Tag Archives: St. James Town
Christopher Hume – Toronto Star
Parliament St. has been in a state of flux for almost 40 years. Halfway between Cabbagetown old and new, its offerings are a mixed bag. Dollar stores and specialty food shops rub shoulders here, especially on the section running north from Gerrard to Wellesley Sts.
The days when this was a no-go zone are long over, but yuppies don’t own everything yet. But let’s be honest, thanks to those urban pioneers, Cabbagetown and Don Vale are now among the most sought-after neighbourhoods in the city. And it’s not hard to figure out why; the 19th-century housing stock ranks among Toronto’s most elegant and well preserved.
Not only that, but there’s a consistency in scale and materials, though not style, that adds enormous appeal. Unlike, say, Rosedale, Cabbagetown is coherent and all-of-a-whole. It adds up to more than the sum of its parts.
West of Parliament, the neighbourhood loses the quiet, bucolic quality one finds on the east. With downtown lurking beyond, that’s no surprise. The looming presence of St. James Town to the north doesn’t help, but Cabbagetown is firmly entrenched in its new identity.
Despite a number of new residential projects in the general vicinity, it has managed to hang on its Victorian heritage. Cabbagetown also reminds us that city-building was something our 19th-century forbearers pulled off effortlessly. We would do well to follow their example.
Condo Critic – 492 Parlimant Street
This modernist brick-and-glass box certainly isn’t the most beautiful building to appear in this neck of the woods, but on the other hand, as an instance of contemporary infill housing, it works brilliantly.
Standing just four storeys tall, it has a single floor base above which all is masonry or glazing. The architects have made no effort to copy the styles of its earlier neighbours, but that’s okay. A main artery such as Parliament bears the results, sometimes the scars, of many generations. Besides, larger windows and less formal spaces make eminent sense in these more casual times.
With retail at grade, the building is already integrated into the street and, indeed, has achieved the kind of invisibility of a fabric building. They may not grab our attention, but they don’t have to; they are the stuff of which the city is made.
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A councillor wants larger units to encourage families to stay downtown
Excerpt from an article by Jim Byers and Phinjo Gombu – Toronto Star
With files from Paul Moloney
Aimee Stoyles loves her downtown lifestyle. Restaurants, nightlife, a lakefront apartment.
But would the 25-year-old raise a family in one of the condos that have sprung up in her neighbourhood? Not likely.
“If I wanted to have a family, I would consider moving outside of Toronto,” she said while walking along Queens Quay.
Stoyles pointed out that she likes living along the waterfront simply because there are “not a whole lot of families.”
And that has at least one local politician worried that Toronto’s condominium boom will become a bust. Councillor Adam Vaughan argues that a lack of planning means gleaming new condo buildings could turn into slums if developers don’t build places for families to live
Vaughan convinced the city’s planning and growth management committee last week to ask city staff to document the number of bedrooms being built in the towers springing up all over Toronto. He hopes to use that information to get developers to build three-bedroom units that would draw families to the city’s core as well as singles, young married couples and retirees.
Condo owner Bruce McKay, who lives in the King St. W. and Spadina Ave. area, said while he’s not concerned the buildings will become vacant and turn into slums, he supports the general thrust of Vaughan’s initiative. “I’d love to see a much more balanced community down here,” said McKay.
Vaughan said a lack of three-bedroom units often means people with growing families must move to the suburbs and commute to a downtown job. Others, he said, will try to buy existing, affordable single-family homes in the core, which helps fuel the cost of downtown housing and sparks higher property taxes that people with moderate incomes can’t afford.
Laura Tipton, 26, who rents an apartment near Harbourfront with her boyfriend, said she might consider living in a condo to raise a family one day, but she couldn’t see herself being able to afford a three-bedroom unit.
“You’re by default creating slums or the potential for slums. If the rail lands goes the way of St. James Town and if the condo district north of there goes the way of St. James Town, we as a city will have built slums next to our financial district.
“I had one proposal in my ward for a building with 55 units, all of them one-bedroom. But I spoke with the developer and now he’s planning 39 units, seven of them with three bedrooms.”
Chief Toronto planner Ted Tyndorf said the city doesn’t have the authority to demand certain types of condos be built.
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