Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category
The Globe and Mail‘s Alex Bozikovic really quite likes the proposed redevelopment of the area of Honest Ed’s and Mirvish Village.
Mirvish Village is dead. Long live Mirvish Village. In the area near Honest Ed’s this week, workers had put up fences around a string of Victorian houses on Markham Street, preparing to gut them, while creatives assembled an “Art Maze” inside the old Honest Ed’s store for a festival and sendoff, An Honest Farewell, this weekend.
It’s the end of an age at Bloor and Bathurst Streets: the loveable shambles of Honest Ed’s is gone forever. But as this weekend’s events suggest, the past will continue to have a presence on the site.
The new development at Mirvish Village, after two years of conversation between developers Westbank, locals and the city, is inching closer to approval, with a new proposal submitted in January to the city. Westbank paid $72-million for the site, a big number, and yet the result is as good as private development gets in Toronto. It features meaningful preservation of heritage buildings, a serious sustainability agenda, and affordable housing – not to mention an architectural and leasing strategy geared at making the place as lively as possible, even a bit weird.
That’s all because the developers have been ready to engage in meaningful discussion: The city and the community have made this proposal better through talking and listening.
When the first Westbank proposal emerged in early 2015, “I think [the City of Toronto] were surprised by how much we were offering,” the main architect, Vancouver’s Gregory Henriquez, told me last week. “That’s how we deal in Vancouver: We come with our best offer.”
Doug Alexander and Katia Dmitrieva write for Bloomberg about the statement by the Royal Bank of Canada’s chief executive officer that Toronto’s housing market needs to be slowed down like Vancouver’s
Toronto may require measures to cool its red-hot housing market similar to moves taken in Vancouver if interest rates don’t increase, said Royal Bank of Canada Chief Executive Officer David McKay.
The head of Canada’s largest lender said Toronto housing is “running hot” and is fueled by a “concerning mix of drivers” that include lack of supply, continued low rates, rising foreign money and speculative activity. Similar circumstances in Vancouver prompted British Columbia’s government last year to impose a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers.
“In the absence of being able to use higher rates to reduce that, I do think we’re going to at some point have to consider similar measures to slow down the housing price growth,” McKay said Friday in a telephone interview.
The comments from the bank CEO come as frustration grows over the unaffordability of properties in Canada’s biggest city. The average home price in Toronto jumped 22 percent in January from the previous year, the fifth straight month of gains topping 20 percent. Listings have dropped off, down by half from last year, squeezing prices further.
The CEOs of Canada’s other big banks last year called on the government to increase housing regulation amid skyrocketing prices in Vancouver and Toronto. National Bank of Canada CEO Louis Vachon said that minimum downpayments should return to 10 percent from 5 percent, while Bank of Nova Scotia head Brian Porter suggested his company was pulling back on mortgage lending due to concern about high home prices in those two cities.
blogTO’s Derek Flack notes that 205 Yonge Street has been put up on the market for the initial asking price of $C 1.
One of Toronto’s most beautiful buildings has hit the market for the grand sum of $1. Just don’t expect the former Bank of Toronto at 205 Yonge St., to sell for anywhere near that price.
Designed by landmark Toronto architect E.J. Lennox in 1905, the bank was built in the neo-classical style with a remarkable domed roof, terrazzo floors, marble walls, and striking Corinthian columns that face Yonge Street.
It’s one of two glorious old bank buildings that’ll be injected with new life as the Massey Tower rises above them. Nearby 197 Yonge St. is also one of Toronto’s iconic historical structures.
As for the listing price, it’s basically an auction. Real estate agent Shawn Abramovitz argues that this pricing strategy also hints at the difficulty of putting a value on such a unique property.
In The Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee writes about the import of the St. Lawrence Market, present on its current location for two centuries and hopefully here for a long while to come.
St. Lawrence Market is one of the two sites in Toronto (the other is nearby St. James Cathedral) that has been used for the same purpose since the city’s earliest days.
Generations of farmers, butchers and vegetable mongers have come down to lay out their wares. Generations of shoppers have come to fill their grocery bags. In a constantly changing city, that kind of continuity is rare and precious.
So when city hall decided to tear down and rebuild the newish market building on the north side of Front Street and replace it with something better, archeologists got a twinkle in their eyes. Here was a chance to explore the buried remnants of Toronto’s past, layer upon layer. At least five market structures have stood on the site. What traces would remain of all those years of busy commerce?
By luck, the site had never suffered a huge excavation. The ground was covered only by a layer of concrete, the floor of the modern, 1968 market building. After that structure was torn down last fall, crews got digging.
They haven’t found any priceless artifacts. They didn’t expect to. This was a market, not a pharaoh’s tomb. Instead, they found butchered bones, iron meat hooks, painted ceramics, a soda bottle and an 1852 Bank of Upper Canada half-penny token. More important, they found the remains of the various buildings of evolving style and size that stood there, each a marker of the city’s growth.