Humber Bay Shores has seen huge growth over the last decade, and the renewal in that part of Etobicoke's Lake Ontario waterfront is only going to continue. Just to the west of it on Lake Shore Boulevard however, things have been a bit sleepier. The established neighbourhood in question here is Mimico, and it is marked by pleasant tree-lined streets with handsome homes. It's also home to a retail stretch of Lake Shore that has seen some renewal and gentrification recently, but which needs more of a shot in the arm to reach its full potential as an enticing, walkable destination. Toronto City Councillor Mark Grimes (Ward 6) has been pushing for sensitive redevelopment in the area for years now, and with the help of the Mimico Business Improvement Area and the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)  there have been several positive moves including an extended Waterfront Trail (with more of it to open shortly), new and refreshed shops and restaurants, and now with Davies Smith Developments, the first Avenue style condominium is underway too at Eleven Superior.

Groundbreaking for Eleven Superior condos by Davies Smith Developments, TorontoThe ceremonial first shovels hit the ground for Eleven Superior by Davies Smith Developments, image by Jack Landau

On hand for the groundbreaking were, left to right above, Councillor Grimes, Graham Chalmers (partner Eleven Superior, owner Davies Smith Developments), Liaquat Mian (partner Eleven Superior), Ian Smith (partner Eleven Superior, owner Davies Smith Developments), Joe Iaccino (partner Eleven Superior), and Dominic Passero (partner Eleven Superior) to wield the ceremonial first shovels. Actual digging got underway immediately after the party had cleared the site.

Rendering of Eleven Superior condos by Davies Smith Developments, TorontoEleven Superior condos by RAW Design for Davies Smith Developments, Toronto

Avenue style in Toronto refers to a mid-rise building, typically with residential condominiums on uppper floors, that adds retail at ground level to the main street that it fronts on, and which terraces down to the stable low-rise neighbourhood in behind. It allows renewal and more density on our main arteries without looming too large over the low-rise neighbourhoods which make up so much of Toronto. I asked architect Roland Rom Colthoff of RAW Design about Eleven Superior's design. "We started with a much more contemporary idiom, but wanted to have a more gentle transition to the existing context, and felt the curve and horizontal lines would form a good complement to the context." Those curves, proportions, and the stressed horizontality of the building add up to a modern take on streamline moderne to my eyes, sitting very comfortably amongst 60, 70, and 80 year-old buildings. Eleven Superior brings high-quality retail units, the warmth of brick, and the elegance of stone to one of the neighbourhood's main intersections.

 

Groundbreaking for Eleven Superior condos by Davies Smith Developments, TorontoArchitect Roland Rom Colthoff of RAW Design speaks at the groundbreaking ceremonies, image by Jack Landau

Attendees were given a short walking tour of the area including a stop beside the lake with a view of the soon-to-open stretch of the Waterfront Trail. This was followed by speeches and a delicious lunch at Birds and Beans, a local café and the new Mimico hangout hot spot.

Groundbreaking for Eleven Superior condos by Davies Smith Developments, TorontoGraham Chalmers of Davies Smith Developments speaks at the groundbreaking ceremonies, image by Jack Landau

Graham Chalmers of Davies Smith welcomed everyone, saying "I just wanted to thank the people that have helped us to get where we’re at now. We’re very happy that we’ve finally gotten to the point where we can start the project!" before introducing architect Rom Colthoff and Councillor Grimes.

Groundbreaking for Eleven Superior condos by Davies Smith Developments, TorontoCouncillor Mark Grimes speaks at the groundbreaking ceremonies, image by Jack Landau

Grimes had a lot to be happy about. The building represents the first substantial private sector reinvestment on Lake Shore Boulevard, adding to recent investments by the City, the TRCA, and the BIA in public infrastructure.

"It’s great to be here; it's a very exciting day. I was first elected in 2003 mostly on a platform of revitalization. We started a project back in 2004, knowing that Mimico residents were very concerned with the state of the Lake Shore along Mimico’s waterfront, so we put a group together called the Mimico Planning Action Council and said what can we do? We started some of the small things: the local Red and White store was a disaster, owned by Loblaws and a great asset for them, but they had put no money into it, so I called Galen Weston’s office, they sent their planner out to see us. I said you should be ashamed: here’s a great piece of property on our waterfront, it's been neglected, and lo and behold they came and sank 3.5 million dollars into that store. The other thing we targeted was just across from Eleven Superior. There was a parking lot there that went halfway behind the block and stopped. The dead end was allowing a lot of social problems there. There was a house blocking it, and so we brought Green P out, knocked the house down, cleaned it up and put the parking lot through, all while thinking ahead for the linear park. Another thing we did here is the square. When I first met Davies Smith they were working on a project in Long Branch, and then they came in and built a beautiful assisted living condo down in Humber Bay Shores. As part of the Section 37 contribution they assited us in a property purchase that allowed us to join two city-owned properties together, creating this square and joining it to the lake.

Since that process we’ve carried on. I had shown the Eleven Superior property to a number of developers, and everyone walked away from it. So I said to Davies Smith let’s go to the community and see what they have to say. Most developers would just pick up the property and not care what the community thought or wanted. They sat, worked with the community through many meetings and I think 95% of the people agreed, this is a great project. Roland you’ve done a great job, it's a great looking building. This is a boulder in the still pond for Mimico, one of the first developments we’ve seen for years beside the waterfront. This is the kind of thing that brings prosperity. It’s important that locals shop in Mimico rather than going Downtown or to Bloor West Village. I’m excited for this, it’s a great looking building, and we need more buildings like Eleven Superior. The community is really excited to create the village that Mimico deserves."

If you'd like to know more about Eleven Superior, we have all the details and renderings in our dataBase entry linked below, or get in on the conversation by clicking on one of the associated Forum thread links.