In a city dominated by high-rise construction, discretely scaled developments like the 6-storey Heartwood the Beach remain relatively scarce. Throughout Toronto, however, evolving planning guidelines and a maturing market are gradually inviting an influx of modest density to many of the established neighbourhoods across the city. Developed by Fieldgate Homes and Hullmark, the 43-unit Heartwood is one such project, with the development set to intensify the corner of Queen and Woodbine by replacing a vacant lot.  

Heartwood the Beach, Toronto, by Fieldgate Homes, Hullmark, QuadrangleHeartwood the Beach, image courtesy of Fieldgate/Hullmark

Designed by Quadrangle Architects, the planned development first came to light in 2015, when the project was planned as a wood-frame building. Taking advantage of Ontario's recently changed regulations to allow wood-frame buildings to reach up to 6 storeys. Before the new regulations took effect in early 2015, the hope was that the introduction of relatively quick, affordable, and technologically advanced wood-frame construction—which requires a very limited staging area—would precipitate a mid-rise construction boom. 

Heartwood the Beach, Toronto, by Fieldgate Homes, Hullmark, QuadrangleA view of the north elevation and green roof, image courtesy of Fieldgate/Hullmark

In the two years since, however, the rush of wood-frame mid-rise has not exactly materialized. While plans for a number of taller wood-frame buildings remain active, Toronto's condominium market has not yet embraced wood. Whether due to lack of local suppliers and industry experience, a lack of buyer familiarity, or some combination of both, the wood-frame boom hasn't happened so far. Heartwood, which was planned as Toronto's first new residential wood-frame project to reach 6 storeys, is now set to be a concrete building, with an application re-submitted to the City of Toronto in late December. 

While the building's material composition has changed, the general programming and aesthetic qualities remain. With interior spaces still characterized by warm wood tones and a seemingly organic ambiance, the project will also feature a work—dubbed "Shattered Sphere"—by prominent wood artist Brent Coomber. 

Heartwood the Beach, Toronto, by Fieldgate Homes, Hullmark, QuadrangleThe residential entrance will be just east of a street-level retail space, image courtesy of Fieldgate/Hullmark

Ranging in size from 644 ft² to 1,597 ft², the project's 43 suites offer relatively spacious configurations by current market standards. With only five residential floors above the street-level retail space, the development will feature 8 to 10 suites per floor, with the project marketed as an intimately configured condominium.

Heartwood the Beach, Toronto, by Fieldgate Homes, Hullmark, Quadranglea typical balcony, image courtesy of Fieldgate/Hullmark

The one to three-bedroom units include significant outdoor spaces, with a balcony or terrace accenting each suite. Also appointed by Quadrangle, the suite interiors feature 9' ceilings, open-concept living spaces, and 30" appliances in the kitchens. Topping the building, a small collection of penthouses will boast 10' ceilings and more generously configured living areas. 

Although the development no longer calls for wood-frame construction, the same infusion of relatively gentle density will still come to the corner of Queen and Woodbine. With exterior and interior spaces continuing to be accented by wood, the hope is that a sense of warmth will still characterize the project, even if the walls are concrete.

Heartwood the Beach, Toronto, by Fieldgate Homes, Hullmark, QuadrangleSuite interiors feature wood accents, image courtesy of Fieldgate/Hullmark

Despite the changes, Heartwood the Beach is still part of a slowly cresting wave of mid-rise development that's remaking parts of Toronto's urban fabric. And although the new wood-frame regulations haven't yet had the hoped-for impact, mid-rise development is nonetheless becoming more commonplace. 

We will keep you updated as the project continues to evolve, and more information becomes available. In the meantime, you can learn more by checking out our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment in the space on this page, or join the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread.