Lights, Condos, and Action in Toronto’s Perennial Playground of the Stars
TORONTO – Each September, Toronto’s bustling King and John intersection draws in Hollywood’s best and brightest for the city’s favourite annual glamour-fest: the Toronto International Film Festival.
Referred to by most Torontonians simply as “TIFF,” this world-renowned celebration of film brings a wealth of tourists, filmmakers, actors, and film-lovers in general to the exciting pocket of downtown Toronto known as the Entertainment District to gather at ultramodern film venues like the TIFF Lightbox and the Scotiabank Theatre.
Many TIFF visitors are hoping to catch a glimpse of famous stars such as Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Brad Pitt (World War Z), or Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) – all three of whom were present for this year’s festivities. Others eagerly join the venues’ rush lines, hoping to get access to some of the year’s best films before they’re released to the general public.
As most downtown Toronto residents already know, a big part of what makes the event truly special is the historic neighbourhood it’s located in.
Toronto’s Entertainment District – so entitled in honour of its world-class theatres, performing arts venues and dining options – extends roughly from Spadina Avenue east to University Avenue, between Queen Street and Front Street.
According to the Entertainment District BIA, the area first came to prominence in the 19th century as a wealthy residential neighbourhood that also held Upper Canada’s Parliament Buildings. Completion of the railroad brought industrial activity to the area, and it was reputed as a hotspot for garment manufacturing well into the 20th century.
Since then, modern planning policies have turned the district into a mixed-use area and a true “live, work, play” neighbourhood complete with condo towers, commercial spaces, and of course, plenty of cultural spaces.
New Homes in the Entertainment District
As interest has grown in downtown Toronto condos over the last decade or so, the Entertainment District has become a true hotspot for residential development – attracting showcase condo projects from some of the city’s biggest developers, including Menkes Developments, Pinnacle International and the Daniels Corporation.
While some of the area’s most exciting projects are still under construction, there are also a few that have already reached the occupation phase. Here is a short list of some our favourite Entertainment District condos:
Noir Condos | 87 Peter Street
One of the past year’s boldest new Menkes Developments projects, Noir ‘s avant-garde building design features a distinctive black-on-black colour scheme with white accents. The building’s spacious suites, floor-to-ceiling windows, and hotel-style amenities have already been receiving a great deal of interest from investors and young professionals alike.
Tableau Condos | 117 Peter Street
Currently under construction at the corner of Peter and Richmond, Tableau Condos represents Urban Capital’s attempt to bring a comprehensive mixed-use development to the Entertainment District’s northwest corner. When completed, this 36-storey tower will add to the area with 410 residential suites, 25,000 square feet of office space, and an artistic lower-floor design inspired by the legs of a table (hence the project name “Tableau”).
Peter Street Condominiums | 338 Adelaide St. West
Already completely sold out, Peter Street Condominiums is an under-construction condominium tower scheduled for completion in late 2014 at the northwest corner of Peter and Adelaide. Featuring a state-of-the-art fitness centre, Peter Street will also offer residents a range of exceptional suite design features such as nine-foot ceilings, polished chrome faucets, and kitchen cabinetry by Cecconi Simone.
King Blue | 335 King Street West
Featuring two striking towers standing tall at 48 storeys and 44 storeys respectively, King Blue Condominiums complements its vibrant location with a number of luxurious amenities in-house, including a landscaped rooftop terrace and a modern indoor pool.
Festival Tower | 80 John Street
No TIFF-themed neighbourhood profile would be complete without a mention of Daniels’ stunning Festival Tower, which rises far above the same building that houses TIFF’s headquarters at the Bell TIFF Lightbox. Completed in 2011, this striking condo tower’s ritzy amenities include valet parking, room service and a yoga/Pilates studio.
Cinema Tower | 31 Widmer Street
Just around the corner from Festival Tower, Cinema Tower is Daniels’ newest contribution to the Entertainment District and still under construction. While the condos might not be ready for occupants just yet, Cinema Tower’s lobby played host venue to a dazzling “White Night Gala” during this year’s TIFF festivities. New home buyers at Cinema Tower will enjoy three years of complementary TIFF Bell Lightbox membership, as well as a solid selection of amenities and a bold, contemporary building design.
Work, Dine and Indulge: Neighbourhood Amenities and Spaces
While the Entertainment District is home to some truly inspiring residential projects, it is also famous for its unparalleled theatres, cultural venues, and commercial spaces.
Metro Hall and Roy Thompson Hall
Located on a beautiful site southeast of the King and John intersection, Metro Hall once served as municipal headquarters for the former Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. It continues to serve as a hub for municipal employees and city services – and, during TIFF, doubles as the home of the festival’s official Box Office.
At the eastern section of the same block by University Avenue, you will find the famed Roy Thomson Hall, home venue of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the site of many world-class performances each season. The Hall’s 2013-14 season will feature over 60 shows, including performances from internationally-recognized acts such as B.B. King and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Theatres and Dining
The King Street strip on either side of John is one of Toronto’s most popular spots for after-work get-togethers, postgame beers, or the classic “dinner and a show” date night.
Here, one can take in a world-class musical production at the famous Princess of Wales Theatre – Canada’s first privately owned and financed theatre in more than a century – or the Royal Alexandra Theatre just a couple of doors to the east. These two theatres, owned and lovingly overseen by Toronto development icon Ed Mirvish, have presented a very wide range of productions, from Mamma Mia! to the musical adaptation of Stephen Spielberg’s blockbuster War Horse.
Not into musicals? You can catch some of the city’s best improve and sketch comedy at Second City, on 51 Mercer Street between John and Blue Jays Way. For those who prefer cinema entertainment, the Scotiabank Theatre (a major TIFF venue) offers a large number of screens – including IMAX – for year-round movie entertainment.
This part of town also offers many great options for grabbing a bite, or a drink, before the show. On King Street, arts patrons can grab thin-crust pizza at Hey Lucy, upscale Indian cuisine at Aroma, southern favourites at Joe Mamas or – during Blue Jays season – even a “Knuckle Sandwich” (created in honour of knuckleball-throwing Jays ace R.A. Dickey) at Oliver and Bonacini’s O&B Canteen.
Invest in the Centre of the Action: Buying and Renting Out an Entertainment District Residence
While TIFF may have finished up earlier this month, Fall is a great time to explore the Entertainment District and take a look at some of the great residential investment offerings in the area. What, exactly, makes the district a great place to live in and why would tenants want to be there?
- Prospective Tenants can easily and comfortably get around in the downtown core, with easy access to the TTC’s King and Queen streetcar lines, and the University-Spadina subway line just a quick walk away.
- The area bustles with activity day and night, offering no shortage of conveniences for the young and young-at-heart lifestyle. It commands some of the highest rent in The Core while being entirely “car optional” for the downtown commuter.
- The Entertainment District is perfect for young professionals, offering short travel distances to high-density “Class A” commercial areas along University Avenue – especially near the King Street intersection. A few blocks to the north, University is home to a number of state-of-the-art medical facilities including Toronto General Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children – making the Entertainment District a popular neighbourhood for medical professionals.
- With trendy new condominium designs and short travel distances to Ryerson University as well as the University of Toronto, this area is also perfect for prospective students who are looking to rent a condo within easy reach of campus.
If you’re interested in finding out more about a particular Entertainment District residential project – from floor plans to registration information or scheduling a viewing – we invite you to contact a Living Realty sales representative today. We’ll get in touch as soon as possible to help you with your questions about the area.
For more information on the Toronto International Film Festival, you can check out their official web site at www.tiff.net.