TORONTO – Originally plotted in 1793 by famed military leader John Graves Simcoe, the history of Fort York is strongly connected to that of Toronto. It was, after all, the very first settlement to be developed in what now constitutes the city’s downtown core.
Back then, two key strategic features attracted Simcoe to the site: a commanding view of Lake Ontario, and proximity to the harbour-forming island now home to the Billy Bishop Airport. Oddly enough, it was those same features that, more than two centuries later, were largely responsible for the Fort York area becoming one of Toronto’s most popular 21st-century destinations for high-rise real estate.
Another reason for the area’s renaissance is its walkability – nearby condo residents are just a short stroll away from neighbourhood amenities like BMO Field, Exhibition Place, and the scenic waterfront trails of Queen’s Quay West.
The area’s popularity among young professionals has also been boosted by the Fort itself, which, along with the adjacent Garrison Common, has blossomed as an outdoor event space for on-trend cultural events like Time Festival and the Arts & Crafts Field Trip.
New Homes in the Fort York Neighbourhood: An Overview
Due to the high value of Fort York’s prime waterfront location, nearly all of the area’s residential development has taken the form of high-rise condo communities. While many have already reached completion, there are also a few exciting new additions for buyers to look forward to:
Fortune at Fort York
Grand Magazine Street & Sloping Sky Mews
With a planned completion date of December 2018, Fortune at Fort York represents the newest addition to Onni at Fort York, an ambitious master-planned community that also includes the currently mid-construction Local at Fort York.
Fortune’s blend of 1BR, 2BR, and 3BR suites are surprisingly affordable, with prices starting in just the $200,000s. Residents will also enjoy access to the exclusive “Club Fortune” amenity collection – as well as a public library and Loblaws located conveniently across Bathurst Street to the east.
BSide at Minto Westside
Bathurst Street & Front Street West
Launched in early January, Minto Westside’s first release of condo units was an early contender for the list of 2015’s most popular GTA condo launches. Now, Minto Group is building upon that success with the community’s second phase, BSide.
Released publicly in October, BSide offers buyers a broad selection of floorplans, from compact studio condos to spacious 3BR suites, as well as access to a Millennial-friendly range of amenities that includes a Movement Haus Gym and two outdoor pools. Its location, immediately to the northeast of the Front & Bathurst intersection, also represents a huge bonus – especially for streetcar commuters.
Bathurst Street & Fort York Boulevard
Technically, Newton is part of Concord Adex’s CityPlace community, which is largely considered a neighbourhood of its own. However, the project’s location – right off of Bathurst Street, at CityPlace’s westernmost edge – will endow Newton’s northeast-facing units with one of the city’s best views of the Fort York grounds.
Another feature that helps set Newton apart is its array of “creative amenities” – from music and photo studios, to areas specifically set aside for dance classes and painting sessions. Currently under construction, the building is tentatively set for completion in 2016.
Parks, Recreation and Culture in Fort York
When it comes to culture and green space in Fort York, the obvious first stop would be the Fort itself. On the eastern edge of the grounds, a cluster of restored heritage buildings is open for the public to explore.
In September 2014, the Fort York National Historic Site unveiled a major new addition to its facilities: a –state-of-the-art visitors’ centre, located just a short walk to the west of the old fort. The visitors’ centre doubles as a museum, and regularly hosts historical exhibitions – most notably, the original Magna Carta, which was on display at the centre from October 4 to November 7, 2015.
Just outside, the Garrison Commons itself is one of the city’s hidden gems for nature enthusiasts, featuring scenic mature trees, lots of space for dogs, and a poignant military graveyard that annually hosts one of the city’s most well-attended Remembrance Day ceremonies.
For cycling and walking enthusiasts, the Martin Goodman Trail begins just south of Fort York, and follows a route that features some of the city’s finest waterfront vistas. Foodies will also find something to love, with popular dining options like Roses New York and Thompson Diner located just a short walk away.
Getting Around in Fort York (and the Surrounding Area)
For pedestrians and cyclists alike, there’s never been a better time to live in Fort York, thanks in part to two exciting infrastructure projects currently underway.
The “Project Under: Gardiner” Trail and Public Space
Scheduled for completion in 2017, the City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto’s transformation of the space underneath the Gardiner Expressway will stretch all the way from Spadina Avenue to Strachan Avenue. When complete, the space’s biking/pedestrian pathway will connect Fort York to other nearby neighbourhoods like Liberty Village and CityPlace.
Our recent profile of the project looked at some of the project’s additional features, which will include large public spaces for cultural activities, outdoor recreation, and more.
Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge
Described in a recent Toronto Star article as the “first stainless steel bridge of its type in North America,” the Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge will cross two sets of railroad tracks, ultimately connecting Fort York with Ordinance Triangle Park (Liberty Village) and, further north, the King West neighbourhood’s planned extension to Stanley Park.
“It’s an investment in creating a vibrant, mobile, liveable downtown core,” Mayor John Tory said of the planned bridge. “It’s an integral part of the city’s plan to revitalize and connect up the waterfront.”
Transit and Driving
For transit riders, the Fort York neighbourhood is conveniently located at the convergence of three different roadways served by TTC streetcars: Fleet Street, Bathurst Street, and Queen’s Quay West.
Meanwhile, motorists will enjoy easy access to the Gardiner Expressway via the Spadina on-ramp, located just a short distance to the east of the neighbourhood.
Buying a Home in the Fort York Neighbourhood
Whether you’re more interested in an affordable new condo community, or in finding out more about what the Fort York area has to offer, the best place to start is with contacting a real estate sales representative – preferably, one with a strong knowledge of the downtown market.
To get started on the right foot, we recommend getting in touch with a member of the sales team at Living Realty Inc., Brokerage, who can help get you started by providing further neighbourhood information, and going over some of the properties currently listed for sale.