Once railway land in downtown Toronto, CityPlace is now a large condo development near the city’s lakeshore, a stone’s throw from the Fashion, Entertainment & Financial Districts. Located at Spadina Avenue and Front Street West, CityPlace condominiums have been built at an ideal location near the Rogers Centre. The CityPlace condo development was conceived by Concord Adex developments to be the tallest and largest in Toronto history. CityPlace, which will consist of high-rises ranging from 28 to 49 floors, half a dozen low-rise structures and 100 townhomes for an incredible total of 6,000 homes, puts an end to a 30-year debate about the proper use of the old railway lands. From ching-ching to cheap, this neighbourhood features a vast array of restaurants serving residents, club kids and theatre-goers alike. There is no shortage of greenery, either; parks, ponds and walking paths are everywhere, as the planners have devoted half of the CityPlace property to green space, and Roundhouse Park sits right below and to the east of the development.
Concord CityPlace has been labelled a dynamic urban oasis set on 44 acres, with most buildings completed in the last 5 years but with several more still to come. With so much of its land reserved for a parkland system overlooking Lake Ontario, Concord CityPlace will have more green space than any other neighbourhood in downtown Toronto. This high-tech neighbourhood features grand residences and resort-style amenities with all towers being architecturally designed to complement each other, carefully positioned to maximize views for every suite. The ideal downtown location offers easy access to such landmarks as Roy Thompson Hall, Union Station and the ACC.
City Place – The Apex Condos
381 & 397 Front Street West
The two towers known as the Apex Condominiums, (28 and 36 storeys respectively) is part of this ambitious urban planned Toronto community. Complemented by a lavish courtyard water feature, the glass-and-steel Apex offers gorgeous unobstructed lake and city views. Floor to ceiling windows are used to optimize views and light exposure. Residence at The Apex allows access to the spectacular Club Vista, a deluxe party room. Amenities of this Toronto condominium include a large indoor pool, whirl pool, steam room, sauna, exercise room, billiard lounge, guest suites & visitor parking, and 24 hour security & concierge. There is also a theatre available for residents’ use – the facilities are shared between the Matrix and Apex Buildings. These buildings have 1 and 2 bedroom suites, and more spacious penthouses, generally ranging in price from the mid $200’s to over $900,000. Rentals begin at about $1400 and soar to $5000 per month for a penthouse suite. Conveniently for residents, there are a number of shops at the building’s street level including a Subway restaurant, a dry cleaner’s, tech repair, tanning salon, and Urban Spaw pet care.
CityPlace is immersed in the style and spirit of true downtown living while still being very close to other more colourful neighbourhoods, such as Chinatown (known for a vast selection of authentic Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants, fresh fruit markets, and a wealth of oriental shops) only a few minutes north at Spadina & Dundas, and the eclectic Kensington Market just north of that. Of course, Queen West is one of the city’s most popular shopping districts, featuring trendy restaurants, fashion shops, galleries, antique shops, and clubs, and King West is another portal to amazing shopping and dining. Just north of the development on Adelaide, Tutti Matti provides hearty Tuscan fare ($$1/2) for all the workers fortunate enough to have offices in the Fashion District. Shops with fine furs and wedding gowns in their window displays rub elbows with Winners, and art galleries like the Moore/Trias/Leo Kamen galleries and studios at 80 Spadina offer refreshing new exhibits to jaded urbanites. Condo owners can indulge their palates in high-end grocery shopping at the Fresh and Wild and whip up gourmet dinners in the Calphalon cookware offered at their culinary centre at King & Spadina. Clubgoers are in heaven, with the close proximity to clubs like Bar 244, Cabana, Republik, Body English, Boulevard Room, Blurr, Level and many more in this ever-changing landscape, making expensive taxi rides and designated drivers unnecessary.
More sedate local entertainment includes movies at the Scotiabank (formerly Paramount) Theatre and of course, ball games at the Rogers Centre (formerly Skydome). The streetcars along Spadina Avenue and King Street will get you there in record time. Clarence Square Park is a nice place to take a breather before turning onto Front Street and the CityPlace development itself. All in all, the area offers a lively concentration of performing art venues, restaurants, nightspots, and retail shops to suit all tastes.
City Place – The Optima Condos
81 Navy Wharf Court
Imagine catching a ball game from your suite! The Optima condominiums at City Place were designed with the ultimate views in mind. Space is optimized, as planned by the designers of this glass tower building in the heart of downtown Toronto just behind the Rogers Centre. Amenities include a large indoor pool, whirl pool, steam room, sauna and exercise room. There is also access to the Club Vista. Premier Fitness has space in the Rogers Centre complex as well, and there is a great coffee shop just at the foot of Navy Wharf. The building is just steps away from the Harbourfront (a popular cultural neighbourhood, featuring specialty shops, antique markets, cultural venues, and a terrific lakeside walking trail), and steps to the Sky Dome (Rogers Centre), Air Canada Centre, Metro Convention Centre, and CN Tower. Catch the Toronto Island Ferry or test your skill at sailing, rowing, or other water sports, just minutes away.
City Place – The Matrix Condos
361 & 373 Front Street West
The stunning oval building of The Matrix Condos at City Place is located in the heart of the city’s sports and theatre district. As with all CityPlace residents, suites offer super fast internet service – to 50 times faster than regular high speed – along with real-time movie viewing and a community website with 24-hour view cams. The on-site TELUS centre downstairs provides unsurpassed customer service, making CityPlace not only Toronto’s largest residential development project but the most digitally advanced community in Canada.
Downstairs from 373 the building also houses an RBC, while a Tim Horton’s & Pizza Pizza across the street are popular chains for quick eats. Next door to 361, the 24-hr Rabba offers a wide range of fresh & prepared foods, and there is also the Food Emporium at 330 Front and the M&M Uptown meat shops for those looking to do a substantial grocery shop. All the amenities are here: hair salons, corner stores, upscale dining at Sen5ses Restaurant and their bakery/cafe in the Soho Metropolitan Hotel at Wellington (world cuisine fine-dining, innovative menu $$$) and cheap, cheerful breakfasts and lunches at Cora’s (artfully designed fruit, crepes, French toast etc. in a family atmosphere, $). Wonderfully close by, live theatre and music is constantly rotated at gritty urban dinner theatre joints and live venues such as the Diesel Playhouse, Second City and Jeff Healey’s Roadhouse.
Wonderful conveniences exist in this neighbourhood that seldom sleeps: the Shoppers Drug Mart is open till midnight, and many of the restaurants stay open late for the crowds streaming out of the Princess of Wales theatre having seen the latest big-ticket Mirvish production. These epicurean hotspots include the Lexy Supper Club, Fred’s Not Here and The Red Tomato (contemporary Italian & Canadian fare, $$1/2) La Fenice, Marcel’s (upscale French cuisine, $$$), Zazou, le St. Tropez, Gabby’s (typical pub fare, $), Urban steak & seafood, the Kit Kat, Hey Lucy, and Aroma.
Up and Coming
If you love the neighbourhood but can’t seem to get in, rest assured that more condominium units will soon be available!
The building will be 28 storeys, elliptical in shape, a modern mélange of brick & glass offering phenomenal unobstructed lake & city views and such amenities as a 24/7 concierge, private elevators, an indoor private garage, fitness centre, sports lounge, internet café, and games room. Contributing to the luxury is the rooftop patio with alfresco bar, BBQ pit, fireplace, hot tub and shower. Suites feature oversized balconies, in-suite security, a cooking island, and Italian kitchen finishes.
3 inspiring connected residences with a fluid façade and panoramic views. . Enjoy a rooftop paradise, infinity pool, and private courtyard. Expect a theatre, exercise room, aerobics/yoga centre, massage/manicure rooms, sauna and change rooms, internet stations, billiards, an exclusive private dining room that can be booked for functions, and two guest suites. Continuing the list of upscale amenities reminiscent of a luxury resort, an island dining area, themed cabanas, heated whirlpool, urban forest, waterfall, and outdoor rain shower will also be part of the landscape.
- Parade East & Parade West
Twin 36 storey connected towers on a stage-like podium directly facing the park. A bridge will connect the two towers at the 28th & 29th floors where the exclusive amenities are located. The complex will be home to the Terry Fox Miracle Mile, a 1-mile running path; the surrounding park will be divided into four quadrants dedicated to specific activities for all ages. Amenities are cleverly divided into zones: Party Zone 1 features all the expected amenities plus a Children’s Zone & Craft Room, children’s outdoor play area, vending lounge, pet spa & daycare, and pet outdoor play area. Level 2 offers a top of line fitness centre with steam rooms plus hot yoga and a lap pool; On Level 3, find the full service spa & squash courts.
In the Neighbourhood:
- 300 Front Street West, a 49 storey, 672 unit Tridel building is coming in spring 2012. Condos and lofts will start from 445 sq ft is size and go up to 2000 square feet, with pricing located in the $550-600 per square foot range. Located at Front & John just west of the Convention Centre, the building will feature designer 15th flr amenities including an infinity pool with cabanas, billiards, a fitness studio with yoga & spin rooms, a Roman fountain, steam room, massage room and theatre. Fashioned after a piece of contemporary furniture, the custom designed kitchens will house superior compact stainless steel appliances hidden for a built in look, along with ample deep storage. Bathrooms are well-appointed with premium porcelain floor tiles, soaker tubs, and large showers featuring Hansgrohe Chrome Raindance shower faucets with frameless glass fronts. A 24-hour concierge and encoded suite intrusion alarm systems, along with the usual cameras and computer controlled access systems, provide peace of mind. All suites are designed using environmentally preferable building materials such as low volatile organic compound paints and carpeting to minimize off-gassing, durable environmentally friendly hardwood flooring and energy efficient windows – as Tridel takes its commitment to building communities that are environmentally responsible, energy efficient and healthy places to live, very seriously.
- Empire Communities, one of the leading condominium builders in GTA, has introduced Fly Condos, a brand new condominium community coming to 352 Front Street West in spring 2012. This 24-storey residential enclave crafted from glass and metal panels will be situated between Blue Jays Way and Spadina, featuring an interesting interplay of distinctive and dramatic glass balconies on its western façade. The result of this design by Graziani + Corazza Architects will be an addition to Toronto’s skyline that will complement this historic neighbourhood. The complex will offer studios, one-bedroom, one-bedroom plus den, two-bedroom, two-bedroom-plus-den, three-bedroom, and two-storey lofts with street entry, with sizes ranging from 480 to over 1,500 sq. ft., and prices beginning from the mid-$200’s to just under $1 million. Each suite will have a balcony or terrace extending the owners’ living space to the outdoors; custom-designed contemporary kitchens with sleek stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops; engineered hardwood flooring; rich ceramics and glazed porcelain tiles; plus striking views through expansive windows.
- Fly will back onto Clarence Square, offering a landscaped promenade connecting to this urban park. Plus, the on-the-move crowd will enjoy living close to delectable restaurants, sizzling nightlife, renowned sports venues, and within walking distance to Toronto’s theatre and financial districts. Residents of Fly Condos will enjoy a building that features interiors and amenities by trend-setting Munge Leung Design Associates. These include the stunning white lobby with two-storey opaque green cut-glass columns, grey-veined marble floor and wall tile, and white and gold metal origami-like birds throughout. Parties will be a breeze in the stylish party venue with a chef’s kitchen complete with five appliances and access to the outdoor rooftop terrace with its private cabanas and barbecue station. The fitness centre is designed by George Chaker (founder of Diesel Fitness and Level V) and will feature the latest in workout equipment, a Yoga and Pilates studio, spinning area, sauna and more, all with a walkout to a private Zen courtyard ideal for meditation and seasonal yoga sessions. Overnight visitors can make use of a hotel-chic guest suite, and 24-hour concierge service will provide pure convenience.
- M5V Condos: ‘Green’ powered by Bullfrog, the Sky suites at the pre-construction Toronto M5V condominium residences start from the $400,000s and are now selling. Located from the 21st floor, the suites provide undisturbed views and unlimited purchase opportunities for personalized customization. Tasdesignbuild-designed and offered by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, the M5V condo Sky Suites are now open for viewing at the Presentation Centre located at King and Peter. Designed as a sustainable building, the new condos at M5V are committed to reducing their impact on the environment (and your bank account!). Registered for LEED certification, the building’s numerous features substantially reduce its energy consumption. Buyers can also place their personal stamp on their surroundings by choosing from an extensive selection of custom finishes and colours – or start from scratch and turn their suites into a custom residence. The unique living spaces range from 500 to 5,690 sq. ft. including studios, one and two bedrooms, two-storey suites, and penthouses. Prices of these pre-construction Toronto condominiums will begin from the $200,000’s. Each presales suite will have extensive outdoor living space, with 6′ deep private terraces, some larger than the actual indoor square footage, extending the usable living space into the great outdoors.
CityPlace was originally conceived as a way to revitalize what CN’s former Spadina Street Yard Facility. Going as far back as 1965, when CN amalgamated many of its yards in Greater Toronto Area (including this one) into a new centralized location northwest of downtown in Vaughan, there had been a plan to revitalize this part of downtown. One of them called for the construction a large television/telecommunications tower that would show Canada’s industry which later became the CN Tower. Unfortunately, after the Tower was constructed this area stood abandoned for a long time.
In 1984 Via Rail, the sole occupant what was left of the Spadina Street Yards, decided to moved their Toronto operations to newly built facility south of downtown in the suburb of Mimico. This freed up the land needed for this grand plan. So beginning in summer 1985, when the last of the railway buildings were demolished, construction began on what was to become a new baseball stadium (the former SkyDome, completed in1989.) Meanwhile a new network of roads, parks and infrastructure began to take shape. The project was going along smoothly until an economic downturn in the early 1990s caused many of the development plans to be shelved and land stood abandoned until 1997 when construction of the ACC arena commenced. This began the third and final phase of CityPlace which called for a multi-purpose development of commercial, residential, and retail.
Today the lands have been nearly completely developed, with the remaining parcels of land soon to see construction.
Inside The CityPlace Community
Often referenced for its proximity to Toronto landmarks, CityPlace is being touted as a development where “Every element of a complete, vibrant neighbourhood is here to enjoy.” That is certainly true for the mostly young professionals who call the area home! The neighbourhood includes:
- Roundhouse Park, 14 acres of parkland sitting directly to the south east of the CityPlace buildings, is bordered by Bremner Boulevard, Rees Street and Lower Simcoe Street. The park, which includes areas for baseball, basketball, bocce and cricket, also has an ice rink, lacrosse, lawn bowling, a playground, pool, a football / rugby / soccer field and tennis courts. The park itself is dotted with clusters of different tree species such as aspen, birch, oak, red maple and eastern larch, and a prairie garden serves as a vital habitat for wildlife, all helping to preserve biodiversity in the Toronto region while providing a scenic vantage point for viewing the city’s downtown office towers. Fanciful sculptures including purple snowmen and oversized woodpeckers, further enhance the park. Just on the north side of the park is the Olympic gardens, created along with Roundhouse Park in the late 1990s. Hundreds of engraved stones with the names of Canadian Olympians lead visitors through this diverse garden. Its wildflowers, native grasses and bushes, and comfortable benches make for a pleasant space.
The Future of the Neighbourhood
Some planners, architects and politicians have questioned the prudence of the development’s urban design. Critics have lauded the architectural excellence of the buildings themselves, but some believe suburban ideals have been engineered into the streetscape because the design and placement of the CityPlace complex seems to favour those with a car. While unopposed to high density, critics cite the project’s relative isolation as a potential hindrance to the future health of the fledgling community. Others believe community prosperity may be affected by the upward mobility of current purchasers. A lack of large units deters families from choosing CityPlace as a desirable place to live, and some fear that the developer’s ample use of window-wall construction, which could lead to costly maintenance in the future.
For young professional singles and couples wishing to live in the sizzling downtown core, with the option of customizing their units and the ability to enjoy luxury resort-quality amenities, CityPlace represents a good opportunity for lavish living at reasonable prices!