Earlier this afternoon, Montreal-based developer Broccolini broke ground on River & Fifth Condominiums, their first major project in Toronto as a developer, with a unique "virtual" ground breaking ceremony marking the start of work on the 37-storey, Graziani + Corazza Architects-designed condo tower just southeast of River and Dundas streets. With a special panel convened, the event was touted as the first ground-breaking to take place in the city since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March. (Virtual ground breaking ceremonies have become an increasingly common occurrence around the globe in response to distancing requirements.)

Looking west to River & Fifth Condominiums, image courtesy of Broccolini

The event—the first project start of any kind in Toronto in months—kicked off with a greeting from Phil Brennen, Associate VP of Development at Broccolini, who stated "First and foremost, we're here today to get a better lens on what's happening in the neighbourhood, plans for the future, and why we at Broccolini and others in the neighbourhood believe that, as part of the city, the area is one of the most exciting stories happening in Toronto right now."

Toronto Councillor for the area, Kristyn Wong-Tam then gave a detailed presentation on the Corktown community's history, public amenities, and other local knowledge to the various purchasers/future area residents in digital attendance. "It's hard to speak about Corktown without really taking a look at where it is and what makes it so unique," said Councillor Wong-Tam, entering into a detailed, statistic-filled presentation covering the area's demographics, history, and the urban renewal projects reshaping the surrounding communities. 

Sarah Hillyer, Senior Manager of Philanthropy at Evergreen Brickworks, followed, discussing the project site's relationship with the Don River, the waterway's natural heritage, art installations, trails, and the various other planned and existing river valley programming and destinations that will be within easy walking distance for building residents. "We are thrilled to have you as our neighbours, and two new installations will be very close to your new home," said Hillyer, continuing to describe a new mural to be painted on supports for a bridge adjacent to the site, and a kilometre-long poem written in blue text on the west-facing bank of the Lower Don, passing right by the River & Fifth site.

The event was originally intended to be held in a co-working space known as East Room, located near the project site, just across the Don River at 50 Carroll Street. East Room's Derreck Martin spoke as a guest at the event, greeting future neighbours and thanking the project team. "I'd like to thank Broccolini and the whole team behind River & Fifth for inviting us to this panel," said Martin. "We think that the development has all the markings of something quite special and will undoubtedly be a real asset to the east end of the city."

Finally, Broccolini COO Anthony Broccolini thanked attendees and highlighted the project's importance as the company's entrance into the Toronto market. "Certainly this is a first for us, and we're happy to be here. I'm the third-generation in the family and we've been in business for over 70 years. My grandfather started the business and in 1949 and today we operate in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto," said Broccolini. "This is the first project that Broccolini is launching under our own brand here so we're quite happy about that, and quite happy to be participating specifically in this neighbourhood." (Broccolini has partnered with others on some recent Toronto developments.)

Anthony Broccolini speaking during the livestreamed event

Broccolini also spoke of a new rendering showing off plans for a park at the base of the building, stating "We have a great opportunity that often doesn't come by when you're doing some of these large-scale condo towers, [and we are] certainly proud of the new park and pathway that we'll create for residents and for the entire neighbourhood in and around River & Fifth."

Park at River & Fifth Condominiums, image courtesy of Broccolini

As Mr. Broccolini spoke, a staged photograph of the ceremonial ground breaking was transmitted, marking the ceremonial start of construction. Some work, however, has already started.

Ground breaking at River & Fifth Condominiums, image courtesy of Broccolini

Site clearance primed the site for its redevelopment earlier in the year, wrapping up at the end of May. Now, permits from the City are awaited so that drilling rigs can begin work on the site's shoring, a precursor to the deep excavation that will follow.

Site of River & Fifth, May 27 2020, image by Forum contributor bilked

Meanwhile, sales for the project are continuing by appointment only, including the ability to meet and review marketing materials remotely.

Additional information and images can be found in our Database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment below.

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Related Companies:  Graziani + Corazza Architects, Milborne Group, NAK Design Strategies, U31