“This was Waterfront Toronto’s initial attempt to implement a master-planned community,” Dundee Kilmer president Jason Lester said of Canary District.
“It paid a lot of attention to sustainability, eyes on the street and the size of the blocks for the street grid. I think what they were able to get was consistency and complementary buildings and designs, where it almost feels like a gated community without the gates.
“It’s very nurturing, with people feeling safe, but it’s also a distinct community compared to some other neighbourhoods.
“It will be a complete community. It’s not just a place to live, but it’s a place to shop and play, and there will be a few people working there as well.”
Canary Block and Canary Commons
Excavating for the KPMB-designed Canary Block, which sold out in four months, began late in 2017. Occupancy of the 12-storey, 187-unit building at Front Street East and Cherry Street should begin in the third quarter of 2019. Prices for two-bedroom units started in the low $500,000s.
Construction of Canary Commons, which is 90 per cent sold, will start in six months. The architectsAlliance-designed project is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2020. Its two-bedroom unit prices started in the low $600,000s.
“Prices have gone up because of the passing of time and the size of the suites,” said Lester.
Canary Commons will have 387 suites, including 43 townhomes. Two-thirds will have two-bedroom, two-bedroom-plus-den and three-bedroom layouts. The largest suites will be more than 1,800 square feet.
“The size of the units appeal more to young families or couples who plan to have a family, as well as for move-down buyers who are coming out of a single-family home and have larger furniture and don’t want to get rid of their favourite couch, chairs and tables,” said Lester.
Canary Commons will feature a ground-floor fitness centre with a yoga studio and children’s playroom. There will be a lounge with a dining room, fireplace, catering kitchen, theatre room and co-working space.
A pet-washing room will be located on the ground floor while the sixth floor will include a landscaped, 9,000-square-foot terrace offering barbecues, fire pits and a skyline view.
Canary District amenities
Both developments, with interiors designed by U31, will benefit from their surroundings. The LEED Gold-certified Canary District includes the 82,000-square-foot Cooper Koo Family YMCA, the 18-acre Corktown Common park, and easy access to hiking and biking trails, Underpass Park, shopping, restaurants, galleries, The Distillery Historic District and the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood.
“Downtown east has evolved so much over the past five to seven years,” said Lester. “It will continue to evolve, and that will pick up at an even faster pace within the next five years.”
Canary District has attracted a mix of retailers and services geared around healthy lifestyles and positive well-being. These include OpusGlow Concept Spa, Running Room, Gears bicycle shop, the organic Tori’s Bakeshop and Fuel+, which offers specialty coffees, protein shakes and healthy wraps.
“Even though it represents only 10 per cent or even less of the occupied land, the retail on Front Street is very important for Canary District to be successful,” said Lester, who added the fitness, wellness and health-oriented theme will continue with Canary District’s future retail and service offerings.
More to come in Canary District
Dundee Kilmer will develop another block along the south side of Front Street adjacent to Corktown Common which will occupy approximately 500,000 square feet, housing about 500 suites. Lester expects the project to launch over the next eight to 14 months.
Other empty sites within Canary District will be developed over the next few years.
“There will be a process that the province and Waterfront Toronto will undertake to choose a development partner,” said Lester. “We’d like to pursue it if the opportunity makes itself available.”