We love the character and charm of a fanciful Victorian or a straight laced and well proportioned Georgian. In fact, there are many styles and architectures that make a slow drive throughToronto’s side streets captivating. Who hasn’t seen a stunning house that literally seems to stand by itself on a block full of other houses?

Top among those styles that really stand out, however, are the bold and well designed few that are unapologetically contemporary. They don’t pander to yesterday, and they don’t pretend to be anything other than what they are. Stark contrasts, often utilitarian in nature, they’re the ones that stand alone and snub their noses at the herd. When they’re done right, they’re just as gorgeous on the inside. Here’s our pick of some of the best contemporary luxury homes inToronto.

Forest Hill

31 Millbank Front

This house is steps away from a great ravine and park system. Toboganning, picnics, children's play areas, biking with the kids - I've spent countless hours in this moraine. Location aside, this house has a great balance of aesthetics and function. Beautiful, clean lines with a great contrast of light and dark. I think this 'dusk' shot really captures the thought behind the design; talk about curb appeal!

 

51 Roxborough - The Wolf House

51 Roxborough Courtyard

Located in Rosedale, this house backs on to the David Balfour Park system and the Beltline. It's a 10 minute bike ride (or a 20 minute walk) through the ravine to the Evergreen Brick Works, which is an amazing place for kids and families. We often bike to the Lakeshore for lunch from this area (actually, from Crother's Woods) - a beautiful lake-front view within 30 minutes, without having to ride on the road.

The house is stunning, and has won Canadian and International architectural awards. Designed by Barton Myers, it brings the 'outside in' and creates a stunning sense of beauty and comfort. It has recently been featured in Object magazine, Asia Tatler, and Dolce Magazine. I want to live in this house!

 

Annex

21 Boswell Courtyard

17 foot ceilings, 4 parking spots, salt water pool, and award winning architecture. Oh, by the way - it's a 30 second walk to some of the trendiest shops and restaurants available anywhere. And it's on a quiet street beside Yorkville. And, and - and enough said.

 

If you want to see more pictures of these homes, please login here. We'll be taking a look at some stunning contemporary luxury homes across Canada next.

Nick Thompson

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50 Yorkville Luxury Toronto CondoThe real estate market in Toronto and the GTA is changing, especially for luxury customers. Intensification is the name of the game, with less and less land available for residential use, more prospective home buyers searching for the ideal detached home in a walkable neighbourhood, and existing communities fighting the construction of condominium buildings and similar development projects.

So, where are Toronto's luxury buyers going? And who are they? Foreign investment in Toronto's luxury market has become a major trend this year, with buyers from the US, China, Russia, and the Middle East making up the majority of the international crowd. These international buyers are driving prices up throughout Toronto, where a small bungalow in Willowdale recently sold for $421,800 over the asking price to a Chinese university student. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

Luxury real estate sales are expected to climb, in part because recent changes to the mortgage rules in Canada have less impact on luxury buyers. However, the demand seems higher for detached homes, creating a price gap at a time when a surprising number of luxury condos are available. From what we can tell, luxury buyers from Canada and other parts of the world are looking for the same thing: a detached home with modern amenities in a good area, with reasonable density and little crowding. They may also be looking for homes they can knock over and renovate from the ground up, which has become a trend in Willowdale and elsewhere. Also, more international buyers may be looking in communities where their first languages are spoken, such as Vaughan and Markham. While urban centres are usually heralded for their diversity, communities where you can raise a child with two languages among others who share their culture can be harder to find -- especially if you're looking for a large home that can house multiple generations of the same family.

So, where should you buy if you're looking for an area in Toronto with detached homes that will change over time, or where you can spend more money on a luxury renovation after purchase? Try Eglinton West or Little India, where residents priced out of surrounding neighbourhoods are settling and gentrifying. In ten years these neighbourhoods will have come into their own, and they'll be the next target of luxury buyers who want to be close to the city without sacrificing space.

Nick Thompson

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