Over the past dozen years, Etobicoke's Humber Bay Shores area has utterly transformed. The area, which looks out over Lake Ontario to the Downtown Toronto skyline, was once the domain of aging low-rise motels, and a shoreline that the public couldn't get close to. The Toronto Region Conservation Authority got the ball rolling by building new parklands that span from the mouth of the Humber River on past the mouth of the Mimico Creek, while the City laid out new roads and rezoned the land for a high-rise neighbourhood.
Still very much a work in progress, the area is now home to thousands of residents, and restaurants, shops, and services have opened, while the parks and pathways are now regularly thronged with people. A number of developers are responsible for the buildings in the area, but none have built more here than Mattamy Homes with their partner the Biddington Group.
Among the towers in the image above are several that were built by the Monarch Group and Biddington before Monarch was absorbed into Mattamy. They include the Voyager towers, Nautilus, and Waterscapes. Now, Mattamy and Biddington are finishing off the 50-storey Lago at the Waterfront—currently the tallest tower in the area—as well as its more boutique-scaled sibling in front, the 16-storey Riva del Lago. Seen closer up below, both buildings are easily picked out from a distance by their alternating black and white sections, while for those walking by they offer the warmth of shale-gray brick panels at ground level.
A few suites still remain available at Lago and Riva—buildings which will open in 2017—but Mattamy and Biddington have now set their sites on their last skyscraping tower in this neighbourhood, the 53-storey Vita on the Lake.
Looking around at the variously flashy adjacent buildings, Mattamy asked Graziani + Corazza Architects for a simple design which would add elegance to the neighbourhood, and not add visual clutter. Vita starts with a five storey podium—the building's indoor and outdoor amenities will be located at ground level and atop the podium—and then rises to the top with every floor fully wrapped by balconies. That means that every suite at Vita gets a generous outdoor space to take advantage of the area's extensive views.
To get an idea of what those views are like, Mattamy recently invited journalists to come by for a trip to the top of Lago, just two buildings over from where Vita will rise.
From the top of the soaring Lago, views in every direction are the best selling point for suites here, no matter which way you're looking, and the colours of fall underline that fact. Our first view, looking down to ground level the southeast, shows the green roof which has already been installed at the topped-off Riva del Lago. Behind it are the fingers of land which extend into Humber Bay and which provide both wilderness-in-the-city-like experiences for park visitors, and lush habitats for butterflies, birds, fish, and small mammals.
Look up, and turn towards the city, and the ribbon of green along the bay shore beckons cyclists and walkers towards Downtown's skyline and all of Toronto's attractions. If only they would let us stay, our tour participants would all have waited to see the lights come on as the sun set behind us: the nighttime twinkling-lights view of the city from here is becoming legendary.
Downtown stands out of course, but there are other views here, and none disappoint. From nearly any spot in the building you'll see the lake, owing to the curving shoreline here. You'll also see lots of greenery whether looking north up the Humber Valley, or west along the lake as per the image below. Scattered mini-skylines punctuate the horizon in those directions too: while the wide-angle lens has the effect of minimizing the Mississuaga skyline in the image below, when you're up in the tower, the sensuous shapes of the two Absolute World towers, 'Marilyn' and her sister, make for a pair of distinctive distant points.
There's lots more to see in this quickly evolving corner of the city, and we will return in the future to dig deeper. In the meantime, if you want to know more about any of the three Mattamy-Biddington projects focused on in this article, you can click on the dataBase file links below to see renderings and get more info. Want to talk about the buildings? You can leave a comment in the space provided on this page, or get in on the conversations in any of the associated Forum threads.