HARBOURFRONT AND FORT YORK
What was once the wrong side of the tracks is now the heartbeat of the financial centre – plus it’s the place to be for all the city’s über cool up-and-comers.
One of downtown Toronto’s fastest-growing neighbourhoods is the South Core, which reaches south of the railway tracks to Lake Ontario, and from Yonge Street to Bathurst Street. Perhaps it all started when Concord Adex started developing CityPlace, or when Menkes built the Telus office tower, but the area has blossomed with a series of condominium developments and office towers. With the addition of the residential and office towers of Maple Leaf Square — and the fashionable and trendy eateries and shops — the South Core is becoming Toronto’s new financial hub. Move a little farther west, from Bathurst Street to Strachan Avenue, and you’ll find the pocket known as Fort York.
Condos, condos and more condos. Most of the major players have a piece of the action. Add in the condo corridor along Harbourfront and the ongoing development of the Fort York neighbourhood (Cityzen, Context and Onni to name a few), there are units for every taste and budget.
Some of the condos for sale include:
• Pier 27 Tower and Pier 27 by Cityzen Development and Fernbrook Homes
• Backstage by Castlepoint Numa, Cityzen Development and Fernbrook Homes
• Infinity by The Conservatory Group
• Harbour Plaza Residences by Menkes Developments
• Ten York Condos by Tridel and Build Toronto
• The Palatial Collection at Success Tower by Pinnacle International
• Quartz Condos, Newton Condos and West Block by Concord Adex
• Fortune, Local and The Yards at Fort York by Onni Group
• York Harbour Club by Plaza
Many of the businesses that once called Bay Street home are jumping the tracks and moving to the South Core, including RBC, which opened its new headquarters on Harbour Street. Companies in the precinct include financial and accounting institutions, insurance, mining, telecommunications and public relations and marketing companies. There are also plenty of service jobs available at the Rogers Centre, the Air Canada Centre, the CN Tower and the Ripley’s Aquarium, as well as the myriad of restaurants and hotels in the area.
Eat your heart out
The area is a gourmet’s delight, from Harbour Sixty Steakhouse to the amazing elleven, to the delicious dim sum at the Pearl Harboufront. Other restaurants of note include the Watermark Pub, the Miller Tavern and 360 The Restaurant at the top of the CN Tower. The Real Sports Bar & Grill in Maple Leaf Square is one of the best sports pubs in the city, boasting a 39-foot HD big screen and 199 HD TVs through the eatery, which has a selection of 36 beers (and the food is good, too).
With both the Rogers Centre and the Air Canada Centre located in the South Core, it’s a sports fans’ wonderland with baseball, basketball, hockey and football — along with the musical treats those venues host — all within walking distance. Toronto’s newest attraction, Ripley’s Aquarium, has become a huge draw, as is the CN Tower.
There are two large grocery stores in the South Core; Sobeys in CityPlace, and in Maple Leaf Square there’s a Longo’s, which not only sells provisions and ready-made meals for hardworking residents, but has a bar for weary shoppers. Maple Leaf Square, which also has a LCBO store, is also connected to the city’s transit system and the PATH Systems, a 27- kilometre underground network of shopping, services and dining outlets. Loblaws is in the process of converting its former warehouse at Bathurst Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West into a new retail centre, including a Joe Fresh and an LCBO.
Maple Leaf Square is connected to Union Station — with TTC and GO Transit connections — through a variety of inter-connected walkways and the PATH System. For those who live along Harbourfront or in the Fort York district, the LRT line along Queens Quay makes access to Union Station a breeze. CityPlace residents can connect to Union Station by the Spadina streetcar or an easy stroll along Front Street. And for those who need to travel farther afield, Billy Bishop Airport gives residents access to Porter and Air Canada flights to Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, New York, Boston and Chicago, to name a few destinations.
Parks & Rec
The Harbourfront Centre holds a variety of events and is home to a number of marinas, boat charter companies and the Empire Sandy, Toronto’s best-known sailing ship, and has an outdoor winter skating rink. The Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre holds classes for every level, including the newest craze, stand-up paddleboarding.
Canoe Landing Park, 20 acres of parkland developed by Concord Adex in CityPlace, is host to a number of events, including summer movie nights and the Terry Fox Miracle Mile run. The park gets its name from a large red canoe — big enough for people to stand in and see over the Gardiner to Lake Ontario — designed by Douglas Coupland.
Access to the Martin Goodman Trail, which is the Toronto portion of the 730-kilometre Waterfront Trail around Lake Ontario, can be made at a number of points in the area. For those who enjoy sailing, the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the Island Yacht Club and the Toronto Island sailing club are located just across the habour on the Toronto islands. Harbourfront also boasts the Canoe & Kayak Centre for those who prefer to paddle their own boats.
The Fort York National Historic Site — built in 1793 and the location where the Battle of York came to an end during the War of 1812 — was the home of a military garrison until the 1930s.
The Music Garden is one of the best-kept secrets in Toronto. Located at the foot of Spadina Avenue, the park offers live music in the summers and has an incredible garden. Just west, at the foot of Bathurst Street, you’ll find Ireland Park, which was opened in 2007 as a memorial to the more than 38,000 Irish immigrants who took refuge from the famine in Toronto in 1847.