Yesterday, Jason Lester of Dundee Kilmer, and a few others from The Canary District team lead a tour through the massive construction site at the West Don Lands. We were very excited about the tour because this is the first good photo opportunity that anyone has had of The Canary District! Before, we were just peering over fences, standing atop garbage cans, trying to get a sneak peek. No balancing act required for these photos!
Once we all had our work boots, safety vests, and hard hats on, we boarded a shuttle bus and headed into the danger zone! Our first stop was right in front of the old Canary Restaurant, from which The Canary District gets its name. Lester began with, “The month of September marked a year since we started the mobilization and the early work for this project, and once we get into the heart of the site, you’ll see how much we’ve accomplished in one year’s time. The idea is to have it substantially complete by the end of January 2015.” At this point, preparation for the 10,000 athletes for the Pan Am Games will take place. Jason Lester continued by explaining that the units will have no kitchens, they’ll have temporary floors, and be fitted with bunk beds to house as many as five athletes per unit.
Our next stop was around the east side of Cherry Street, next to Block 11,where Canary Condominiumwill be. Lester continued, “There will be about 387 units. We’ve started the work here. We’re doing some excavation down to the underground parking garage…Right now we have four cranes up (entire site); there’ll be another four more cranes, including two for Block 11; one’s going up in November and the other in January.”
We then headed up to where Front Street will eventually be extended and stood between Block 14 and Block 15. Block 14 is going to be the largest YMCA in Toronto, and Block 15 will be affordable housing. Directly next to the YMCA, there will be a new George Brown College residence.
To complete the tour of the Canary construction site, we headed over to the Don River Park, an 18-acre park that will serve as the “cornerstone for the West Don Lands community,” which includes River City, the Pan Am Village, and The Canary District, as well as the future development blocks, which Lester mentioned will go out to market at some point after the games.
The Don River Park is probably one of our favourite aspects of this master plan (besides The Canary District condominium). As Toronto develops, it is becoming more and more necessary for master plans to incorporate a significant portion of parkland. The Don River Park is equipped with splash pads, playgrounds, and walking trails, making it a regional draw for people from all around. Another great aspect of the park is the number of marsh areas, which are designed to resemble a naturally grown ecosystem – as if mankind had never developed the area.
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Keeping it Real-Estate