Tag Archives: economy
by Dan Flomen
Developing a master-planned community takes a great deal of vision. Not only must you picture the project itself, but also the impact that it will have on the surrounding area and the local economy.
In the early 1990s, one could drive along the Gardiner Expressway and see nothing but undeveloped land and decaying buildings when approaching Park Lawn Road in Etobicoke. Sandwiched between the railway tracks and the Gardiner appeared a sales catastrophe waiting to happen.
But then Camrost-Felcorp acquired that land and turned it into a modern community catering to all types of buyers. Mystic Pointe is the result, a new neighbourhood comprised of condominium townhomes, apartments, and lofts.
In the first phase of development on Manitoba Street, Camrost-Felcorp introduced a condominium and townhomes with underground parking, followed by a unique renovation of the McGuiness Distillery. The distillery was converted into modern two-storey lofts.
Using the existing structure, parking was added through the centre of the building. The following phase consisted of a unique concept: adding a second loft structure on top of the converted building. In doing so, Camrost-Felcorp provided a rooftop garden and created an outdoor living environment that is a central meeting place for residents.
Following the success of the previous lofts, a third loft building at the same development was put up backing onto the Gardiner, with a variety of wide and narrow plans. It has a modern New York feel, incorporating a minimalist approach to its lobby and halls.
The most recent addition to Mystic Pointe is The Tides, a building unlike any other in the area. Its soaring glass structure takes the site one step further into the future. Two-storey lofts and single-floor suites make up this dramatic building. The facilities provided at the Camrost Centre for Recreational Arts will rival most fitness clubs and will service not only The Tides, but also Camrost-Felcorp’s future endeavor, iLoft.
The overall effect on this area of Etobicoke was felt immediately. Young professionals, seeking refuge from the congestion of downtown, moved in. The minor commute was insignificant to them compared to the potential upsides: walking trails along the waterfront were now minutes from their homes. Stores and shops along The Queensway started to spring up. An urban community now existed in an area once thought to be dying.
Other developers have now joined in this south Etobicoke revival. With access to major highways at residents’ doorstep combined with all the conveniences of downtown, sales are brisk. Singles, young families, and empty nesters are moving into this thriving area. Unlike many visions that go unrealized, Mystic Pointe continues to grow and blossom.
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by Amy West
Liberty Village is a unique community located in Toronto’s West End that features diversity framed within a historical district. It’s bordered by King, Dufferin, the Gardiner Expressway, and Strachan.
Liberty Village has grown significantly over the past two years, both in new residential and office spaces. Because the neighbourhood is an abandoned industrial area, these developments have primarily been built inside old factories. It has become a trendy spot for young professionals who are pushing further west into less established areas, while remaining a short ride from the city core.
Throughout its history Liberty Village has undergone social and economic transformations, but what has remained are the unique Victorian-era industrial buildings, which have made this area a memorable visual link to Toronto’s past.
Beginning in the late 19th and continuing into the 20th century, this area was a major manufacturing centre in Canada. It underwent rapid industrial growth during the mid-1800s thanks to its proximity to the railways and harbours. By the turn of the century, a mixed collection of ramshackle wooden buildings gave way to massive brick structures – the heart of Canada – industrial revolution.
The district was also home to industrial institutions. Central Prison, set back from Strachan Avenue, was built by the province in the early 1880s, not only to incarcerate inmates, but to put them to work in the hopes of profiting from their labour. It closed in 1911, but the old chapel can still be seen at the corner of Pirandello and East Liberty Streets.
The area was also the site of the Andrew Mercer Reformatory and the Ontario Reformatory Facility for Females. Ironically, Liberty Street ran between the two prisons. The Mercer Reformatory was torn down after being condemned in 1969 and is now the location of Lamport Stadium.
North of Liberty Street on Dufferin was a factory built in 1916 by the Russell Motorcar Company that manufactured fuses used in bomb shells in World War I. South of Liberty Street was the Dufferin Liberty Centre. It manufactured electrical lights to send overseas during and after World War I.
In 1881 John Inglis and Sons opened facilities on Strachan and Hanna avenues, thus expanding its successful business of building machinery for grist and flour mills. In 1902 it switched to manufacturing marine steam engines and waterworks pumping engines.
Two years later, an American named Major J.E. Hahn purchased the company and manufactured the Bren lightweight machine gun used by British and Canadian infantries during World War II. In 2003 Lifetime Urban Development Group purchased the building and is transforming it into a retail and commercial complex called the Liberty Market Building.
The site at 43 Hanna Avenue was the head office of Irwin Toy. It was transformed by Lanterra Developments into the Toy Factory Lofts, which won the 2005 Greater Toronto Home Builders Association award for Condominium Project of the Year.
Until 1858, Liberty Village was also the site of Toronto’s Industrial Exhibition, which later moved south and was renamed the Canadian National Exhibition.
Today Liberty Village is alive with new companies, new people, and new style – a hotbed of high tech and culture in the new economy, enjoying a revival as one of the fastest-growing employment centres in the city combined with new urban living. The village is an example of smart growth, with residents and businesses expanding together, supported by accessible transportation and a growing retail community.
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