Today we present a guest post from Paul Johnston, a real estate salesperson at Right at Home Realty Inc. Paul believes that Toronto deserves high-quality residential architecture that reflects the times in which we live.

Our avenues are starting to get crowded

And let me tell you, I think that’s a great thing.

It wasn’t long ago that we spoke of mid-rise development in fairly vague terms. Mainly about the lofty ambitions of lining core arteries with sensibly-scaled, “city building” structures. There were City guidelines produced, discussion panels, a flood of newspaper profiles and the kind of urban design chatter and enthusiasm that I saw the first modern townhome projects give rise to. But five years ago there were only a handful of pioneering mid-rise buildings underway, and I had the pleasure of helping to bring many of them to market. But they were few, and fairly far between.

Motif, photographed onAugust 30, 2014, by UT Forum contributor urbandreamerMotif, photographed onAugust 30, 2014, by UT Forum contributor urbandreamer

Today, the field is changing dramatically. We see clusters of mid-rise buildings coming to precisely the neighbourhoods they were meant to inhabit — places where the immediate neighbourhood provides the authentic amenities that these buildings aim to benefit from, and promote. New mid-rise projects coming to Ossington — like Motif and 109OZ — a fiercely proud neighbourhood that has seen unbelievable transition over the years. St. Clair is emerging from its battle with the streetcar to present the brilliantly-named Nest and newly-launched ZIGG. The Junction continues its breakneck revival with DUKE, and Kingston Road Village is about to get much busier sidewalks thanks to Kingston & Co, Hunt Club, and others projects upcoming.

It’s the turning point when the chatter has turned to action, and a number of developers have turned their attention towards smaller-scale infill development intended to gently integrate itself into existing neighbourhoods. With the right policy framework, neighbourhood support and, perhaps most importantly, developers paying very special attention to the quality of design and function that is essential for these buildings to work, I think this city is going to look dramatically different in five years' time. While the parade of highrises may continue to get the bulk of the press, I think the real urban Toronto story is much closer to the ground, in the steady march forward of these genteel mid-rise buildings that people want to call home.

And I feel that’s a great thing for the city.