So Sweet Ya Gotta Brush Yer Teeth – On Colgate Avenue In Leslieville

offered at $1,075,000

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** OPEN HOUSE THIS WEEKEND **

Drop in this Sunday, May 19th, between 2pm and 4pm! 

 

If you’re seeking a sun-drenched space for stylish living that’s steps from cafes, retailers & all manners of extraordinary delight, this pet-friendly ground-floor lofty condominium with relax-o-rrific terrace is situated downtown east in Leslieville, just east of Riverside, where the friendly neighbourhood vibe is for reals.

Welcome to Loft 118 at 88 Colgate Avenue!

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Leslieville: Love Where You Live!

Located on the corner of Carlaw and Colgate Avenues, this spectacular 2-bed 2-bath lofty condominium with a sundrenched terrace and private street entry is just steps from the services, shops, and cafes of Queen Street East! We love this area. It has an engaging cosmopolitan synergy kissed with a dash of industrial grit, mixed with wagging tails and laughing children by day, and a splash of spicy wanderlust by night. This is why its streets are filled with smiling people and its notable restaurants and nightlife have become a draw for visitors.

According to Toronto’s Multiple Listing Service, this area is called South Riverdale, but since 2004, locals, urban historians, planners, and developers have been renaming this geography according to an older community and original pioneer.  ‘Riverside – which runs along the Don River – dates back to the early 1880s and today encompasses the boundaries of Eastern Avenue north to Gerrard, and from Don Valley east to McGee (next time you pass through note the curving blue brick ‘river’ in the sidewalks and the public art referencing that connection throughout) – and Leslieville’, named after George Leslie – one of the original pioneers (1834) in the area who developed his land located between Pape and Greenwood on Queen Street East into a large Nursery. In 1884 the incorporated City of Toronto grew tenfold from 1834 to 1884 — partly through immigration, but also through the annexation of older communities. Among these were the former suburbs of Leslieville and Riverside, which were joined together in 1884 to become the new Toronto community of Riverdale. Why Riverdale became known as North Riverdale and South Riverdale isn’t clear, but I suspect giving South Riverdale a new identity has been a long time coming; for nearly a century residents of South Riverdale have been regarded as the poor sister to tony Riverdale proper whose boundary runs north from Gerrard Street East.

South Riverdale was originally constructed in the late 1880s through 1910s to accommodate the working class, most of whom were recent Irish, English, and Scottish immigrants. These residents worked nearby in the rail yards, the distillery, and the industrial areas located on Carlaw, Eastern and south along the port lands by Lake Ontario. The housing stock was predominantly small row and semi-detached frame Victorian dwellings with brick fronts (the working class couldn’t afford an all-brick house), high ceilings with plaster moldings, stained glass windows, slate roofs, and ornamental fretwork. As the population grew, the city expanded east from 1900 to the 1940s into Leslieville. Here, too, the housing stock remained modest with affordable working-class row, semi, and some detached dwellings, though changes in construction practices and architectural styles gave it a different appearance. Whereas small-scale house builders constructed only a few properties at a time before 1900, thereafter whole streets were built at one time by developers who embraced larger more efficient scales of economy. Furthermore, mass-produced building components like standardized windows, concrete block foundations, and asphalt shingles streamlined the construction process. And, as the style and fashion of housing evolved, domestic architecture lost the embellishment and ornamentation of its Victorian predecessor as advances in building technologies like central heating systems and kitchen appliances spawned less-adorned more modern ‘machine for living’ habitats. Having small lots, modest structures, and standardized materials, property values have typically cost less on the east side than the west.

This area’s transition and revitalization from poverty to popularity have been a topic of fascination by urban academics for the past forty years. I know this from my own contribution to the research in the late 80s when I wrote an Urban Studies Thesis funded by The Ministry of Municipal Affairs called “Gentrification: Yuppie Porn in South Riverdale”. The thesis, which included a comprehensive review of past research exploring the movement of middle-class households into this working-class neighbourhood, also explored my early fascination with housing as a symbol of self. Some might say this is where Urbaneer.com has its roots.

While a lot of the modest row, semi-detached, and detached brick and frame housing stock remains occupied by Anglo working-class and Asian immigrants, the past 3 decades have seen dwellings on every street transformed into vessels for contemporary domesticity occupied by the emerging creative class. This coincided with the rebirth of Carlaw Avenue from a place of commerce and industry to its post-industrial live/work status, creating a range of housing options for first and second-time buyers while intensifying the neighbourhood fabric. This higher density – predominantly consisting of young single and 2-person professional households –  invigorated and then supported the creative, thriving entrepreneurial commerce we’ve seen on Queen Street East which has grown as more condominiums – like the conversion of 68 Broadview Avenue (2006), and new developments like 90 Broadview (2013) and the 5 towers of Riverside Square with 555 units (2019) near Broadview and Queen – were completed.

With more development to come, Queen Street East is becoming one of the city’s most vibrant destinations for design, food, and fun. Meanwhile, Gerrard Street East – its hopeful little sister – is hovering near the action poised for its transformation. For those with urban curiosity that feeds on the unique, this area has a colourful blend of services, retail, and eateries that are different and expressive in their own right, but combine to deliver a subtle edge that is undeniably appealing, and rooted in character. This especially holds true for those who have grown weary of some of Toronto’s more established neighbourhoods which have become increasingly sanitized by ubiquitous chain restaurants, outlet retailers, and predictable architecture.

Because of this, Riverside and Leslieville are currently flying under the radar in their cooldom, yet revered as beacons of the cutting edge, making the area a destination of choice for high-styled down-to-earth progressive liberated urbanites of all persuasions. Currently devoid of artifice, posers, and “so ultra-hip it hurts” fanfare (like when Vogue proclaimed West Queen West as one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods in 2014, what made it special was nearly destroyed because suddenly everyone going there was trying too hard) the downtown east side remains grounded in its working-class roots where honesty, integrity, and the importance of community are valued.

 


 

Do You Love Food, Caffeine & Wine O’Clock As Much As We Do? – Our Six Neighbourhood Picks

We recommend you check out Te Aro Café, which is a mere few minutes away from your new front door. This charming café serves quality caffeinated beverages and tasty treats to nosh on, all offered in a space that is concrete & cool. Think supermodel photoshoot without the Tictacs.

If you’re Catholic, Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu, or a practitioner of Shinto, your fish-on-Friday destination could become seafood-centric Eastside Social, which is a popular Leslieville gathering spot for every walk of life.

On those days you fancy a pint at a local pub you’ll easily enjoy Roy Public House, where you experience “Belfast in Leslieville” without The Troubles. We also like Boxcar Social, which has a great ambiance in what used to be a library, and then a furniture store – and is now a great neighbourhood staple with an impressive selection of whiskeys and spirits.

Seeing someone special? I’ve had some fine dates dining on fine French cuisine in the warm and friendly setting of Batifole, where its unpretentious dining room is paired with superlative culinary excellence. Have them take you.

When you’re feeling fancy, but don’t want to take an Uber, head to the fashionable Rooftop Bar at The Broadview Hotel!  There are times when the vibe feels just like The Drake Hotel but also different, which I attribute to initially thinking the CN Tower is in the wrong place.

All of these spots are just a hop, skip, and a jump to get to, and a giggly lollygagging staggering stammering stroll home. You’re welcome!

 


 

Everyday Amenities

Day-to-day life is just that much more enjoyable and exciting when you live a giggly stroll away from coveted conveniences. In the mood to treat yourself? Wander to Bobette & Belle Artisanal Pastries for an indulgent dessert, or pretty up your pad with fresh blooms from Berry Blush. If you’re an avid chef or grill master, Rowe Farms Butcher can provide all of your locally sourced meats. And when your shopping list is more pragmatic, Shopper’s Drug Mart (with mini grocer), The Source Bulk Food, and the LCBO are all within walking distance as well, meaning you’ll complete your daily errands in no time!

A must for discerning urbanites is proximity to green space. Luckily, 88 Colgate is lickety-split to Jimmie Simpson Park, which has become a community hub for Leslievillers. This large 2.6-hectare park, features a ball diamond, sports fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, a wading pool, picnic areas, and a playground. It’s the perfect complement to those with an active lifestyle, and the rest of us who like to linger and people watch drinking Starbucks! The park is also home to the Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre, which offers a host of programming and recreational activities and facilities for all ages.

Love to connect with the natural environment to decompress? This is the ideal location for nature, water, and fitness lovers because this property is just a short stroll, bike, or blade away from the sanctuary of the Leslie Spit and the recreation of the beach. Imagine, a location with accessible cardio cleansing, contemplation, and daydreaming just steps from your door!

Even with Leslieville’s rich village life, where nothing feels more than a stroll away, there are still rainstorms and Canadian winters to contend with. On those days when walking isn’t an option, you can catch the Carlaw 72 Bus To Pape Station & the 24-hour Queen 501 Streetcar just around the corner at Queen & Carlaw. When the weather is nice, a Bike Share is directly across the street, the off-leash dog park is at Carlaw & Gerrard, and Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre is at the end of Colgate Avenue (that’s 3 minutes folks!). Yup –> Walk Score 98!  Transit Score 89! Bike Score 96! Got wheels? It’s super quick to downtown via Eastern Avenue, lightning speed to The Gardiner Expressway via Lake Shore Boulevard, and lickety-split to the DVP via the Dundas on-ramp. Need wheels? Zip Car is available 24/7/365 next to the surface guest parking on the north side of 88 Colgate!! How fantastic is that?

Are you forward-thinking about future resale value? The now-under-construction 15.6-kilometre, 15-stop Ontario Line will imminently bring two new Metrolinx transit stops near equidistant to this centre-of-the-universe swag pad. Running from Exhibition Place east through downtown in proximity to Queen and King Streets to Corktown, it will gently curve northeast to a new East Harbour Station at Broadview and Eastern Avenues, a new Riverside/Leslieville station on Queen East at De Grassi Street (just 1.5 blocks west), and new Gerrard Station at Carlaw Avenue (just 1.5 blocks north) continuing north to Pape Station at Danforth followed by four more stops to the soon-to-be-relocated Ontario Science Centre in a span of 30 minutes. The new stations will provide easy transfers to all streetcar and bus routes nearby, with an estimated 3,300 people expected to use Gerrard station during the busiest travel hour, of which 2,000 urbanites will be transferring onto local streetcars and buses. But not you. You’ll be sauntering down the street to Home Suite Home.

 

 

 

Showcase Showdown

Carlaw Avenue is a historic manufacturing street in Toronto with deep working-class roots. In fact, Showcase Lofts is situated on the former site of the Colgate Palmolive Plant which was first built in 1917 and expanded in stages until 1954. It was one of several industrial buildings on the avenue constructed in the style of Edwardian Classicism, using brick from the Greenwood Avenue brickyard or the Don Valley brickyard. However, with each expansion, the stylistic flourishes promoting the power of industry and commerce succumbed to the streamlined efficiency and utility of modernism. Before its demolition in the 1990s, the building didn’t appear compelling enough to save, in part because the site required a significant amount of environmental clean-up (perhaps we would feel differently today).  Although it, like many other industrial locations across the city, fell victim to changing times (as early as the 1960s manufacturers began relocating to sprawling suburban industrial parks where land, labour, and transportation costs – by truck rather than rail – were cheaper), Carlaw Avenue also found its rebirth. Several industrial buildings became adaptive reuse conversions into loft condominiums in the early 2000s, and those demolished were replaced with newly constructed soft lofts that pay homage to industrial architecture.

This is what Aragon Properties Ltd. successfully did with Showcase Lofts. Honouring the location’s history and connection to the community, the building’s design evokes the Edwardian industrial past by following the foundation of classical proportion. This is very much evident in the facade, with its simple, balanced design, straight roofline, and symmetrical massing. The building also duplicates the consistent scale and rhythmic placement of the large vertical windows that balance the abundance of red brickwork, while the band of cream ‘stone’ delineating the two top floors reads like a cornice breaking the verticality of the building and visually anchoring it to the site: the black fenestration, black parapet, and black metal railings with detail frame this compositional confection. Inside, the suites allude to a factory past, with high ceilings, oversized windows, and feature walls of reclaimed rustic brick which add texture and a sense of history.

Completed in 2014, this reputable well-managed condominium contains 228 units over 7 storeys. plus two levels of underground parking. The units range in size from 420 square feet (1 bedroom) to a double unit of 1942 square feet (4 bedroom + den) which we sold in 2018.

This building has some pretty terrific ground-floor amenities including a concierge, theatre room, exercise room, party room, courtyard with barbecues, a guest suite, and visitor parking. It also has reasonable condo fees that include heating/cooling (gas), water, building insurance, operations/maintenance/repairs, and reserve fund contributions. The only independently billed utility is Hydro.

Today, Showcase Lofts is one of several soft loft condominiums and factory conversions on Carlaw Avenue, including The Printing Factory at 201 Carlaw (a conversion registered in 2010), The Garment Factory at 233 Carlaw (a conversion registered in 2008), Wrigley Lofts at 245 Carlaw (a conversion registered in 2008), Work Lofts at 319 Carlaw (newly built and registered in 2012), and I-Zone Live Worklofts at 326 Carlaw & 1159-1173 Dundas East (a conversion registered in 2002).

Given lofts have long appealed to artists, entrepreneurs, and those in creative professions, the evolution of Carlaw Avenue as spaces for work and places for domesticity also gifted the neighbourhood a very cool and artistic community to be a part of. The live/work utility of I-Zone Live Worklofts & Wrigley Lofts, in particular, has an eclectic range of businesses, while Crow’s Theatre at 345 Carlaw was sponsored by Streetcar Developments, a reputable developer committed to bettering its sites through cultural and community partnerships. Leslieville is a neighbourhood that’s not just amenity-laden, but an incubator whose shops, restaurants, and services are some of the city’s most vibrant, fresh, and forward-thinking!

 

 

Loft 118

This rare ground floor unit – one of only four 2-bed units on this level – is one of my favourite floor plans in the building – mostly because its large terrace fronts onto Colgate Avenue and it has the premium south exposure. As a lover of patios and people-watching, I was completely sold on this unit during the four days I executed our Style Enhancement because every passerby said hello, several engaged in conversation, and many area residents have dogs! It was a real testament to how approachable this neighbourhood is.

For the six months of the year one can be comfortable outside, the terrace at Loft 118 will be your second living room. With great dimensions creating three natural zones for engagement, this is a green thumb’s paradise. Although the unit does have an interior entrance from the building’s common hallway – which offers easy access to your car, your locker, or your bike storage in the underground parking or to access the amenities at the end of the corridor, or the gas barbecues in the courtyard – we love how easy-peasy the private street entrance off the patio is – especially when bringing in groceries! If you’re an entertainer, this ample outdoor space of around 243 square feet will be dreamy in the summer. Imagine how fantastic the indoor/outdoor flow will be when throwing two pairs of double French doors open wide during your weekly soirees – whether they be intimate or otherwise!

Whether you enter from the street or the common hall, when you cross the threshold one immediately feels how voluminous a space with 11.5 feet is. Having lived in several lofts over the years, I tend to thrive in light airy spaces and breathe deeper when my personal bubble isn’t limited by a low ceiling. Comprised of a series of articulate living spaces, the entertainment space is delineated into zones for living and lounging, drinking and dining, and, of course, cooking and creating! The U-shaped kitchen is efficient, and well-equipped with stone counters, sleek slab cabinetry, and stainless steel appliances including gas cooking. I particularly adore the rustic brick wall that gives the space some warmth, character, and charm.

Spaces for private domesticity radiate off the spacious hall. There is a 3-piece washroom bath that’s easily accessed by your guests, as well as the ensuite laundry closet, conveniently positioned right across from the bedrooms. Directly adjacent to these is the ideal flex space currently set up as a work-from-home office but dreamy as a second bedroom. It’s flooded in natural light, and has a good-sized closet with custom built-in plus – again – direct access to the terrace! As someone who works from home on a laptop but can never sit still, this would be my ideal office. The moment my phone rang I’d leap out of my desk, answer the call, and exit onto the terrace so I could do stuff like water my tomato plants while I chatted.

The sleeping sanctuary is well-proportioned (gotta love 11.5 foot ceilings, right?) with an expansive south-facing window, double closets with custom built-ins, and a luxe 4-piece ensuite with a soaker tub. If you don’t consider yourself a morning person, the south-facing exposure ensures you won’t wake up at 6 am with the sun beaming straight into your eyes, but when you do wake, you have a lovely garden view and blue-sky vista awaiting you! And if you want to sleep in, the loft is outfitted with custom blinds that operate by remote.

With reasonable maintenance fees of $696.78 that include heating/cooling, water, common elements, and building insurance (you pay hydro, wi-fi & cable) plus deeded one-car underground parking, deeded 3x6x6 foot locker (first of a row accessed on parking level 2), and deeded bicycle storage, this efficient and chic pad could be your new home base!

Whether you’re in the bloom of youth, baby-making, giving your boss the Freedom 55 finger – or just YOU being YOU – this is a space that encourages you to thrive, a community that welcomes your engagement, and everything that matters will be within walking distance.

Curate the domestic bliss you’ve been dreaming of, and live your best life. Here.

 

Questions? Want to book a private viewing? Contact James Ormston at james@urbaneer.com.