Coffee in the Sky

Coffee in the sky
One of the joys of Toronto for me is the opportunity to swank around visiting friends’ condominium apartments and the wonderful facilities they have at their disposal. There is nothing quite like having coffee in the sky – sitting in a roof garden overlooking the CN Tower, Lake and city, or downing a glass of wine on a balcony overlooking the harbour or one of the Ravines. The air is quite different up on high and with very little of the hubbub below filtering skywards it’s surprisingly peaceful.
Condos are the new Toronto. The huge numbers of downtown car-parks -signs of demolished older buildings – are rapidly disappearing to make way for an oh-so profitable condominium development. It’s a bit like arable farming, whilst we lose one car-park to actual building work, another becomes available to use for a couple of years during the pre-building stage – which represents the planning period for the condo developer: gauging demand through its presentation suite sales getting its finances in order and so forth.
Viewed by many as a curse, their relentless march across the skyline is changing the face of Toronto; with condos going up all along the Lakeshore and layering north along Yonge Street to join the existing enclave of skyscrapers of North York.
Toronto is not alone in its rapid development into the clouds. Aside from the cities such as New York, Chicago and Seattle, and the newly fabulous contenders in the Middle East and Far East the UK is experiencing a recent surge in condo development hailed as “the beginning of a high-rise renaissance”. This is in complete contrast to the traditional view of “high-rise living” in the UK, as a hangover from Britain’s post-war austerity and poor 1960’s planning, and the social problems that ensued as a result of these developments. We’re talking a resurgence in the form of “modern developments in glass and steel which are being snapped up by discriminating city dwellers”. Partly driven by rocketing property costs, partly by fashion, high-rise/Condominiums are being planned all over the UK Condo living is largely accessible to people in most large cities around the globe. For instance, in the US, the “Growth Management Act” seeks to curb incessant urban sprawl, and many traditional suburban developers are recognizing both practical and economic reasons for shifting to urban infill projects with this trend expected to gain velocity in the coming years.
In Toronto there was a very real decision last century to turn industrial sites into residential space; and condominiums have transformed our inner city and brought vitality to it in a way that other cities around the world have failed. Furthermore, the benefits of high-rise living are appreciated both by environmentalists for reducing environment impact through urban centre densification, and by city residents as a liberating alternative lifestyle choice.
Condominiums are no longer a utilitarian solution to urban accommodation needs – they have become this’ life-style’ choice. Evocative branding, promotional and marketing materials are used to create the desire then satisfy that need. Ultimately, the Condo promise is a combination of location, facilities, convenience and outlook which implies a better way of life and self-affirmation for the owner. Nowhere is this more evident than in Toronto which has become the largest and most vibrant ‘Condo’ market in North America with more than 250 developments in progress with some fascinating new trends emerging as the market reaches new heights of sophistication and continues to reinvent it. Toronto leads the way in terms of numbers and the state of the art.
And, by the way the term condo means shared facilities and responsibilities; they are not always high-rise. One friend of mine lives in a town house attached to a magnificent twin high-rise complex on the Lakeshore complete with marina, swimming pool, party room, hobby room and gym and the most amazing view of the city skyline. In contrast to the high-rise subsidised 1950’s/60’s housing estates of the UK touched upon earlier there is no lack of community in these complexes. There always seems to be something going on in the units – either arranged by the condo management board (an elected group of residents) or by individual resident themselves. This is a lifestyle choice.
For instance, the residents of 44 Charles Street inhabit the award winning Manulife Centre which built in 1972 was Canada’s first major mixed-use development and at the time, this 51-storey residential tower was the tallest building in the British Empire. The inhabitants of these high-end condos step out of their lifts into the marble and shimmering glass concourses of the mulit-faceted Manulife complex, which then segues into the Holt Renfrew Centre (Brits think Harvey Nicks) and the Hudson Bay Centre. It is an enormous complex with its own underground unofficial “PATH” system, and a huge variety of both high-end stores (it is under Bloor Street West after all) and boutiques, the Varsity and VIP cinemas, the Panorama Lounge; a variety of restaurants and coffee shops, and of course minutes away from some of the world’s most celebrated museums and galleries. Lest you think of all this “realtor/estate agent” speak as a sales pitch; make no mistake just to purchase a small studio apartment will set you back nearly $1500, 000. all the way up to $5000, 000 for a 3 bedroom unit.
So what could you expect for this price-tag? Well you’d have all the usual, 24 hour concierge/security; a party room; guest suites; an indoor pool, sauna and gym. All topped off with a rooftop garden and spectacular views over the city, the Lake and the islands.
So why do so many of the people I know choose to live in condos; let’s deconstruct that Lifestyle definition by looking at the advantages: These are cost, location, convenience (no snow clearing or gardening) amenities, design features, security, community spirit, and green living with many of the newer projects incorporating environmentally-friendly and innovative ideas as the differentiator.
Would I live in a condo and forgo the endless lawn-mowing; weed pulling and snow clearing. Have a gym, pool and amenities laid on (yeah you have to pay a service charge including these amenities but heck they are on-hand and you can cancel your expensive external gym membership and trips to a pool.
Would I?
In a heartbeat. To me this sort of living embodies a clutter-free, and streamlined approach to city living.
So Miranda. my exotique amie (yes you know who you are), go nip downstairs and make me another of your special
espressos, and bring yourself and your delicious line of chat back up to the rooftop. I have a date with the city!
Over and Out

 

  • An afternoon in Yorkville
  • A trip to Caledon
  • Baysfield – who knew?
  • Wine pairing in Niagara
  • Jazz on The Lake
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    Coffee in the Sky

    Coffee in the sky
    One of the joys of Toronto for me is the opportunity to swank around visiting friends’ condominium apartments and the wonderful facilities they have at their disposal. There is nothing quite like having coffee in the sky – sitting in a roof garden overlooking the CN Tower, Lake and city, or downing a glass of wine on a balcony overlooking the harbour or one of the Ravines. The air is quite different up on high and with very little of the hubbub below filtering skywards it’s surprisingly peaceful.
    Condos are the new Toronto. The huge numbers of downtown car-parks -signs of demolished older buildings – are rapidly disappearing to make way for an oh-so profitable condominium development. It’s a bit like arable farming, whilst we lose one car-park to actual building work, another becomes available to use for a couple of years during the pre-building stage – which represents the planning period for the condo developer: gauging demand through its presentation suite sales getting its finances in order and so forth.
    Viewed by many as a curse, their relentless march across the skyline is changing the face of Toronto; with condos going up all along the Lakeshore and layering north along Yonge Street to join the existing enclave of skyscrapers of North York.
    Toronto is not alone in its rapid development into the clouds. Aside from the cities such as New York, Chicago and Seattle, and the newly fabulous contenders in the Middle East and Far East the UK is experiencing a recent surge in condo development hailed as “the beginning of a high-rise renaissance”. This is in complete contrast to the traditional view of “high-rise living” in the UK, as a hangover from Britain’s post-war austerity and poor 1960’s planning, and the social problems that ensued as a result of these developments. We’re talking a resurgence in the form of “modern developments in glass and steel which are being snapped up by discriminating city dwellers”. Partly driven by rocketing property costs, partly by fashion, high-rise/Condominiums are being planned all over the UK Condo living is largely accessible to people in most large cities around the globe. For instance, in the US, the “Growth Management Act” seeks to curb incessant urban sprawl, and many traditional suburban developers are recognizing both practical and economic reasons for shifting to urban infill projects with this trend expected to gain velocity in the coming years.
    In Toronto there was a very real decision last century to turn industrial sites into residential space; and condominiums have transformed our inner city and brought vitality to it in a way that other cities around the world have failed. Furthermore, the benefits of high-rise living are appreciated both by environmentalists for reducing environment impact through urban centre densification, and by city residents as a liberating alternative lifestyle choice.
    Condominiums are no longer a utilitarian solution to urban accommodation needs – they have become this’ life-style’ choice. Evocative branding, promotional and marketing materials are used to create the desire then satisfy that need. Ultimately, the Condo promise is a combination of location, facilities, convenience and outlook which implies a better way of life and self-affirmation for the owner. Nowhere is this more evident than in Toronto which has become the largest and most vibrant ‘Condo’ market in North America with more than 250 developments in progress with some fascinating new trends emerging as the market reaches new heights of sophistication and continues to reinvent it. Toronto leads the way in terms of numbers and the state of the art.
    And, by the way the term condo means shared facilities and responsibilities; they are not always high-rise. One friend of mine lives in a town house attached to a magnificent twin high-rise complex on the Lakeshore complete with marina, swimming pool, party room, hobby room and gym and the most amazing view of the city skyline. In contrast to the high-rise subsidised 1950’s/60’s housing estates of the UK touched upon earlier there is no lack of community in these complexes. There always seems to be something going on in the units – either arranged by the condo management board (an elected group of residents) or by individual resident themselves. This is a lifestyle choice.
    For instance, the residents of 44 Charles Street inhabit the award winning Manulife Centre which built in 1972 was Canada’s first major mixed-use development and at the time, this 51-storey residential tower was the tallest building in the British Empire. The inhabitants of these high-end condos step out of their lifts into the marble and shimmering glass concourses of the mulit-faceted Manulife complex, which then segues into the Holt Renfrew Centre (Brits think Harvey Nicks) and the Hudson Bay Centre. It is an enormous complex with its own underground unofficial “PATH” system, and a huge variety of both high-end stores (it is under Bloor Street West after all) and boutiques, the Varsity and VIP cinemas, the Panorama Lounge; a variety of restaurants and coffee shops, and of course minutes away from some of the world’s most celebrated museums and galleries. Lest you think of all this “realtor/estate agent” speak as a sales pitch; make no mistake just to purchase a small studio apartment will set you back nearly $1500, 000. all the way up to $5000, 000 for a 3 bedroom unit.
    So what could you expect for this price-tag? Well you’d have all the usual, 24 hour concierge/security; a party room; guest suites; an indoor pool, sauna and gym. All topped off with a rooftop garden and spectacular views over the city, the Lake and the islands.
    So why do so many of the people I know choose to live in condos; let’s deconstruct that Lifestyle definition by looking at the advantages: These are cost, location, convenience (no snow clearing or gardening) amenities, design features, security, community spirit, and green living with many of the newer projects incorporating environmentally-friendly and innovative ideas as the differentiator.
    Would I live in a condo and forgo the endless lawn-mowing; weed pulling and snow clearing. Have a gym, pool and amenities laid on (yeah you have to pay a service charge including these amenities but heck they are on-hand and you can cancel your expensive external gym membership and trips to a pool.
    Would I?
    In a heartbeat. To me this sort of living embodies a clutter-free, and streamlined approach to city living.
    So Miranda. my exotique amie (yes you know who you are), go nip downstairs and make me another of your special
    espressos, and bring yourself and your delicious line of chat back up to the rooftop. I have a date with the city!
    Over and Out
  • An afternoon in Yorkville
  • A trip to Caledon
  • Baysfield – who knew?
  • Wine pairing in Niagara
  • Jazz on The Lake
  • Leave a Reply

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