The event we covered yesterday regarding the Canary District Condominiums not only introduced us to the first condominium to be sold within the larger West Don Lands precinct, it also provided much-needed clarification regarding other projects we can look forward to hearing about within the surrounding neighbourhood. Of particular note was the information provided as to what exactly the district is, as opposed to the individual condominium and the larger precinct

Canary District Site Plan, image courtesy of DundeeKilmer Integrated Design Team

For those who have made themselves aware of the original West Don Lands Precinct Plan from 2005 prepared for Waterfront Toronto, all these names flying around can get pretty confusing. The Precinct Plan provided renderings, site plans, massing models and neighbourhood titles that could have been read as though certain decisions had already been made on these points. The presentation yesterday did not address the Precinct Plan directly, however it has been made clear through a site plan provided (above) as well as renderings that designs have been altered and names changed. Of primary importance is the distinction between the Canary District and the Canary District Condominiums. The condominium refers to the project we brought to your attention yesterday, while the district refers to the agglomeration of blocks immediately west of the 18-acre Don River Park. The precint plan labelled this area as the "Don River Neighbourhood" — a name that has subsequently been changed to Canary District.

Front Street Promenade / Western Gateway, image courtesy of DundeeKilmer Integrated Design Team

Parkview / Eastern Gateway, image courtesy of DundeeKilmer Integrated Design Team

Yesterday's event elaborated on key principles that were mentioned in the original plan, such as the construction of townhomes on the side streets, the importance of Front Street as the heart of the neighbourhood, height restrictions of 11 storeys (36 metres, except for eastern gateways) and an emphasis on family-oriented streets and open spaces. The employment of theories pioneered by Jane Jacobs such as walkability, "eyes on the street" and mixed-income serves to strengthen the original plan. The area will be defined by two "gateways": the western the CNR Building and the former Canary Restaurant/Palace Street School building, both of which will be restored. The eastern gateway will be at the intersection of Front Street and Bayview, defined by two contemporary-designed buildings (the northern one by KPMB Architects) that will frame views down Front Street towards the downtown core.

George Brown College Residence / YMCA Complex, image courtesy of architectsAlliance for DundeeKilmer Integrated Design Team

YMCA Lobby on Cherry Street, image courtesy of Maclennan Jaunkalns for DundeeKilmer Integrated Design Team

The Canary District is composed of eight blocks in total; the Canary District Condominiums will occupy Block 11. We were also provided with a rendering for the western façade of George Brown College's student residence, which will be located on block 1, at the intersection of Front and Cherry Street. The above rendering shows George Brown College (the taller building accented with orange) with the YMCA complex (fronting Cherry Street) in front.

Aerial View of the Canary District, image courtesy of Waterfront Toronto

The sheer volume of information we've received so far regarding the Canary District can be overwhelming at the best of times. The gradual introduction of projects and various parties involved — while not the easiest to understand — will make for a neighbourhood unlike any in Toronto. Pulling the point of focus out from the individual project, the amount of development we've yet to see or hear about is staggering — the Canary District Condominium is one block (of eight) within one neighbourhood (of four) within one precinct (of four) of Waterfront Toronto's ambitious development project. The criticisms of Waterfont Toronto's work tend to focus on the perceived slow place with which the agency is progressing in terms of development; these critiques fail to comprehend the sheer magnitude of work involved, as well as the delicacy with which these projects must be approached. It's been made clear that no decisions in this plan has thus far been made haphazardly, or without adequate consultation and thought. We can't wait to hear more about the Canary District Condominiums as well as the Canary District, and will be sure to pass on any and all information we receive.

Related Companies:  Baker Real Estate Inc., Dream Unlimited, DundeeKilmer, EllisDon, KPMB Architects, LiveRoof Ontario Inc, Montana Steele, Studio Munge, tcgpr (The Communications Group)