As far as Canada goes, it simply doesn’t get more exciting than Toronto. Whether hoping to make it in the fields of arts and culture, or business and finance, people flock to this city from far and wide for its immeasurable opportunities and welcoming atmosphere.
Speaking of welcoming, Toronto also happens to be one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Immigrants who have landed in Canada (and those who continue to do so) have found plenty of reasons to call Toronto home — and we can’t blame them. The countless industries, attractions, and public facilities are great reasons to settle down here, as are the vast number of Toronto condos.
On top of its devoted locals, Toronto also welcomes 25 million tourists each year. Visitors come to explore this city of neighbourhoods, where crossing one major street means entering an entirely new area with an utterly different ambiance. And while museums are aplenty here, Torontonians are also well aware that graffiti isn’t a nuisance so much as actual art — or the perfect backdrop for an Instagram post.
Home first to the Wyandot and then to the Iroquois people, Toronto looked quite different before the Europeans arrived. The area’s original inhabitants ingeniously took advantage of the natural landscape by setting up villages along the shores of the Rouge and Humber Rivers. To this day there are still plenty of condos for sale in Toronto that are sought out for their riverside locales.
In 1793 Toronto was renamed York, only for the name to return to Toronto in 1834, with William Lyon Mackenzie acting as the new city’s first mayor. However, it wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that Toronto really began to grow: 30,000 residents in 1851 transformed into a population of 181,000 by 1891.
Of course, condos didn’t enter the mix until much later... The first apartment building in the city, The St. George Mansions, was constructed in 1904, followed by the first condo, the York Condominium 1, over 60 years later. The building of the first condo marked a watershed moment, as Toronto condos proliferated in the 1960s, and well into the 1970s and 1980s.
Funnily enough, for two years beginning in 1973, no high-rise condos were built in the city whatsoever. While this moratorium was meant to mitigate the profusion of buildings that had been going up throughout Toronto, developers jumped straight back into building condos the moment it ended.
Although Toronto condos can be found just about anywhere, they’re typically concentrated on higher-traffic streets. More specifically, a 2017 study by the Toronto Star revealed the five best intersections for resale condos in the city: Avenue and Bloor, Bay and Bloor, Bay and Adelaide, Bay and King, and Front and John.
With Toronto now attracting more and more new residents by the day, developers are well aware it’s time to step up their condo game. As a result, innovative and exciting Toronto condo developments have been popping up all over the place in recent years.
The Library District Condos, located at 170 Fort York in the Fort York neighbourhood, sits on the same plot of land as the new Fort York branch of the Toronto Public Library. Named in celebration of the city’s 99th library branch, the Library District Condos takes more inspiration from the library than just its name: colourful details along the façade resemble books lined up on shelves.
Then there’s the Art Condos at 8 Dovercourt Road. The same interior designers used to decorate the Drake Hotel were hired to do these Little Portugal condos, there’s an event space inside loading dock, and each unit is set up with a projector mount — what more can a millennial ask for?
Inventive buildings aren’t just being built in downtown Toronto, either. Emerald Park Condos at 9 Bogert Avenue makes quite the impression on the North York skyline. Side-by-side, thin green towers curve in tandem toward the top, with the two buildings connected by a glass bridge closer to the ground. Best of all, the complex is situated right on top of Sheppard Station, which connects the Yonge and Sheppard subway lines.
The highlight of Toronto’s parks is unquestionably High Park: a 400-acre green space filled with a zoo, dog park, swimming pool, restaurant, café, greenhouse, tennis courts, and the crowd favourite, cherry blossom trees. And while High Park is most accessible for residents living in Toronto condos toward the west end of the city, there are plenty of other green spaces available to those living in other neighbourhoods.
The parks situated along Lake Ontario are particularly special, mainly for their views. Coronation Park and HTO Park are great options for those living in condos in the Waterfront neighbourhood, while Scarborough residents will likely frequent the Scarborough Bluffs.
Trails and parks can also be found along the shores of the Humber and Don Rivers, as can a large number of Toronto condos. Really adventurous types might even want to try their hands at paddling down the rivers. And while public swimming pools are a staple in most major metropolises — Toronto included — this city’s winter weather lends itself well to outdoor skating as well. Rinks are set up throughout the city, some on ponds and others making use of outdoor roller rinks. Crowd favourites, though, are the DJ skate nights at the Harbourfront Centre and the massive rink at Nathan Phillips Square.
It’s hard to narrow down Toronto’s annual events into a best-of list, simply because there’s something for everyone. That said, those looking for a home might want to find one close to the site of their favourite festivals or events. For example, anyone who wants the best seats in the house for the annual Pride Parade will want to seek one of many condos in the Yonge & Church Street Corridor.
Movie buffs, on the other hand, might opt to live in the King West neighbourhood, in order to be close to all the action during the Toronto International Film Festival. The Beaches neighbourhood is most bustling in the summer, but it really comes alive during the The Beaches Jazz Festival, which spans the entire month of July. And then there are the festivals that are spread throughout the city, such as Canadian Music Week, North by Northeast, Summerlicious and Winterlicious, and the Fringe Festival.
Amalgamated in 1998, the ‘megacity’ of Toronto is comprised of nine distinct areas: Scarborough, Midtown, East York, York Crosstown, Downtown, East End, West End, North York, and Etobicoke. Each of these areas is then divided into smaller neighbourhoods, some of which feel like little worlds of their own.
Kensington Market, for example, is unlike any other neighbourhood in the city. Bound by College, Dundas, Bathurst, and Spadina, the market it packed to the brim with produce markets, butchers, Latin American eateries, vintage boutiques, and dive bars. While single-family homes are abundant throughout the side streets of Kensington Market, those looking for Toronto condos can still find a small handful here as well.
Although the Distillery District is better known for its industrial Victorian architecture than its condos, there’s still a variety of homes to be found here. The master-planned community, on the site of a former whiskey distillery, features cobblestone roads, art galleries, designer boutiques, restaurants and bars, and a handful of contemporary condos. On the weekends, the Distillery District also happens to become a backdrop for engagement and wedding photoshoots.
Those looking for a condo for their families can look no further than neighbourhoods like Trinity Bellwoods and Cabbagetown. Situated in the west and east ends, respectively, both are filled with charming parks, tree-lined streets, and plenty of schools.
Toronto is the most populous city in the country, with approximately 6.5 million residents as of 2016. Not only is it dense, but the city’s population is also growing at a rapid rate: almost 10 million Torontonians are expected by 2041.
It’s easy to see just how multicultural this city is when walking around the streets. In fact more than half of Torontonians belong to a visible minority, and over 160 languages are spoken here. Over 100,000 Toronto residents speak Mandarin and another 100,000 speak Cantonese, with Tagalog, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Tamil spoken most commonly after those.
Toronto’s heterogeneous makeup is reflected in a number of neighbourhoods that have been fondly nicknamed for the communities that reside within them. Chinatown is centred around Spadina and Dundas, Little Italy can be found on College west of Bathurst, Little India is situated on Gerrard East, Greektown sites on the Danforth, and Korea Town is spread out along Bloor, between Bathurst and Ossington. Then there’s Little Portugal, just south of Little Italy and east of Parkdale, Little Jamaica on Eglinton West, and the sizeable Polish community that lives in Roncesvalles.
Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of public schools situated throughout Toronto, ready to accommodate students living in any neighbourhood. That said, some parents have their minds set on private, specialized, or alternative schools, and will logically prefer to find a Toronto condo nearby.
Some of the city’s top private schools can be found in the Rosedale and Forest Hill North and Forest Hill South neighbourhoods. Upper Canada College and Branksome Hall are consistently ranked toward the top, and these schools also happen to be located in neighbourhoods with some of the most luxurious condos in Toronto.
As for alternative schools, Inglenook Community School is located in Corktown, and has an enrollment of around one hundred students. The most unique features of the curriculum at Inglenook are called Outreach and Inreach: in the first program, students spend one day a week doing community service, while the second involves students each selecting an activity to pursue, such as learning a language or writing a movie script.
Some Torontonians seeking out condos may plan to live with older dependents that plan to attend post-secondary school — or they may want to go back to school themselves. Regardless, living in the Annex provides easy access to the University of Toronto, while those interested in York University will want to choose a condo in the York University Heights.
As with most cities, Toronto has a number of recognizable buildings and attractions that set it apart from the rest. The CN Tower is the most obvious landmark: it reaches to 553 metres high and has been a key feature in the Toronto skyline since 1976. While the construction of the Burj Khalifa in 2007 stripped the CN tower of its title of tallest freestanding structure in the world, it’s still the tallest in the Western Hemisphere and the world’s ninth tallest tower.
Casa Loma is yet another Toronto Landmark, albeit a much older one. Completed in 1914, the Gothic Revival mansion that once served as a home for Sir Henry Pellatt is now an event venue and a museum, and a film location, all rolled into one. Best of all, Toronto condos in the surrounding Casa Loma neighbourhood tend to be rather posh.
Deciding on what to do with a day off can be quite daunting in Toronto, but for a good reason: there are simply too many options. Shoppers and mall walkers alike can spend a day getting lost in Yorkdale Mall, the Eaton Centre, or Sherway Gardens. Those who feel like immersing themselves in some culture, on the other hand, can wander through museums like the Ontario Science Centre, the Aga Khan Museum, the Bata Shoe Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Royal Ontario Museum.
Date nights in Toronto can mean many things: dinner and a concert, dinner and a movie, or dinner and a play. Choosing a Toronto condo may even be as easy as selecting a building within walking distance of one’s favourite venue. Music fans can check out smaller venues like the Phoenix Concert Theatre, Cameron House, Horseshoe Tavern, and Danforth Music Hall, while the biggest concert tours of the year make stops at the Rogers Centre and the Air Canada Centre. For movie buffs, on the other hand, there’s always something interesting playing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the Cinesphere, the Royal, the Revue, and the Fox Theatre.
Living close to work may save time and energy, but thanks to Toronto’s transportation infrastructure, getting around the city is a breeze. Major arterial roads are laid out in a grid-like pattern, and drivers can also use highways like the Gardiner Expressway, Don Valley Parkway, 401, and 427 to speed up their trips.
Anyone living in a condo without access to a car can still travel with ease. The TTC’s four (soon to be five) subway lines provide access to Scarborough and Etobicoke residents, as well as those living in condos in North York. In addition to subway trains, Toronto is well serviced by plenty of streetcars and buses, some of which carry passengers 24-hours a day.
While living in Etobicoke has its benefits when heading to Pearson International Airport, those who live in condos in Toronto’s downtown core can also reach the airport by taking the UP express from either Union or Bloor West Station. Alternatively, anyone living in the downtown core — or especially the Waterfront neighbourhood — may opt to book flights departing from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport instead.
The Locals: They’ve come from far and wide to enjoy everything Toronto has to offer.
Code of Conduct: Torontonians know they don’t need to travel in order to taste authentic foods from around the world.
What You’ll Find: People communicating in other languages besides just English and French.
What You Won’t Find: Stagnation.
The Homes: Condos — old and new — can be found in every nook and cranny of the city.
Sealing the Deal: Getting to live in the most flourishing metropolis in the country.