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175 Wynford Drive, Investment Condos on the Eglinton LRT Line

Eglinton LRT train prototype

If you’re reading this in Toronto, then you’re living through (or have just lived through) the largest expansion of the TTC’s transit network since the 1960s. The Crosstown LRT is a light rail train line that runs nearly twenty kilometers across Eglinton Avenue between Mount Dennis (Weston Road) and Kennedy station. The line has twenty-five separate stations, ten of which are underground. The Crosstown LRT will link to fifty-four bus routes, three subway stations and various GO Transit lines. This train line will transform Toronto and give oxygen to new condominium developments that, as they mature, will come to define new neighbourhoods.

new TTC map of Toronto showing Eglinton LRT line 2019The Crosstown is being presented as a highly efficient transit solution that avoids congestion by carrying passengers in a separate train line right-of-way transit lanes separate from regular traffic. It will transform Toronto and now suddenly we have a transit map that more resembles a major world capital.  The vehicles will use the PRESTO proof-of-payment system and will have multiple entrances and low floors to ensure fast and accessible boarding.

Anytime there’s a new train station there’s a burst of development near the scene. This has been the case with every rail expansion since the dawn of the Age of Steam.  What makes the Eglinton LRT so special, and indeed a little overwhelming, is that there are twenty-five new stations and each new stop represents significant real estate opportunities.

What are the Eglinton LRT Line Stations?

The Crosstown LRT line runs beside and below Eglinton Avenue between Mount Dennis (Weston Road) and Kennedy station.  The names of the stations are (from west to east) Mount Dennis, Keelesdale, Caledonia, Fairbank, Oakwood, Cedarvale, Forest Hill, Chaplin, Avenue, Eglinton, Mount Pleasant, Leaside, Laird, Sunnybrook Park, Science Centre, Aga Khan Park & Museum, Wynford, Sloane, O’Connor, Pharmacy, Hakimi Lebovic, Golden Mile, Birchmount, Ionview, and finally Kennedy Station at Kennedy Street and Eglinton Avenue.

What Canadian Artists Were Commissioned for Eglinton LRT?

The Government of Ontario has committed $8.4 billion in support of new transit for Toronto and some of the money will be spent on art. The artworks selected for the Eglinton Crosstown are world-class, contemporary, impactful, and context-appropriate enhancements to public space and civic infrastructure. The selected artists contributing designs to the Crosstown project include Janice Kerbel, Douglas Coupland, Rodney LaTourelle with Louise Witthoft, Hadley + Maxwell with Sara Cwynar, Sarah Morris, Joseph Kosuth with Dagmara Genda. Integrated art components will be installed at six stations: Mount Dennis, Caledonia, Cedarvale, Eglinton, Science Centre and Kennedy station.  These projects are part of a professionally designed public art program that will place Metrolinx on par with leading transit agencies and help improve Toronto transit riders’ experience.

Eglinton Light Rail Transit will Transform North York

Eglinton LRT - Crosstown LRT vehicle Light rail vehicles can travel as fast as 80km/hr, but that doesn’t mean the trains will travel that fast on the Eglinton line. Their actual speed on the new tracks will be determined by the spacing of the stops and the speed limits of surrounding traffic. It will be a bit of a signalling challenge to be sure as the trains travel beside the roadway but they still cross over two dozen major north south arteries.

The projected ridership of the Crosstown is 5,500 passengers per hour in Rush Times by 2031. The capacity of the Crosstown vehicles is 15,000 passengers per hour in either direction. Cars can be removed or added easily, thus providing the flexibility to accommodate ridership demands. Light rail transit is a proven technology that is used around the world, including extremely cold places such as Edmonton, Calgary and Minneapolis.

There are scattered jewels of investment all along the Eglinton LRT line, but Premier Matrix is particularly interested in Wynford Gardens Condos, a new condo development by Allied-Hotel-Properties-Inc located at 175 Wynford Dr, Toronto.175 wynford drive, condos in torontoThe name of the project is Wynford Gardens, and its being developed on the North East Corner of Don Mills Road & Eglinton Avenue.  This is one of the first major developments along the new rail line. Due to the heavy investment of the government on the LRT network, most major corners along the LRT line are being redeveloped in the process. The Don Mills & Eglinton intersection site includes a 34-storey condominium building, along with a six-storey hotel and a six-storey seniors’ residence.

Wynford Gardens is a huge project all by itself.  The new towers at 175 Wynford Avenue, according to plans submitted by Quadrangle Architects, would add 755 residential units to the site, along with renovations and reconfiguration to some of the existing structures. The 39-storey tower would add 431 suites to the site, and the 32-storey tower will add 324 units. Parking is being created in a four level underground garage which has 766 spaces for residents and visitors. 578 bicycle parking spaces would also be available for resident use. The main floors of the new towers would contain a multi-level restaurant, bar, and lounges, along with daycare facilities and outdoor children’s play area. 1,442m² of indoor residential amenity space would be provided in each tower on both the 3rd and 4th floors.

Phase One condominiums will be followed by a general transformation of the suurounding property into a mixed-use development, featuring condominium and town home residences, along with significant office and retail areas, community facilities, and municipal infrastructure. This will further increase the values of Wynford Gardens residences.

Science CenterArtist’s Vision of Science Centre Station on the Downtown Relief Line

The Science Centre station is designed as a transfer station between the Downtown Relief Line (DRL, which in my rendering is called the Don Mills-Downtown Subway) and the Eglinton LRT line. The station is entirely underground. The DRL portion of the station is located on the SW corner of the Don Mills/Eglinton intersection, under part of the existing north parking lot of the Ontario Science Centre (which the station is named after). The Eglinton LRT station is located north of the DRL platform, under Eglinton Avenue. A bus terminal is located at the SE corner of the intersection, which has potential for mixed use development above. The station is connected by an underground walkway to the Ontario Science Centre.

The station design has a science theme. Giant “stick and ball” models of water molecules hang above the DRL platform, and the “stick and ball” motif is replicated as columns in the rest of the station. Natural lighting is provided by skylights over the DRL platform, which appear at ground level as giant glass cubes in a public plaza, which is built over the DRL platform on a part of the Ontario Science Centre parking lot.

(Transit City LRVs shown here modified from AdelDunc’s Adelaide Tram model in Google 3D Warehouse)

The Aga Khan Museum

Aga Khan Museum is the TTC station on stop east of Wynford and here lies a World Class museum of Islamic art, Iranian (Persian) art and Muslim culture. This is a fixture in the North York Muslim communities and all across Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The museum is an initiative of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network. It houses collections of Islamic art and heritage, including artifacts from the private collections of His Highness the Aga Khan, the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, and Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan, which showcase the artistic, intellectual and scientific contributions of Muslim civilizations.

The History of the Aga Khan Museum

In 1996, the Aga Khan bought the property at 77 Wynford Drive from Shell Corporation. In 2002, he bought the adjacent property, which was formerly the Bata Shoes Head Office. On October 8, 2002, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) announced the establishment of the Aga Khan Museum, Ismaili Centre and Park on the site.  The foundation-laying ceremony for the project was attended by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on May 28, 2010.

The museum was designed by architect Fumihiko Maki and opened on September 18, 2014.  It’s a 10,000 square-metre structure that’s set within formal gardens and surrounded by the Aga Khan Park which was designed by renown landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic.  Also present on site is the Ismaili Centre which was designed by the Indian architect Charles Correa.

The Crosstown is currently under construction and will be complete by 2021. The project started back on November 28, 2012, when Metrolinx, and the City of Toronto and TTC signed a master agreement for the implementation of the Toronto Light Rail Transit Program. The agreement formalized the construction and future operation of the four new Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines in Toronto, which will improve public transit and ease congestion in Toronto. Metrolinx will own the LRT lines, and the TTC will operate them.

Sample travel times:
Current (via bus) Crosstown LRT
Kennedy station to Yonge-Eglinton takes 40 minutes, and will be reduced to 26 minutes on the LRT.
Kennedy station to Eglinton-Keele takes 73 minutes, and will be reduced to 38 minutes on the LRT.
Eglinton-Keele to Eglinton West station takes 16 minutes and will be reduced to 6 minutes on LRT.


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Weekday GO Train Service Will Raise Niagara Region Real Estate Prices

Go Train to Niagara Falls

Weekday GO Train service to Niagara Falls spells new opportunity for land speculators eyeing the most golden region of the Golden Horseshoe.  Railroad expansions are typically followed by investors’ hasty rush for land and resources, and Niagara Falls’ properties are already worth more today than before December 2018, when Go Train service expansion prospects were particularly bleak.  That’s one of the surprises in this story; nobody expected the train service would be in place until 2023 as that is when the previous Liberal government had tabled the expansion. But Doug Ford’s PC Government, citing mass transit congestion, sped up delivery of the service.

small photo of GoTrain in Niagara region

St Catherines Ontario, Welland Ontario, Niagara on the Lake, and the City of Niagara Falls property values are certain to rise on renewed interest from urban dwellers seeking to escape to the orchards. The idea of living and raising a family in farm country while working two hours away in the city appeals to many Canadians.  And not just any farm country, Niagara Region is our country’s most prolific fruit belt, our primary wine region and a key tourist area that’s soaked with 18th century battlefields and well preserved 19th century monuments. This is the world of wine tours, Shaw Festival goers and countless Bed & Breakfasts accommodating an estimated 20 million people who visit Niagara Falls each year.

As of Monday, January 7th 2019, GO Train commuters are now able to take a single train, weekdays, that travels between Niagara Falls and Union Station. This is Metrolinx’s first step in a long-term effort to expand service on its Lakeshore West line, and it comes four years ahead of schedule.  The news was presented in person with much fanfare by Sam Oosterhoff, Jeff Yurek, and Kinga Surma of the Progressive Conservative Government of Ontario, and then crystallized in a press release issued December 14, 2018.

mpp Jeff yurek - twitter pic

On that day, Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation, Kinga Surma, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation, Sam Oosterhoff, MPP Niagara West, along with Leslie Woo, Chief Planning and Development Officer for Metrolinx, visited the rail station in St. Catharines to announce that the government will introduce long-asked-for weekday GO train service to Niagara Falls and St. Catharines on the Lakeshore West line.

The move began Monday, the first day back to work and school for many Ontarians, and was announced by the transit agency in December. There is only one daily eastbound and westbound trip as of now.

GO trains in Niagara Falls

The current weekday 6:39 a.m. trip from West Harbour GO in Hamilton will now start at Niagara Falls at 5:19 a.m., stop in St. Catharines at 5:41 a.m., and then continue with the regular stops and schedules.

The westbound 5:15 p.m. trip from Union Station to West Harbour will continue to St. Catharines at 7:22 p.m. and finish at Niagara Falls at 7:47 p.m.

The cost each way is $19.80 with a Presto card, or $22.30 cash.

Niagara Region as an Investment Opportunity, by the Numbers

Niagara Falls, Ontario has a population of 447,888 today, and the city predicts it will have 610,000 residents by 2041. If they meet that target they will realize 26% growth over the next 25 years, which also means that there will be an annual growth of 1.35% each year. This will be mirrored by the city’s employment, which will also grow from 185,000 in 2016 to 265,000 by 2041. Tourism and the hospitality industry accounts for a large portion of the city’s employment, and this sector is due to double or triple in size in the next few years ahead of the upcoming 2021 Canada Summer Games, which will be hosted in the city.

Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls

List of New Condos in Niagara Region

Development by: Mountainview Homes
Drummond Rd, Niagara Region, ON
Townhome Prices From The High $300,000’s CAD
Move in 2020
Lyon’s Creek Homes
Lyon’s Creek

Development by: Mountainview Homes
Tallgrass Ave, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 0A4
Home Prices From The Mid $400,000’s CAD
Move in 2019
Sparrow Meadows
Sparrow Meadows

Development by: Mountainview Homes
Silverwood Avenue, Welland ON
Home Prices From The Mid $300,000’s CAD
Move in 2019
Timberwood Estates
Timberwood Estates

Development by: Mountainview Homes
1110 Hansler Rd,Welland ON
Home Prices From The Mid $300,000’s CAD
Move in 2019
West Community Homes
West Community

Development by: Mountainview Homes
Richmond St, Thorold, ON
Home Prices From The Mid $400,000’s CAD
Move in 2019
One Twenty Condos
One Twenty

Development by: Mountainveiw Homes
Hurricane Rd & RR 20, Pelham, ON
Condo Prices From The Mid $300,000’s CAD
Move in 2021
Saffron Estates
Saffron Estates

Development by: Mountainview Homes
Pelham St & Hwy 20, Fonthill, ON
Condo Prices From The Mid $300,000’s CAD
Move in 2019
330 Prince Charles Drive Condos
330 Prince Charles Drive

Development by: Evertrust Development Group Canada Inc
330 Prince Charles Dr, Welland, ON
Condo Prices TBA CAD
Move in TBA


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Conversation with James Bradeen on 543 Richmond Condos

James Bradeen and Ovais at 543 Richmond showing in Toronto

On Tuesday Sept 18 2018, Ovais Qassim met James Bradeen to discuss the new condominium development by Pemberton Group that has recently been announced for 543 Richmond St in Toronto. Here’s what they discussed,

Ovais: Good afternoon everyone, thank you for joining us today. My name is Ovais Qassim, I’m from Premier Matrix Realty. We’re here today with James Bradeen. Harlowe Realty and the Milborne group have been retained by the Pemberton group for the launch of 543 Richmond. The purpose of today’s interview is to talk a little bit about the Pemberton group, the developer, but more importantly 543 Richmond, a new project that you’re launching.

James: The Pemberton Group is one of the largest developers in the G.T.A. Over the last couple of years we’ve launched projects downtown from Time & Space, to Social Condominiums. We’ve also launched a number of projects in Richmond Hill and Mississauga and even Oakville. So a strong presence throughout the G.T.A. as a whole.

Ovais stands beside an architectual model of 543 Richmond Condos in Toronto

Ovais: The location, the neighbourhood, what makes it great?

James: 543 is steps away from the entertainment district.  You’re minutes away from the financial district, so that (you’re close) to one third of the jobs in the city, or  about five hundred thousand jobs. You’re minutes from the theatre district, and the fashion district, and so you have some of the most exciting restaurants nearby as well as the best nightlife areas in the city. All just steps away, so this is one of the most exciting projects and locations that we’ve launched in quite some time.

Ovais: And it’s actually saddled between King West and Queen West, and we know that Queen West has been rated the second most trendiest neighbourhood by Vogue magazine just recently.

James: Absolutely.

Ovais: Tell us about the project itself and how many units do we have and how many stories, the different types of units, and the unit mix.

James: So the building is fifteen stories tall, it’s comprised of about four hundred seventy six suites and they will range anywhere from studios at about three hundred seventy square feet up to three plus dens at about one thousand forty five. So really quite a versatile range of more economical suites and the studios up to more livable spaces in the three plus dens.

Ovais: Tell us about what’s the most exciting element of the project for you.

James: Absolutely, yes so there’s about fourteen to fifteen thousand square feet of amenities located between the second and the eighth floors. On the second floor you have an outdoor space with a seasonal pool right, as well as barbecues, cabana areas there’s going to be three separate party rooms scattered again between the second and eight floors. As well as a theatre room, games room, a multimedia area, essentially everything that your clients could want.

Ovais: I know that there is a lot of retail around at the base of the existing buildings in the neighbourhood, what will this project have?

James: So located just off of Portland and primarily towards the east end side of the building there’s going to be about eighteen thousand square feet of commercial space that will certainly be quite complimentary to the building amenities as well as the surrounding environment.

James and Ovais at 543 Richmond showing

Ovais: Nice. One last question is this a good investment?

James: Absolutely. So if you look at the actual resale numbers in the area they are on par if not slightly more expensive than the majority of the Suites that we’re launching at this point in time. So that’s one metric that really shows that you’re buying four years in the future but at today’s price point, another very important component is all of the pre-construction projects that are launching in the area at this point in time they’re quite a bit more expensive, they’re twelve fifty to fourteen hundred and in some cases even more per square foot. So there is tremendous value and for that reason I do believe it’s one of the best investment opportunities in the city today.

Ovais: Thank you so much for coming out.

James: Thank you for having us.

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Lots of Transition Game, 05 June 2017

at sugar wharf condo project in Toronto

Premier Matrix Realty would like to offer a friendly challenge to readers to identify which condominium  projects in Toronto these pictures , and we’ll be watching the comments for your answers and hopefully we can award congratulations to the winner and maybe a small prize.  On the morning of Tuesday 5th June 2018, this author wandered Toronto and was impressed by the size and scale of these building lots in transition.

Site #1, where is this deep hole in the ground in Toronto – 05 June 2018

can you guess where this site is located in Toronto

Site #2, where is this supermarket being demolished? What project is taking shape here this summer?

site in downtown Toronto

Site #3, where is this narrow patch between residential apartment towers? There’s no basement being prepared for this building site.

Bloor Sherbourne construction site

This crack of sunlight may be another clue to this third and hardest photo. If you know the locations of these properties please prove it; let us know in the comments.