and Bathurst Street to the east. Niagara was formerly a working-class neighborhood, with many employees of the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railway companies residing in the area. Niagara was part of the ‘New Town’ extension of Toronto, which underwent construction beginning in 1834. It became home to working class and new immigrant housing, mostly from Italy and Portugal, for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, the neighborhood is undergoing an explosion of condominium and row house development.

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Old Town

Old Town is bounded by Queen Street to the north, Front Street to the south, Church Street to the west and Parliament Street to the east. Along the main streets of Queen, King and Front there are many restaurants and shops. Landmarks in the neighborhood include George Brown College and the historic St. James Anglican Cathedral. Old Town is called as such because it is the original site of the Town of York – as laid out in 1793 – the first settlement of the modern-day City of Toronto. There is also a large concentration of early-19th century heritage buildings within this historic neighborhood.

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