Over the weekend, Harmony Village Sheppard by City Core Developments and Fortress Real Developments, celebrated its ground-breaking ceremony in style. Outfitted with a gleaming white tent, complete with DJ, a photo-op-friendly red carpet, and refreshments, the proceedings were headlined by local politicians such as Toronto City Councillor Norm Kelly and MPP for Scarborough-Agincourt Soo Wong, along with the CEO of City Core Developments, Jack Pong.

Harmony Village SheppardHarmony Village Opening Ceremony, image by Adrian Gamble

Councillor Kelly did not disappoint, his opening quip, a cheeky, "Good... afternoon!," drew many laughs from the crowd of excited purchasers who had been waiting patiently for an hour in the heat for the scheduled 11AM event to begin. Kelly's inner historian took over, as he painted a picture of the area's bucolic, rural past, and mused aloud how quickly things have changed.

Councillor Norm Kelly addresses the crowd, image by Adrian Gamble

MPP Wong also had much praise for the new development, touting its planned inclusion of a medical clinic, as well as the highly-anticipated addition of the onsite St. Paul’s L’Amoureux Community Centre. Planned to cater predominantly to the active, retiree demographic, Harmony Village will be designed with the health needs of its residents very much in mind.

MPP for Scarborough-Agincourt, Soo Wong, image by Adrian Gamble

After some brief words from the Head of Sales, the CEO of City Core Developments, Jack Pong, was introduced with much fanfare and applause. Pong opened his remarks by thanking "all of the remarkable people, including Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects and NAK Design Group," who had helped make Harmony Village possible. Pong went on to cite several of the project's key aspects, such as its Green Roof, the use of sustainable materials, the planned 35,000 square foot community centre, and development's philosophy of living well.

CEO for City Core Developments, Jack Pong, image by Adrian Gamble

Following the remarks, all of the speakers were invited back up to engage in a series of photo-ops, including both a more traditional, group, ribbon cutting ceremony, as well as a light-hearted solo effort by Mr. Pong, involving a humorously large pair of scissors. The overall mood of the event, and of the crowd—composed mostly of purchasers—was light and convivial, with generous applause and a few laughs sprinkled throughout.

The ribbon cutting ceremony, including, Norm Kelly, Jack Pong, and Soo Wong, among others, image by Adrian Gamble

Jack Pong tries his hand at using the giant scissors, image by Adrian Gamble

With the ribbon-cutting done, guests were invited inside the air-conditioned presentation centre to view the many floor plans, along with the architectural model, and the 730 square foot model suite. Harmony Village Sheppard will feature four blocks of differing heights, all connected at ground level, and punctuated by an inner courtyard and series of mixed-use, pedestrian spaces.

Harmony Village SheppardHarmony Village scale model viewed from the front, image by Adrian Gamble

Harmony Village SheppardHarmony Village scale model viewed from the side, image by Adrian Gamble

Once inside the 'Peony' model suite, the clever old-age-friendly design elements, such as a kitchen complete with raised oven for easy access, the higher-than-usual electrical outlets, and height-adjustable kitchen-island-cum-dining-table, were all on display. Overall, the attractive, airy, modern space succeeded in reflecting the guiding design philosophy of Pong and his company.

Model Kitchen with several unique design features, image by Adrian Gamble

Model Living Room, image by Adrian Gamble

Sitting down with Mr. Pong, it became evident right away that Harmony Village was close to his heart. When asked what the project's slogan, "The Art of Living Well," meant to him and to this development, the CEO had the following to say:

"The building itself has been developed around a sustainable concept for living. First of all, all of the materials have been chosen to meet LEED standards, and we have avoided many different glues, adhesives, and paints, for example, which can cause health issues. In essence, we have gone with more natural, sustainable materials. Our 'Living Wall' creates oxygen, additional oxygen to the building, and so every unit is designed to bring fresh air into the unit. We will be circulating fresh air into the units, and will be making use of re-claimed heat.  We are making all of these unique choices because we want people to live better. The 'Art of Living Well' is a concept of teaching people how to live better and how to live well. It is not just a philosophy, but a whole, holistic thinking about everything that is needed in a community."

Geothermal Drill on-site for the ceremony which just missed the rain, a sign of things to come, image by Adrian Gamble

The event had been a great success; the promised thunderstorms held off just long enough for each speaker to address the crowd, the photo-ops had gone off without a hitch, and the model suite drew the desired excitement from the crowd.

UrbanToronto will provide construction updates as progress continues. Want to know more about Harmony Village now? Check out our dataBase entry for the development, linked below. Want to talk about it? You can join in on the conversation in the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.