Thursday, August 12, 2010

Odds and Ends and the Liberty Village Construction Boom

Blog Friends Lost and Found
I am resisting the urge to go through another blog name change.   Enough that I did that last year and I am sure lost a few readers in the transition.  Case in point is Fram from "Sort of San Francisco Fan Club" blog, who from his recent comment on this blog alerted me to the possibility that some folks might not read the fine print on my now extinct blog "Halfway Down Life's Highway" and therefore never find their way here.   I have remedied that and posted a prominent "continued elsewhere posting" with a clickable link - hopefully anyone else who thought my blogging efforts were in a long hiatus will find their way back to me.

And do visit his blog post "Life Beyond the Blog"  to see if you can guess who the person is in his picture outside "The Apartment".  Fram stayed a number of months last winter in Poland.  Don't read the comments until you have your guess ready - because the contest was won by -- ME!   LOL   Can you figure out who the famous person is without looking at the comments below? 

I got to thinking about how my blog topics have evolved since renaming to "Toronto is My Town" from the "Halfway..." starter blog name.  At the time I changed the name I was mostly blogging about Toronto and I was not going to Collingwood as I had lent the place out to my folks who had sold their country property and were waiting for a city condo to be built.  But now I am spending a good deal of time in Collingwood and writing a lot about the goings on up here.  I was thinking of renaming the blog yet again.  I like the ring of "Tale of Two Cities - Toronto and Collingwood", as I seem to blog as much about my Collingwood Shangri-La as my Toronto home, and each place has its season.  However, I will spare my readers from the Blogsphere another name change.  Instead I opted to update the blog Header Description instead.  Lord knows next year I might be writing a blog which might suit the name "One More Flight - One More City" to tell about my adventures travelling.

The Global Blogsphere - a blog from Mali, Africa

Before we get into the main topic for this post, the construction boom in my neighbourhood, I must pass along a comment about a new blog I have found and started following.  Postcards From My Life, is written by an expat 40 something lady, German born  American from NY City, who transplanted and married a Malian man.  Haike writes about her life in Bamako, Mali, which is in West  Africa.   Haike met Malé, who was born and raised in Timbuktu, which is in Mali, when she visited for a month in 2005 as a Peace Corps volunteer in this poorest of poor nations.  He was born and raised in Timbuktu. They  were married and she moved there in 2006.  This blog is interesting on many levels - in its description of the everyday life and culture of the people who live and work in this small African city but just as importantly because I am planning/hoping to get to Mali this year or next to go to the Festival in the Desert. Go here to read my blog about the African Blues and the Blue Men of the Desert.  As mentioned in past blogs I am "that close" to signing up to attend this January.

East Liberty Village Declared a Mass Construction Site

It is high time I blogged about some Toronto items - the most important of which (to me) are the changes  afoot in my Liberty Village neighbourhood.  There is a construction boom!

I have written previously about my new condo being built across the road from my Battery Park condo and how I have been watching it from my balcony as it is being built.  I blogged about the changing landscape in Liberty village here in January of 2010 (8 months ago) and here in January of 2009 and how I bought the "to be built" in the summer of 2006.  I have been waiting for this place a long while.   All the time, I have been happy in my current condo, not thinking about it as an interim home because for the first 3 years I wasn't really sure if the builder was even going to go ahead with it - he kept extending the "economic viability" clause in the purchase offer.  Although the project was in the builder's mind economically viable and he wanted to go ahead with it his financing kept falling apart.  This clause is pretty standard for condo projects in the planning stage and protect the builder in the event that the project doesn't come together sufficiently to get financing.  I decided to keep my "condo lottery ticket" and now it is paying off!  I am very excited to to announce that I shall be moving into it sometime in November!

Liberty Towers - Gosh doesn't this look tight?  Could they have fit any more into the space?

The West Tower building is the one which I will move into in November

Which gets me to the next point in this blog.   There have been numerous project starts in the neighbourhood this year and the remaining scraps of vacant land have also been posted with projects "to be built"  For instance, the King West Plaza Towers, which I blogged about in my January post has now started excavating.
King West Plaza site truck parade
You can see the circle of trucks as the grader digs at the construction site.  I guess I get to watch another set of towers being built over the two years to come.

This might make you dizzy, I had to lean over my balcony rail and look west to take this pic..
Just to the front of the "Battery Park" condo where I live right now is a couple of parking lots.  These are actually the sites for 2 to be built condo sites - mostly sold - to be built by CanAlfa - who is building Liberty Towers right now.

Behind the A.R. Williams Machinery Building and beside the Metro

This builder also has another project for which excavation is just starting just steps away around the corner between the Metro store and Battery Park Blvd and behind the A.R. Williams Machinery Building.  The heritage building itself will also at some point be "adaptively converted" and a high rise built on the northern most half.  

Lastly, this it my wonderful east facing view, a picture I took  a few days ago - the smog in town has been awful with all this heat.  On the nice days I have a wonderful Toronto sky line view from my Battery Park condo and it is tempting for me to just stay put and sell my new place instead.  The last few bits of land which will eventually house condo towers is at the extreme east side of the Village as you can see from this view.  One of the several condos planned for this section will obscure my beloved view of the CN Tower!    Of course, I had expected that they would eventually place a set of condos at the south west corner of Strachan and East Liberty Street  but had not expected to have what looked like a little parkette converted in to a high rise right about the point that the CN Tower comes into view from my balcony. So I am settled on moving  now.

Retail space is going in here across from the Metro
Just this month excavation started for a retail complex going into the parking lot opposite the Grocery Store.  By the depth of the excavation, it seems we will have an underground parking lot.  Sure will need it because all the above ground parking lots are going to have buildings on them soon.

The last little bit of construction I want to report is the little playground they have built in the Liberty Square Park which I look down at from my balcony.  It is just a pint sized playground - probably adequate for the area since most folks will opt for another neighbourhood once their babies get out of diapers and the suburban neighbourhoods with all its family friendly amenities beckons. The bright green paving stones look great don't they?  From my bird's eye view on my balcony I detect just a slight construction error - the raised flower bed to the top left of the playground is just ever slightly off center.  Oh well... too late to go down and tell them now.  LOL

The conclusion of my Liberty Village "to be built" summary is there is no more land left to build.  In 5 to 10 years there will be (I am guessing) a million people living in this 17 sq km of land.  I am thinking it will be good that I am only a part time resident in a tiny studio at that time... It will do for a pied-à-terre.

If you are considering buying a condo in the Liberty Village area or are just interested in urban development go here for the City of Toronto  Liberty Village "Final Report dated May of 2005 which details all the buildings in plans for this area and the heights, densities and permitted uses.  While the report is not recent, I believe it is still reasonably correct.  Things are on the planning board many years before they are even offered for sale.

Thanks to the Urban Database Website for all the planning reports I used to obtain info for this post.  This site is " an online open-content collaborative effort to accurately document development and real-estate activity. Our resources have been dedicated to buildings 5 storeys or over in height within the Greater Toronto Area but we are slowly working on branching out." according to their website. 


  1. Be careful when you are leaning out over your balcony. We wouldn't want you to fall down! How exciting that you will be moving in a few months! I think you mentioned this in another post, but I forget (and I am too lazy to go back and look!). Will your new condo be the same size, smaller or larger than your current condo?

  2. Yes, do not dare to change the name or to begin another blog, Peggy. It has been so long that I cannot recall what led me into the confusion regarding your blogs. Whatever it was, I thought you simply were taking a break for a while, and then the break went on for months.

    Regarding all the building projects, my first thought is this: Where are these developers getting all the money for these construction projects? The Canadian economy must be on more solid ground than here in America. But, whatever else, it would be fascinating to watch the progress through your windows.

  3. Fram, nice to have you visit!

    As to your comment regarding the construction projects, we never had the real estate meltdown here in Canada that you had in the states. We have different laws governing granting of credit - mortgages are harder to come by here... and so did not have the same problem. Also (as I understand unlike in the US) folks can be personally liable to top up the losses incurred by a mortgage company if they walk from a house and the mortgage.

    More than wondering where the money for the construction projects is coming from, I wonder where all the people are to come from to occupy them... but recognize that immigration is a large source and Toronto is a mecca for other cultures. Still and all I wonder if there is a little bit of a bubble building.

    Thanks for your comments Fram. Looking forward to more Polish pictures in your blog... and some Lake Superior photos as well!

  4. All right, Peggy. Being a history nut or something or other, once upon a time I did take a couple of classes on Canadian history. Possibly, I should take one on current events.

    I meant to mention before that I was glad to see you are reading Carlos Baker's biography of Ernest Hemingway. I read it years ago, and have thought of re-reading it recently. I idolized Hemingway way back when.

    Just to mention for the fun of it, years after his death I wrote a note to Mary Hemingway to tell her how much I enjoyed her husband's work. To my amazement, she sent me a brief note, written on the back of the note I had sent to her, thanking me. Still more years later, I wished I had written something nice to her instead of something nice about him.

    Such is life ....

  5. We share a love for Hemingway and his work then. I am very much enjoying reading the biography by Baker (it is supposed to be the best), although I have put it aside to read Outliers - I tend to pickup and put down books and have several on the "go" at one time. Outliers has me captivated at the moment but it won't take but a couple more sit downs to finish that one - and then I will be back to the biography.

    I really enjoyed visiting the Hemingway homestead in Key West when I was there and also go to see a few of his Havana haunts - Hotel Ambos Mundos and El Floridita, but didn't get to Finca Vigia as it was a bit to far from where I was staying. Maybe next time.

    Pretty neat that you got a reply from Mary Hemingway! I would have that note framed and up on the wall.


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