Ground is broken for first condominium building Cutting-edge vision for future live-work-play neighbourhood is unveiled
Toronto, May 15, 2012—Toronto’s most exciting new neighbourhood is about to take shape.
A team of renowned architects, city officials and developers, today broke ground on the exciting Canary District, an area in the city’s West Don Lands which will transform from a home for athletes participating in the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, into Toronto’s most ambitious city-building project in generations.
Award-winning, Toronto-based architects Peter Clewes of architectsAlliance and Bruce Kuwabara of KPMB Architects—representing a high-profile Integrated Design Team—along with Waterfront Toronto vice-president of development, Meg Davis, outlined the stunning architectural vision for the dynamic Canary District and surrounding neighbourhood. The sustainable, mixed use neighbourhood will feature 8 buildings including market condominiums, affordable housing, George Brown College  student residence, YMCA, and world-class lifestyle amenities and top-tier retail—a winning combination that’s sure to make it Toronto’s most desirable live-work-play destination for decades to come.
“Unlike many athletes’ village projects which are purpose-built to house competitors during major athletic events and then converted to other uses following the games, this project is advancing the building of a community that was already planned and under development,” Davis said of the ambitious project.
Hosted by Soulpepper Theatre Company artistic director Albert Schultz, the event also included an overview of plans for Block 11—Canary District Condominiums, the first building slated for construction—by Dundee Kilmer, and a ground-breaking ceremony for the building. Sales will commence in June 2012.
Of course, this isn’t the area’s first shift in appearance. Originally a Carolinian forest, the West Don Lands has experienced numerous reinventions as parkland in the nineteenth century, a residential community at the turn of the century and an industrial rail land for most of the 20th century.
As Kuwabara and Clewes pointed out, this latest transformation is poised to reshape the West Don Lands once again, leaving behind a sustainable live-work-play neighbourhood that will forever change Toronto’s waterfront.
To ensure aesthetic diversity across the Canary District, teams from four architecture firms—architectsAlliance, KPMB, Daoust Lestage Inc., and MacLellan Jaunkalns Miller Architects—were commissioned to design unique, contemporary buildings reflective of their trademark architectural styles. The Integrated Design Team was tasked to work within Waterfront Toronto’s precinct and block plan built over years of intensive consultation between key stakeholders such as the City of Toronto,  local community groups, Infrastructure Ontario, and TO2015 while still injecting their own unique creative flourishes to build a truly livable and sustainable neighbourhood.
“Our challenge was to transform the prescribed blocks into highly livable, contemporary modern architecture while restoring the West Don Lands to the city and contributing to the Waterfront Toronto revitalization vision,” said Kuwabara.
Clewes added that the neighbourhood was designed from the outset as a community for the 21st century, one that achieved a perfect balance between the city and nature. “This is a unique site at the mouth of a historic river, where people can live, work and play in urbane, modern buildings, in the midst of an urban landscape of animated streetscapes, public spaces, pathways, courtyards and plazas,” he said.
Some of the key elements incorporated into the design of the District include an extensive pedestrian network to allow for a highly walkable neighbourhood, open and transparent streetscapes, as well as large-scale building windows and balconies to offer a connection between residents living above and the bustle of streets below—a direct nod to the late Toronto urban planning visionary Jane Jacobs’ ‘eyes on the street’ thesis. Amenities at the base of residential buildings will include retail stores, cafes and restaurants, as well as accessible community and recreational services.
To connect the Canary District with the neighbouring Distillery District, materials such as masonry are being used at street-level, while a contemporary and modern design aesthetic has prevailed to exemplify the area’s status as Toronto’s most cutting-edge new community.  The community’s overall design maximizes green spaces throughout and meets LEED® Gold criteria, while honouring requirements of Toronto’s Mandatory Green Building standard. 
For more information about the Canary District, please visit

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