Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

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Modern Toronto Lofts

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Unique Toronto Homes

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Condos in Toronto

Condos in Toronto

I started off selling mainly condos, helping first time buyers get a foothold in the Toronto real estate market. Now working with investors and helping empty nesters find that perfect luxury suite.

Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

For all of your Toronto real estate needs, contact Laurin. I am dedicated to helping you find that perfect and unique new home to call your own.


Tag Archives: bay street

So long, downtown parking lots

The twin-tower proposal for one of the last remaining surface lots in the core area foretells the end of an era.

Christopher Hume – Toronto Star

It’s the end of the road for the parking lot in downtown Toronto. One by one, these once-ubiquitous asphalt deserts are being torn up to make way for the growing city.

The latest to join the ranks of the disappeared – on the northeast corner of Bay and Lake Shore – will be the site of a two-towered complex that includes a new GO bus terminal and office space.

An area that was leveled in the 1950s and ’60s to accommodate the car is now being remade as a largely residential precinct of the Vertical City. Where once there were cars, now there are condos.

Or soon will be. Remaining parking lots at the Queens Quay LCBO and One Yonge are slated for redevelopment. Others on Queens Quay, Bay and Yonge have already succumbed.

Condos without parking
Land has become too valuable for such low-order use; cars still need places to park, of course, but leaving huge swaths of the city empty except for stationary vehicles no longer makes sense, if it ever did.

In 21st-century Toronto the car is fast losing its privileged position. Yet because we have failed to provide adequate transit, Torontonians cling to their cars long after many other cities have got their habit under control.

Most new development includes underground parking, but not even that can be assumed. One condo tower on University Ave has no parking at all. Others have less than one spot per living unit.

Comment: But this is where condo developers need some bold vision. Make condos part of the city fabric. Add public parking, and other public spaces, to these new towers. Add a library, a rec centre, a grocery store – heck, why not a school – to the lower levels of the building. Include them in the streetscape, rather than make them walled off enclaves where security excludes those who don’t belong. Add Bixi bikes, Zip Cars, anything to show non-residents that have been considered and that they are welcome in the new space.

In other words, despite the city’s inability or unwillingness to keep up with the realities of urban life, it continues to unfold regardless. Before new restrictions on car use are implemented by the city or province, they will have happened anyway. Indeed, the shift towards a more equitable and intelligent approach to streets – and the public realm in general – has started.

Toronto has along way to go, and success is by no means guaranteed. The city’s ambivalence about itself doesn’t help. Many Torontonians, including its soon-to-be-ex-mayor, exist in a state of denial about living in a big city.

And so, as the city struggles to realize its urban potential, contradictions and chaos are the result. A close look at (pre-construction) Bay around the site of the proposed development, for example, reveals a five-lane street with narrow sidewalks and corners overrun with hordes of commuters coming and going to and from Union Station, the GO terminal, the TTC, subway, bus, streetcar….

Meanwhile, there are three lanes on Bay for northbound traffic, one just for drivers turning left at Front St. The ’50s are with us still.

Adding two towers to the mix will make a bad situation worse. That’s not to say the towers shouldn’t be built – they should – but changes as dramatic as those happening in Toronto don’t stop at the property line of a new tower.

One thing leads to another, and suddenly we find ourselves unable to get around by any means. The bottom end of Bay is treated as not as a city street but an urban highway leading to the Gardiner.

To make matters worse, the division of civic operations across multiple bureaucracies leads to lack of coherence and consistency as it stalls progress and ensures mediocrity.

While one silo is busy ensuring that Bay works for drivers, another wants to bring new development and thousands more people on the same street.

City hall would rather ignore it, but sooner or later we must decide: If parking lots don’t belong downtown, what about cars? Is it still possible in the contemporary city to have your car and drive it too?

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

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.