Ever been to Chicago? The dowtown waterfront has one solitary condo tower. The rest of the waterfront is devoted to 'public realm' - beaches, parks, art, festivals...it's wonderful. I heard, when taking the one of the two tourist tours I've ever enjoyed, that Chicago (ironically) based its' plans for their waterfront on Toronto's old plans for our waterfront.

What happened to our old plans? No idea. Hopefully, we'll make up for whatever went wrong with a better use of the waterfront that we have left. The graphic above shows how a hideously ugly industrial slip could be transformed. The Keating Channels current residents include many vital, if unattractive, tenants - the G4L waste centre, a boat haul company, etc. If the city planners can provide a LOT of public space with bike paths, parkland, and space for kids to play I'm all for it.

The hard part, in my opinion, would be to avoid creating an isolated area like Liberty Village. Easy commuter access, and really good paths to Cherry / Woodbine beaches, and the Tommy Thompson park, will be key to its' tenants success. Whatever the eventual outcome is, I hope the City planners get this one right.

Background: The Lower Don Lands is a 125 hectare (308 acre) area that runs from East Bayfront (the Parliament Street Slip) east to the Don Roadway and from West Don Lands (the rail corridor) south to the Ship Channel. Waterfront Toronto plans to transform the largely underutilized industrial area into new sustainable parks and communities. The naturalization and shifting of the mouth of the Don River is the centrepiece of the plans for the Lower Don Lands.

Tired of the Chicago comparison? So is Waterfront Toronto.

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Front Pad Parking becoming rare

For many of us, parking is a crucial part of owning a home. Even if you don’t have a car, having the option to park will significantly impact both the purchase and the resale price of a residence. You can imagine the dismay of a family who bought a house with parking, only to find that they can no longer park on their own property. Worse yet, if that family would like to sell, they are now faced with an absurd situation – sell their home for a substantially lower price because the City will no longer allow parking. 

There’s currently a moratorium on installing front yard pads in the old City of Toronto and few applications get approval. The reasons for the City to stop granting parking licenses appear to be that parking pads decrease rain absorption, and because recent storms have overwhelmed the city’s storm system (and ended up flooding basements) the City needs the front part of your yard to absorb more rain water. Also, more paved spaces create ‘urban heat islands’ - pavement retains more heat than greenery. Finally, a ‘curb cut’ for a front pad parking space takes away one parking spot for the street as a whole. If you want to check whether your front parking is legal, Click here!

Be careful when you purchase a home; make sure your lawyer has researched the parking issues and you are getting what you thought you paid for. If you’re already a home owner, make sure you keep your license up to date (pay the yearly licensing fee) and take care to make sure your parking is maintained. If you’re one of the few who are parking without a licensed front pad, you may want to start contacting a reputable lawyer who can help you get up-to-date. You won’t be able to rush a front pad parking license at the last minute when you decide to sell!

 

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A lack of listings continues to dominate the Toronto real estate market. A snapshot of Midtown Toronto follows that trend, as you can see in the graph above. The number of sales in May remains fairly consistent, but listings continues to trend down, from 210 in 2006 to 169 in 2016. Just like the rest of Toronto, a lack of supply puts upward pressure on prices. According to TREB, across Toronto the number of sales was up over 10% from this time last year while new listings were down 6%.

In other news, the OECD noted that Toronto’s housing market had appreciated at 15% year over year. “Strong residential investment may in principle reflect robust demographic growth, but Canada’s outcome appears stronger than what can be justified by underlying population increases”. Residential investment was 7.6% of Canada’s GDP in 2015.

The Federal Governement is trying to find a way to monitor foreign buyers, with the aim of slowing investors that do not intend to live in their residences. Other solutions for slowing the growth of the market may include "adopting a more rigorous qualifying standard for high-value properties" to mitigate the risk of speculation.

In my opinion, over the long term, it's hard to see how a property constrained area around a thriving hub such as the GTA can't appreciate in price unless more people want to sell. Sounds obvious, but the question I have is why would a large group of people want to suddenly sell out of the best city on earth, when it has a thriving and diverse economy (think: financial, technology, health science, legal, etc)? Fellow Torontonians, we are lucky to live here...

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June 10 to July 26: Luminato

Theatres, parks, and public spaces across the city are transformed. The Hearn Generating Station, in the heart of Toronto’s Port Lands, will play host to a multidisciplinary show of colour, music, and light.

June 1 to July 3: Pride Toronto

For one month, the heart of Toronto's LGBQT gay village will be particularly bright. Food, fun, and a celebration of all humanity's equality and our great country's acceptance of personal life styles. The first weekend in July will shut down vehicular traffic, and Gay Village will become a pedestrian-only zone for three days of festivities: July 1st - Trans march, July 2 - Dyke march, July 3rd - Toronto Pride Parade.

June 23 to 26: Taste of Toronto

Head to Fort York National Historic Site for an experience in food that you wont regret. The city’s latest, greatest, and hottest restaurants dish up their best in an alfresco gourmet feast.

Two Great Jazz Festivals! Part street fest, part concert and all outdoorsy fun!!

June 24 to July 10: TD Toronto Jazz Festival

30th anniversary! Over 1500 performances, including Chick Corea, Robert Glasper, Molly Johnson, Jane Burnett, and many more.

July 2 to 24: Beaches International Jazz Festival

Celebrating its 28th year, the festival will feature a dynamic musical roster, multiple stages and venues, and a lineup of gourmet food trucks. Melanie Durrant, Ghost Town Blues Band, 7Sould, and Yani Borrell are some of the lead attractions.

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