#PEOPLEOFCANARY: CELIA TORREY
How long have you lived in Canary?
I have lived in canary since September 2017. I came here and I kind of fell in love with it right away. I was quite young too, I was still a student when I moved here and I just knew I was going to stay here for a while. I think I’ll be here until I buy a house. It’s hard to integrate into a community and feel like its home in Toronto, people move around so much, when will anywhere actually feel like home? Whereas here, you have your regular places, your regular people, and everyone is friendly and ready to welcome you.
My first experience visiting this area was when I was in High school in 2015. I was taking a Green Industries class, and my teacher brought us to Corktown Common Park to learn about flood protection. I remember walking past 120 Bayview then and thinking how this is such a special area so later when I was buying my first place, moving here just seemed right.
How has it changed since you first moved here?
When I moved here, there were a few condos at Trolley Crescent, 420 Bayview, 155 Front and 170 Bayview. I watched 60 Tannery, 21 Lawren Harris Square and the new Rolling Mills building go up, which has some stunning units. That is how I know I have lived here a long time, I’ve watched it grow into this complete community and it’s so nice to see how it has changed.
I think more people are also paying attention to it because back in the day if you went to Corktown Common Park in the summer, there would not be many people out enjoying the space, but last summer I noticed a lot more people coming. Everyone was so used to Trinity Bellwoods, or Christie Pits, all the larger Toronto parks that are more crowded, but I think people are discovering the merits of our little Corktown Common Park. Its smaller and more intimate and it’s such a hub for the community.
What is your favourite part about living in canary?
When you are at Canary District, you can see Downtown core, but you are not stuck in it. You are at a safe distance, and it is such a nice way to experience the city. I can take a 5–7-minute streetcar to the Financial District or a 10-minute Uber to go out on the weekend. We’re right on two streetcar lines, King on both sides and Queen on the North side. We’re also so close to The Distillery District that it is hard to not want to go and grab a Sangria at El Catrin or go to Cluny or Pure Spirits. There are so many great options around us, but at the end of the night we have a quiet, safe place to go home to.
I also love the community. When people come here, they come with purpose since the community does not have a ton of outside traffic. When people move here they’re here to stay for the love of the neighbourhood. Dream has done an excellent job in creating an intimate community and that is what attracted me and many others to this area. When 60 Tannery went up, so many people rented out their place in 120 Bayview because they wanted to upgrade to 60 Tannery. But no one was moving out of the community; people are upgrading within the district. Canary does not seem to have the same turnover rate as everywhere else in Toronto because when people move here, they just love it and want to stay.
This community just has such a good vibe; you feel very welcome. It is not like King West where you feel like you have to be a certain way. This community allows you to be you. All the tenants in the building are so nice, and I love that everyone who works in the community, lives in the community – Canary Eye Care, Kat and Peter, they are my neighbours; I think that is so special.
What is your favourite place to go in canary?
In the winter, it is definitely Souk Tabule because their Lentil Soup is like a warm hug on a cold day. It is the best thing in the world. For dinner – Sukhothai! I love Thai food. Also, Aviary is such a great place to watch sports and hang out with friends. You can usually grab a seat as the patio and the inside are both quite spacious.
As a real estate agent, what is your experience when telling people about the area?
Most people say they want to be on like King Street West or Bay Street corridor and I ask them if they ever considered the East end? People think they want to be near the bars or restaurants and when you ask about their lifestyle, often they will say, I will go out once a week. So, does that really warrant paying the premium to live above the bars but also have less space? Also, the number of high rises on King West is really overwhelming. I like to give people the opportunity to see Canary even if they do not end up buying or leasing here because I still think it’s worth their time to check it out. There’s a sense of community here, a maturity that you don’t get in the West end, we’re connected to the city, but we have a quiet place to go home to.
Dogs are so special to this area too. That’s something I tell a lot of people, if you’re a dog person you belong here. But whether you have one or not go to Corktown Common around 530 and there’s so many dogs and people there, it’s almost like an informal meeting place for the district.
Do you find that people are impressed when they come to Canary District and wonder – how did I not know this place existed?
My first client I brought to Canary was looking to live in the waterfront communities because that was where her mom had lived. She was from the suburbs and was not well acquainted with this area. I introduced her to Canary District and sure enough she fell in love with the building. She moved in and loves walking to work. If you are trying to get to Bay Street, you just walk along Front Street, and it is actually a very nice walk. You get lots of natural sunlight because you are not consumed by high rises. It is a positive way to start each morning and end each day. If you are having a bad day, you can come back to Canary District just knowing it is going to be there and be ok. It has a calming effect on people, and that is one of the biggest assets of the community.
Do you spend a lot of time in the park?
Yes, I love doing picnics there in the summer on my own or with friends. I takeout from Sukhothai or Souk Tabule and walk over the park and get one of the picnic tables or I bring a blanket and sit out there and eat. It is just such a nice thing to feel the warmth in the evening.
Thanks so much Celia for sitting down with us and stay tuned for more #peopleofcanary!