Seven storeys, many stories

The concrete skeleton is complete. Windows and exterior cladding will be in place soon, the developer told a Fall Fête gathering of Beach Hillers on Sunday.


We have been told many things about this building on the corner of Woodbine and Upper Gerrard. When I first began attending meetings about it over 8 years ago, it was going to look like the lower left rendering below and would consist of 28 units.

Changes were made in response to concerns of city staff and neighbours … it would look like one of the other illustrations. We were told that the property owner would be occupying the penthouse himself.


The owner was not willing to meet some conditions demanded by the city, and off he went to the Ontario Municipal Board. There he could have city planners overruled. It took some years, but when the owner emerged with his OMB plan approval, his plot of ground was more valuable. So he sold it to the guy who actually went ahead and built.

Surprise! There would now be 64 units … condos … not the original 28 units. According to the rules, the number of units can be increased to any number the owner chooses, once OMB approval is obtained, as long as the building footprint remains essentially the same as the approved plan.

No one ever intended to build a 28 unit building, the new builder said. His 64 unit condo would be economically feasible, he said.

My attempt to show the building as it might turn out.

On Sunday, we heard that the “condos” would not be sold to individual buyers. The developer was not able to get his asking price for them, apparently, so decided to keep them all and rent them out.

This is fine with me. We need more rental accommodation in Toronto. The interesting thing is that there have been so many different stories about what this building would be. That’s all they were … stories.

Public consultation seems like an empty ritual. Neighbours were wary of the condo story, even when they believed that the units would be owned, not rented. They worried that speculative buyers would rent to undesirable tenants and devalue the neighbourhood.

For a no-holds-barred review of the interior go here and down to THE BAD. It’s quite funny and so are the comments that follow.

What will actually happen is anybody’s guess. One thing we do know is that stories do not help us see into the future.

1 thought on “Seven storeys, many stories

  1. The art of rendering architectural proposals fascinates and amuses me. Trees are always healthy and big, utility poles and wires disappear and the weather is always good. People are fit and well dressed and traffic is always sparse.

    Does anybody notice how lighting is rigged to flatter buildings? In the renderings of the Beach Hill condo, the north side is lightest even though the sun is always on the other side, in reality.

    Only the upper right illustration shows the building as it could actually receive sunlight. The artist has even been honest about the existence of an ugly telephone pole. Quite unusual.

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