Building blocks

I live in an apartment building at Bay and Bloor Streets in downtown Toronto. You know, where the shops are. Or should be, except they’re fast disappearing, soon to be replaced by condos. As if we don’t have enough already.
Let me paint a picture for you. Walk with me one block east to Yonge and Bloor. On the southwest corner is The One, an eighty-one floor condo that’s been under construction for about four years. I don’t go too close anymore because work on the upper floors seems to require build-outs that reach over the sidewalk below. Who knows what might fall on your head.
Move back west again to Bay and Bloor. On the northwest corner there was a Hakim Optical outlet that recently closed. I just heard why. They’re going to build a condo running from that corner west along the north side of Bloor as far as the next block, Bellair Street. Harry Rosen menswear is on that corner so it will disappear along with all the other stores in between. Construction, I hear, will begin in 2026 and last six years. It’ll be eighty-two floors!
Go back to Bay and Bloor, then walk north on the east side of Bay to the first street running to the right, Cumberland. Walk east toward Yonge and think about the three towers planned on your right-hand side, all in the 50-60-floor height range, smack dab behind Holt’s. Across Cumberland two condos are already under construction.
Now stay with me for one last trip from Bay and Bloor by walking one block west on the south side of Bloor to St. Thomas Street which runs south. That Bloor Street block will boast another gaggle of condos. How many shops in total will disappear during all these goings-on I have no idea but I’m happy to report that Harry Rosen will have a new nearby location ready to occupy when the current store closes.
If you can’t imagine what all this havoc will look like, go to Yonge and St. Clair and walk south. Most of the stores on the east side of Yonge have been shuttered for some time awaiting who-knows-what. Further down on the same side near Balmoral Avenue there’s a large lot that was cleared long ago and is still empty.
I don’t see myself as an inveterate traveler, but I’ve been lucky enough to visit New York, London, Paris and Rome. In none of those city centres do I see anything like the senseless construction permitted by Toronto’s planners. We deserve better.

2 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    We stay at Manulife Centre when we come to Toronto and I share your amazement at the immense condo projects.Who will occupy all these condo units? That said , the subway is convenient, the restaurants are fantastic, we have great retail stores, ROM , Bata: it’s a wonderful place to live and visit. Cheers

  2. Frank Grossman says:

    Many existing condos are unoccupied, judging by the number of perennially darkened suites one sees when gazing across the city’s skyline at night. Safe places for capital, anti-correlated to stock markets and political risk, or so some say. Just one of the things that makes Toronto a global financial centre. Cheers.

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