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Tower fits into scenic location

Christopher Hume – Toronto Star

North of the Danforth, Broadview Ave. is a street in transition. After decades of inactivity, it has come alive with construction cranes, most of them found on condo sites. That’s hardly surprising; this is a neighbourhood that despite appearance has a lot going for it. Though not centrally located, it’s close enough to feel connected. The local subway station, Broadview, serves as a transportation hub and then, of course, there’s Danforth Ave., as lively a part of Toronto as any.

But let’s be honest; lined with nondescript lowrise buildings, Broadview is eminently forgettable. On the west side, the most prominent feature is a series of highrise apartment buildings dating from the 1970s. Though not especially attractive, they are classic examples of the tower-in-the-field approach that was once popular. Each building is set back from the sidewalk, sitting in splendid isolation on its own site.

To the east, the area includes everything from tiny postwar bungalows to the more substantial heaps of the Playter Estates neighbourhood, which was developed in the first quarter of the 20th century. It’s interesting to note that in contrast to Broadview, which has gained a number of tall buildings, Danforth remains overwhelmingly lowrise. Given the fact a subway runs beneath it, one can’t help but wonder how long that will last.

Condo Critic – Minto Skyy, 1048 Broadview Avenue

It would be hard to think of a better location for a highrise condo tower than this one on the west side of Broadview, just north of Pottery Road.

Until Skyy appeared, the best-known local landmark was the Dairy Queen next door. It’s still there – though closed for the season – and no matter what you think of the menu, the view ranks among the finest in Toronto.

Looking out over the Don Valley to the heart of downtown, the Dairy Queen, not to mention Skyy, have urban vistas worthy of Vancouver. The building itself has been designed to take maximum advantage of the location; the west facade curves dramatically toward the valley. The Broadview frontage is occupied with ground-level units. Though it’s true the street is largely residential, the space here might better have been used for more public purposes such as retail.

If not exciting, Skyy’s architecture benefits from a sense of restraint. As so often seems the case these days, this is a glass tower. (Toronto must have dozens at this point.) But fitted nicely into a complicated site, it’s one of those rare residential towers that actually feel at home in their location.

Unlike the nearby slabs, which are blithely oblivious to their surroundings, Skyy represents a genuine response to the context.

Also in contrast to the slabs, this tower sits atop a two-storey podium that helps reduce the size of a complex that could otherwise loom ominously over the sidewalk. As it is, the passerby might never notice it’s there.

GRADE: B+

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Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information  -  416-388-1960

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