Jane’s Walk Toronto 2013

It’s that time of year again folks – the time where we get together to explore and enjoy our amazing city!  Many of us take for granted all the amazing sites and activities that Toronto has to offer, especially in the warmer months.  Now that spring is finally here, it’s the perfect time to lace up your walking shoes and participate in the annual Jane’s Walk.  This year, Jane’s Walk takes place from the evening of May 3rd to May 5th.

Jane’s Walks, named after the famous urbanist Jane Jacobs, are a series of free neighbourhood walking tours that aim to put people in touch with their city and with each other. They do so by bridging social and geographic gaps and creating a space for cities to discover themselves. Since its inception in 2007, Jane’s Walk has happened in cities across North America, and is growing internationally.

Below we’ve included some highlights from this year’s schedule, but you can click here for the full itinerary and details.

Here are some walks you might enjoy:

Saturday, May 4th @ 10am (3 hours): King and Spadina: One of The Two Kings

The Good Neighbour The Artist The Fun & The Furious The Aesthete

A quick tour of parts of the Roastery building(taking in the 10 foot square portrait of her created by artists John Scott and Deborah Waddington and roof garden – which Jane Jacobs loved and wrote about in the New York Times magazine). It will then proceed through the streets of King and Spadina and discuss the history of the zoning changes that occurred in ’97 and the impact it had on the area, the buildings, and people.

Starting Point: The Roastery, 401 Richmond St. West
Ending Point: Victoria Street Square

Condos you might see along the way: Charlie, Glas, M5V, The Morgan, Victory

Saturday, May 4th @ 11:30 am (1.5 hours): NOT the history of Liberty Village – digging under the skin and behind the curtain.

This walk will explore the contrast between Big Data – the things we know, see and experience about a place vs. Small Data – the questions, insight and, yes, the history that we don’t know, can’t see, never stop to question or couldn’t readily find out about our community.

As we circumnavigate Liberty Village, we will be exploring this concept in a different way – through narrative and with immersive technology – a smart phone app.

Starting Point: Starbucks in Liberty Village
Ending Point:
Starbucks in Liberty Village

Condos you might see along the way: Battery Park, King West Life, Liberty Market Lofts, Toy Factory Lofts, Zip

Saturday, May 4th @ 10:30 am (2 hours): Historical Walking Tour of Yorkville (Part 1): The Parks of Yorkville

Join Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and Architects Ken Greenberg and Michael McClelland for a walking conversation on how the future of Yorkville can be shaped in the context of current development, while taking in the unique heritage of Yorkville including the Yorkville Public Library and the award winning Village of Yorkville Park.

Starting Point: Yorkville Public Library
Ending Point: Village of Yorkville Park, Cumberland St

Condos you might see along the way: 18 Yorkville, Crystal Blu, the Florian, the Four Seasons, the Lotus

Saturday, May 4th @1 pm (2 hours): Transforming Queens Quay — Toronto’s Main Waterfront Street

Learn more about the $110 million revitalization project now underway that is completely transforming Queens Quay – Toronto’s main waterfront street – into a world-class boulevard.

Starting Point: Spadina Wave Deck
Ending Point: Canada’s Sugar Beach

Condos you might see along the way: Berczy, L Tower, Maple Leaf Square, Pier27, Pinnacle Centre

Saturday May 4th @ 1pm (1.5 hours): Murder!

A tour of historic murders in the Annex neighbourhood.

Starting Point: Steps of 371 Bloor St W

Condos you might see along the way: 1 Bedford, Exhibit, Museum House

Saturday May 4th @ 1pm (2 hours): Early Toronto: Heroes and Rogues in the Old Town of York

On this tour, you’ll wander the streets of the old Town of York, and find out where some of the most bizarre people in the town lived and worked. You’ll learn about Toronto’s earliest history, but also have the chance to transport yourself back in to the past, to become a resident of the old Town of York for an hour or two, and spy on your neighbours!

Starting Point: The Market Gallery
Ending Point: Distillery District

Condos you might see along the way: Clear Spirit, The King East, King’s Court, Mozo, the Richmond





New City, New Friends

Moving to a new city can be hard.  Anyone who’s picked up their life and trekked across the country or graduated from university to start a new job knows this all too well.  The hardest part can be finding a replacement for that close-knit group of friends you treasure so much.  Your friends back home meant everything to you.  They were your support system, your hang out buddies, your motivators, and your confidantes.  Now, in this foreign and intimidating city, you’re on your own.  Don’t be discouraged for too long, though.

Making friends can be a daunting task, but it’s worth the effort.  In the end, you’ll have that comfort you’ve been longing for since making the big move.  How to start?  We’re providing you with 10 tips that will help you make some new friends and create a positive frame of mind.  Check ‘em out below!

  1. Stay in touch with old friends. It may take a bit of effort, especially if all your old friends are scattered across the country, but it’s worth it.
  2. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. It’s there that you’ll learn to let loose and just go for it.  Being timid will only hinder your cause.
  3. Don’t be too close-minded or picky about who your friends should be, try opening up to new people.  Just because they’re not your age or have a different lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t gain a lot from knowing them.
  4. Get over your fear of rejection! Don’t be scared to approach new people and start a conversation.  You’ll find that while some people may not be interested, most will welcome the interaction.
  5. Take a class or join an organization.  Trust us, this is one of the best ways to make friends in a new city, and it’s a great way to explore a new interest with like-minded people.
  6. Network!  Follow through with every connection you make.
  7. Having said this, DO NOT retreat to your lonely hotel room or home.  Stay out in public as much as possible, remember- you won’t meet anyone new if you always hide inside!
  8. Never turn down an invitation!  Even if it’s something you normally wouldn’t do, take a chance and try it.
  9. Don’t be a negative nelly!  There’s nothing more off-putting than that one pessimistic friend who never stops complaining.  They bring down the mood of the entire group!  Sorry to break it to you, but nobody wants to hang around a negative person, so make sure to brush things off. Don’t let the little things in life get you down.  Positivity attracts positive people!
  10. Most of all, though,  learn to enjoy your own company.  As important as social interaction is, it’s even more important to know how to be happy on your own.  Explore your new city, go to a movie alone, have a dinner for one- or even just a drink!  It will amaze you how much you can enjoy quality time to yourself. Plus, you are much easier to approach when you’re alone, so you may just find a friend!









Great Gulf has just launched their VIP Platinum Broker pricing for YONGE + RICHmond. As a VIP Platinum Broker Kaive Wong has access to special limited time offer pricing and is also offering initial incentives for purchase exclusive to Axon Capital Realty. Take advantage of this offer starting April 12th, 2013 at noon.

About the Building

Located just east of Yonge, live at the centre of it all with everything you can imagine. Enjoy easy access to the subway, the PATH, Eaton Centre, U of T, and the Financial and Entertainment Districts. Live with luxury amenities, expansive terraces, and views of the lake and city. YONGE + RICH is a dramatic 50-storey tower, designed by celebrated architectural firm, Architects Alliance. The building is at the southeast corner of Richmond and Victoria Street with the main entrance off Richmond Street East.

Early Lobby Rendering

Breathtaking double-height lobby and extensive amenities designed by internationally-renowned interior design firm Burdifilek. Amenities will be located on the entire fifth floor and will include yoga / aerobic/ pilates room, his and hers steam and change-rooms, cardio room, weight room, fi tness training room, billiard room, kitchen / dining / bar lounge area, and pool side lounge. This floor opens onto a spectacular garden designed by acclaimed landscape architect, DTAH. This resort-in-the-city style area will include an outdoor swimming pool and hot plunge, BBQ area, seating, sunning areas and trees.

Building Amenities

  • 24 hour, 7 day a week concierge including virtual concierge service through custom-designed mobile application.
  • Underground parking with security monitoring from concierge station.
  • Underground garage painted white and lit with fluorescent lighting for added safety and security.
  • 4 custom-designed high-speed elevators.
  • Paid visitor parking for cars on the uppermost parking level.
  • Mailroom conveniently located beside front lobby.

Suite Features

  • Ceiling heights of approximately 8’6” up to and including floor 21, and approx 9 ft. on floors 22 and above. Ceiling heights are exclusive of bulkheads, which are required for mechanical purposes such as kitchen and bathroom exhausts, and heating and cooling ducts.
  • Choice of designer-selected pre-finished engineered flooring throughout.
  • Choice of one paint colour, from builder’s standard samples.
  • Solid core entry door with security view-hole.
  • Samsung electronic door hardware with RFID / security code access.
  • Sliding or swing doors in bedrooms, as per plans.
  • Architecturally-designed baseboards, door frames and casings.
  • Brushed metal door handles and hardware.
  • White, plastic-coated, ventilated wire shelving in all closets.
  • Insulated double-glazed, aluminum windows.
  • Stacked compact brand-name washer/dryer with exterior venting in all suites, as per plans.

The Kitchens

    • Contemporary kitchen cabinetry custom designed by Burdifilek, in a variety of materials and colours, from builder’s standard samples.
    • Choice of quartz kitchen countertop, from builder’s standard samples.
    • Glass tile backsplash, from builder’s standard samples.
    • Single bowl stainless steel under mounted sink with contemporary design faucet.
    • Choice of pre-finished engineered flooring, from builder’s standard samples.
    • Stainless steel appliances including full-height counterdepth 25” refrigerator for one bedroom and one bedroom + den suites (30” refrigerator for two bedroom and two bedroom + den suites), 30” self-cleaning range, built-in dishwasher and built-in microwave, as per builder’s standard samples.
    • Integrated stainless steel hood fan, as per builder’s standard samples.

Kitchen and Living Room

The Bathrooms (master bathroom or main bathroom in one bedroom suites)

  • Choice of quality Burdifi lek custom designed cabinetry in a variety of materials and colours, from builder’s standard samples.
  • Choice of quartz countertop with undermount ceramic sink and polished chrome faucet.
  • Burdifilek custom designed mirror above vanity.
  • Wall mounted lighting above vanity.
  • Choice of 12”x24” porcelain tile, from builder’s standard samples.
  • Soaker tub with shower rod, as per plans.
  • Steel accessory package including towel bar and toilet paper holder, where applicable.
  • Choice of full height porcelain wall tiles in tub/shower enclosure, from builder’s standard samples.
  • White plumbing fixtures.
  • Exhaust fan vented to exterior.
  • Pressure balance valve for tub.


The Second Bathrooms (in two bathroom suites)

  • Choice of Burdifilek custom designed quality cabinetry in a variety of materials and colours colours, from builder’s standard samples.
  • Choice of quartz countertop with undermount ceramic sink and polished chrome faucet.
  • Burdifilek custom designed mirror above vanity.
  • Wall mounted ceiling lighting above vanity.
  • 12”x24” porcelain fl oor tile from builder’s standard samples.
  • Full height porcelain wall tiles in shower enclosure, from builder’s standard samples.
  • Frameless glass shower enclosures, as per plans.
  • White plumbing fixtures.
  • Steel accessory package including towel bar and toilet paper holder, where applicable.
  • Exhaust fan vented to exterior.
  • Pressure balance valve for tub and shower.

The Technology

  • Building to feature virtual concierge service through custom-designed mobile application.
  • Emergency voice communications system, smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detector where applicable in each suite.
  • High-speed Internet access provided with “future technology-ready” features in all suites.
  • Rough-in for future security system.
  • Pre-wired for cable TV and telephones as per plans.
  • White “Decora” switches and outlets.

For more information, exclusive offers, floorplans, pictures and renderings, visit our exclusive site at: http://www.beyongeandrich.com

Defining Toronto’s Internal Borders

Big cities often have districts, or official lines separating the Upper East Side from the Lower East Side, or uptown from midtown.  What about Toronto?  Unlike New York City, Chicago and other North American cities of its stature, Toronto has no official boroughs, no districts, nor any semblance of official “areas.”

Our city’s most sanctioned locations generally go by intersections: Yonge and Bloor, Yonge-Dundas Square, for example.  Sure, we have small enclaves, like Yorkville, the Annex, the Financial District, or the Entertainment District.  But what about the internal borders of downtown, midtown, and uptown?  Do those exist in our city, or have we as a body of citizens defined our own unofficial borders?

In the absence of official boundaries, sometimes the lines can get blurry (literally) when one tries to conceptualize Toronto’s internal borders.  Of course, when all claims are hearsay, who can say what’s right? As far as general consensus goes, most people believe that downtown is defined as the area between the water to Bloor Street, midtown is from Bloor Street to Eglinton Avenue, and uptown is anywhere north of that.  What about east to west parameters?  General consensus holds that downtown is bordered by Bathurst Street to the west and Sherbourne Street to the east.

Would you agree?  Where does uptown end?  Is York Mills too far north to still truly be considered uptown?  According to official town lines, North York begins at York Mills, so it may be just the right location for the end of uptown.  For those of you who think Toronto’s borders go farther than that, we ask: Standing at Yonge and Sheppard, are you really in the city anymore?  That’s gotta be North York, right?

Other claims against the aforementioned borders argue that everything south of Dundas Street is downtown, the rest midtown.  According to this argument, the University of Toronto would be located in midtown.  Who else finds that hard to swallow?

Some also argue that everything north of Bloor Street should be uptown.  That would make Yorkville uptown.  Given that Yorkville is literally steps from the busiest subway station in the city, not to mention the best shopping, the U of T, the Royal Ontario Museum, etc., it seems a tad farfetched to label this booming neighbourhood “uptown.”

Of course, all of this is simply conjecture.  No one can really say for sure that Yonge and Eglinton marks the end of midtown and the beginning of uptown.  And, 50 years ago, Bloor may well have been a far cry from downtown territory.  This just goes to show that as the city grows and changes, so too do its internal borders.  Who knows, maybe one day Yonge and Sheppard will mark the end of downtown- imagine that!

What do you think should be considered downtown, midtown and uptown?  Join in on the debate and let us know in the comment section below!





For Sale: The Masonic Temple

Once home to the strange rituals of the Masons, the Masonic Temple will be exchanging owners again in the near future.  Since March 4th, the building is no longer the base of MTV Canada either, who took ownership of it in 2006 under Bell Media.  If you hadn’t already noticed, the MTV sign at the Masonic Temple has been taken down- since late November 2012, actually.  The company revealed right after that Bell Media would be moving out of the 96-year-old Masonic Temple at Yonge St. and Davenport to a new building at 299 Queen Street West.  The new location is close to Bell’s other major Canadian network, Much Music.

Now that all the cameras and lights have been cleared out, what will become of the heritage building?  On March 4th, Bell Media listed the Masonic Temple at 888 Yonge St. with real-estate company DTZ, but left the sale price up to the bidding process.  Many speculate that the building will be used for residential purposes and, some say, another condo will be popping up on the corner because of its prime location and eager buyers.  Despite this inclination, there are plenty of road blocks that could discourage buyers with residential uses in mind.

For one, several of the building’s features are protected by heritage agreements.  That means if it were sold to developers, any new construction would have to retain large portions of the existing structure. The building’s protection under the Ontario Heritage Act also includes a stringent 30-metre height limit.

City Councilor for Ward 27 Kristyn Wong-Tam said this of the building’s future:

“Any potential buyer would need to respect the applicable municipal or zoning by-laws. We are advising potential owners to consult with the City at an early stage in formulating proposals for future use of the property. Ultimately, we anticipate that the Masonic Temple will retain the elements that led to its designation in the first place. We have plenty of condos,” she said. “But with respect to arts and culture spaces in Toronto, we don’t have enough. And we certainly don’t have enough of these really intimate spaces and music halls.”

“One of the key things we’d be looking for is cultural and community space,” she said. “The Masonic Temple has a very strong, very clear history of being a cultural animation space. . . . The neighborhood is very deficient there.”

Still, there are potential ways for avid condo developers to get around these regulations.  One would be using the building as an entranceway to a condo tower next door. Yet, the building is currently surrounded by two condos, an office building and a Toronto Community Housing Corp. building, making that scenario unlikely.

The current debate reminds us of a similar situation dating back to the early ‘90s.  The Masonic temple, it seems, has a history of fighting against condo builders.

The building has changed hands many times. Its original purpose was as a home to the Masons, a semisecret fraternal organization that performed elaborate rites and rituals in the meeting rooms upstairs. Transformed from the Mason house originally built in 1918 to a ballroom in the 1930s, the building moved on to become a sought-after concert venue named the Rock Pile in the ’60s.

Led Zeppelin even played its first Toronto concert there and other memorable performances have been given by the likes of the Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Black Sabbath, and David Bowie.

Bell Media purchased the building in 1998, originally using it as a studio for the late-night show ‘Open Mike with Mike Bullard.’

But, in the late ’90s, several years after the Masons off-loaded the property, owner Charles Moon proposed a 19-storey condo tower, which would feature 124 units and four levels of above-ground parking. The auditorium and Masonic meeting rooms would be gutted.

Toronto’s historical board and city council fought back, and the building, listed as a heritage property since the early ’70s, received additional protection under the Ontario Heritage Act. Whereas in most cases, designation concerns only building exteriors, the bylaw passed in 1997 lists a number of “important interior features,” including a patterned tile floor and other Masonic carvings and symbols in the auditorium and upper levels. The building received extra protection for its elaborate interior of Masonic carvings and a patterned tile floor.

It’s largely due to the City’s efforts in the late ‘90s that turning the Masonic Temple into a residential building will be so difficult today.

City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam advises prospective buyers to consult the city planning department, neighborhood associations and Heritage Preservation Services before submitting a proposal to purchase to understand just what can — and can’t — be done.

Who knows what the future holds for 888 Yonge St.?  Do you think it should become a condo, or retain its musical history? Only time will tell, but in the mean time we’ll be here along the way to update you, so stay tuned!

Sources (images included):