There’s nothing quite like living in Downtown Toronto, where you’re guaranteed to never be the only one on the street—even at three in the morning. In fact, if any area of the city can be compared to ‘the city that never sleeps,’ it’s Downtown.
The population of Downtown Toronto has doubled since the 1970s, and is only expected to continue to grow. Currently, there are approximately 250,000 individuals living south of Bloor, west of the Don Valley Parkway, and east of Bathurst Street. What’s all the more astonishing, however, is that politicians have predicted that this number will nearly double by the year 2041. What’s more, the growth going on within Downtown Toronto is happening four times as fast as the rest of the city.
This is, in part, due to newcomers from within Canada and abroad, but it can also be attributed to the growing number of families living in Downtown condos for rent: the percentage of children aged four and under went up by 60 percent in Downtown’s southernmost neighbourhoods between 2008 and 2011. It’s no wonder families are flocking to this part of the core, which is home to attractions like the CN Tower, the Harbourfront Centre, and the Ripley’s Aquarium.
A number of other Downtown neighbourhoods are especially well suited to renters who have — or who plan to have — kids, such as CityPlace, Yorkville, and Cabbagetown. The former even contains two brand new schools, Jean Lumb Public School and Bishop Macdonell Catholic School, which each accommodate an additional 500 students living in the neighbourhood.
Downtown is certainly growing, but it’s also ahead of the curve. Sidewalk Toronto is currently being developed by the waterfront, for example. The project, designed by Waterfront Toronto and Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, promises future residents a more convenient way of life, thanks to the use of innovative digital technology. According to the neighbourhood’s designers, the neighbourhood will be more accessible, more efficient, and entirely adaptable to the needs of its residents.
Then there are Downtown condos for rent in Liberty Village and the Distillery District, ideal for those who prefer spending their days in a more historical part of town. Liberty Village is a formerly industrial neighbourhood that takes its name from the prisons that used to inhabit it, while the Distillery was once just that — a site where whiskey was brewed. Both contain what’s left of Toronto’s cobblestone streets, yet the Distillery District stands out for being home to the largest collection of Victorian industrial architecture in North America.
As of late, a stroll through Downtown can’t be complete without sighting numerous cranes along the way. New Downtown condos for rent are appearing all the time, yet still, others can be found within longstanding heritage buildings.
St. Lawrence, for example, is home to some of the oldest buildings in the city, including the St. Lawrence Market Lofts. This authentic conversion at 81A Front Street East was built back in 1837, 30 years prior to Canada’s confederation. This neighbourhood is also ever-changing, with modern towers cropping up beside historical edifices like the one just described. Those in search of a Downtown condo for rent with a ‘starchitect’ reputation can look no further than the L Tower. The 57-storey, glass-clad tower was designed by the world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind (who is also responsible for designing the ROM’s Michael Lee-Chin Crystal).
Buildings like the L Tower were entirely nonexistent before the 1960s, though. The rising prices of homes during that decade forced the government to subsidize the construction of condos, an event that would forever change the built fabric of Downtown Toronto.
Prospective renters in the market for something upscale can look to posh neighbourhoods like Yorkville and King West. The latter is home to numerous Downtown condos for rent designed by the beloved Peter Freed of Freed Developments. The beauty of Freed’s buildings is in the details, such as the rooftop pool and lounge that’s accessible to residents of The Thompson Residences, or the artfully designed façade at 66 Portland.
In Yorkville, on the other hand, Downtown condos for rent take a turn for the even more luxurious. While the Four Seasons Private Residences is associated with one of the finest hotels in the city, those looking to maximize their living space will want to take a look at what’s for offer at 155 Cumberland. This 2010-built, 11-storey tower may appear intimate at first — it holds just 15 suites in total — however its homes are far from small. Homes at 155 Cumberland start at around 1,700 square feet, with the largest spanning a staggering 10,000.
Residents living in Downtown have no trouble getting around the city — or exiting it altogether — whether they prefer to drive, cycle, walk, or take public transit. While major streets can become quite congested during rush hour (especially those with streetcar tracks and bus routes), drivers still have some options for avoiding traffic jams. For example, one-way streets in City Centre tend to be streetcar-free.
Another alternative is to use highways whenever possible. The Gardiner Expressway, which runs across the southern edge of the city, is ideal for drivers heading east and west. This highway is also useful when it comes time to head out of town, as drivers can use it to connect onto the 427 to the west or the Don Valley Parkway to the East, both of which offer access to the 401.
As for renters who prefer not to drive, Downtown is a great place to call home thanks to its subway access. Passengers travelling north or south can hop onto trains heading up and down the Yonge-University-Spadina line, while the Bloor-Danforth line comes in handy for anyone hoping to head east or west.
Last but not least, some renters living in Downtown prefer to forgo motor vehicles altogether, instead opting to travel around the city by bike. Thankfully, Toronto has been stepping up its bike lane game over the past few years, making it easier — and safer — to cycle around the city than ever. Most impressive of all is the Martin Goodman Trail, a 56-kilometre, car-free path that follows the shore of Lake Ontario.
The Locals: City mice, not country mice.
Code of Conduct: Downtown residents should be prepared to give directions to tourists every now and then.
What You’ll Find: Diversity.
What You Won’t Find: Peace and quiet.
The Homes: Historical lofts that pre-date confederation alongside 21st century, glass-clad towers.
Sealing the Deal: Never having to experience FOMO (fear of missing out).