Walking Through Canary District
This summer, the Canary District team presented brokers with an exclusive opportunity for a behind-the-scenes walking tour of the site. The tours offered the brokers a chance to get to know the history of the new neighbourhood and allowed them to fully experience the magic on ground level.
Beginning at the sales centre located at 9 Mill Street, brokers had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the layout of the Canary District before having a safety orientation and suiting up in safety gear. Brokers then walked over to the western gatepost of the Canary District, amid heavy machinery and vehicles. Approaching the corner of Front and Cherry Streets, there was a definite sense of excitement as the historic Canary Restaurant and CNR buildings came into full view as the tour was surrounded by activity and cranes. Standing between the two historic buildings, it was easy to visualize how the new neighbourhood will take flight. The Canary District name was actually derived from the famed Canary Restaurant which graced the corner of Front Street East and Cherry Street from the mid-1960’s to 2007. The building itself dates back to 1859 and took on several forms over the years, starting as the Palace Street School. It later took on a new life as the Cherry Street Hotel, before eventually becoming the Canary Resturant.
As we walked east along The Canary District’s main street—Front Street Promenade, the Canary District team pointed out that Front Street will be given new life with 40,000 square feet of retail space housed on the ground floors of its residential buildings, inspiring public art and pedestrian-friendly mews and courtyards.
Walking down the street and seeing the building’s foundation being constructed was remarkable. There was a tremendous amount of progress being made in such a short time and from the Front St vantage point, the brokers were right in the middle of all of the action. Everyone on site was united towards one common goal: to build Toronto’s next great neighbourhood. The construction for the 80,000 square feet YMCA and George Brown Student Residence was well underway as cranes towered over Block 1/14. Next month, there should be a total of eight cranes on site. Canary District fans should anticipate lots of growth in the West Don Lands over the next few months.
At the end of Front Street, the group made a left onto Bayview Avenue where the brokers were given a guided tour of the new 18- acre Don River Park being built by Waterfront Toronto. The park, designed by famed landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, integrates the unique topography of the area’s massive flood protection landform to deliver a stunning park with a variety of features and amenities. The park offers incredible sightlines of Toronto’s skyline looking to the west and captivating views of the Don River to the east. The park’s large central lawn can easily accommodate multiple uses as it was designed with gently sloping sides to provide for open spaces and comfortable seating. The pavilion is the centerpiece of the park, and is surrounded by a variety of child-friendly play areas, barbeques, and hills for tobogganing in the winter. A designated area for community events is almost complete . On the east side of the park along the Don River, new pedestrian and bike trails within the park were designed specifically to connect with all of the existing paths, such as the Martin Goodman trail, with access to the Bala railway corridor. Tree-lined trails, a marsh, open fields and bridges are just some of the features of the new Don River Park, the centerpiece of the rapidly developing West Don Lands.
All in all, the tour definitely gave brokers the exclusive experience the Canary District team had initially intended. Torontonians can expect nothing less from the city’s next great neighbourhood.