Condo tower points to Toronto’s urban future
Christopher Hume – Yourhome.ca
Torontonians never stopped coming downtown. Even in the worst days of suburban flight in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, the core remained healthy and vibrant. More than that, Torontonians have also always lived downtown, now in growing numbers. More than that, we now inhabit parts of the city that were formerly industrial or commercial, but never residential.
Take a look at King West around John Street – these days it’s home to the thousands who have moved into the condo towers that have popped up in the area. It’s not hard to understand the appeal of the neighbourhood; well serviced by transit and urban amenities, it meets the needs of domesticity quite nicely. And as the waterfront continues to be civilized and brought back into the city, King West will become even more attractive. Indeed, heading into a future where just getting around will be more frustrating than ever, downtown is a no-brainer, an obvious choice, even for families with young children. The hard part will be managing demand, ensuring that housing in the city remains affordable.
For planners, the issue is not height but what happens at street level. Their task will be to turn developers into city builders, to help them integrate their condo complexes into the urban fabric. This goes beyond public art provisions and the like (as welcome as they may be), it also means that every project must contribute positively to the shared domain that encompasses sidewalks, tree canopy, street amenities and so on. Already King is a street where locals walk their dogs alongside theatre-goers and people on their way to or from work. Get ready for more.
Condo Critic – Festival Tower, 80 John Street
Sitting on the west side of John just north of King, this highrise condo is part of a larger whole that includes TIFF’s much-celebrated Bell Lightbox. The main public gesture comes at the corner, where a restaurant spills out happily onto the street.
By contrast, the condo presents a more private face to the city. The lobby, a single-storey space with a glass front, feels restrained and low-key. Above this, the exterior abruptly turns solid, the wall broken only by open horizontal strips. Its position is determined by the (mostly transparent) King St. facade, but it looms ominously on John.
Above that, a glass tower rises precipitously. Simple, minimalist, almost reductive, it is a study in the geometry of repetition, interesting if not wildly exciting. In its current get up — balconies covered in green tarps after glass panels fell — the Festival Tower looks like a condo Christo has wrapped. Too bad they didn’t use pink.
Contact the Jeffrey Team for more information – 416-388-1960
Laurin & Natalie Jeffrey are Toronto Realtors with Century 21 Regal Realty.
They did not write these articles, they just reproduce them here for people
who are interested in Toronto real estate. They do not work for any builders.