Right under the core of the city, squeezed in between the Gardiner/Lakeshore Blvd corridor and the lake and running from Strachan Ave in the west to Sherbourne Ave in the east, The Waterfront is the heart of what makes Toronto a Great Lakes city.
Toronto Ferry Terminal
A far cry from the ramshackle sprawl of warehouses, docks, customs houses and rail spurs that were this area’s hallmarks for the first 175 years of the city, The Waterfront is today a community deliberately planned to provide an ideal mix of leisure and commerce for tourists and residents alike.
Housing in this part of town is a bit of a misnomer – there are really no houses. Almost all the stock is mid or high-rise condo. In fact, some of Toronto’s earliest condos (from the 80s) were built here along the harbourfront. These are almost all occupied by retiree residents and boast some of the largest and most interesting floorplans – and the maintenance fees and maintenance issues to match. The newer buildings that have been erected in a line parallel to the Gardiner are more in line with current condo high rises in the city in terms of design, size and pricing. To the eastern end, the new developments in The Portlands and Alphabet/Google’s Smart City development will bring many, many more buildings and people into the area over the next decade.
Amsterdam Brew Pub
This variety of buildings gives us exactly the mix of residents that you might expect – many older types in older luxury condos act as de facto retirement communities, with their own shuttles going up to downtown, and younger professional types living in smaller newer units along the Queens Quay corridor, enjoying the urban lakefront lifestyle. WIth all of them, of course, being massively outnumbered by the crushing throngs of tourists who descend on Harbourfront from May to Labour Day to enjoy the cool lake breezes, the bar and restaurant patios and the great views of the lake and Toronto Islands.
The aforementioned Queens Quay is the major artery running east/west across the length of The Waterfront – but forget about trying to drive on it. The city has given away automobile lanes to dedicated streetcar tracks, bike lanes and rollerblading rights-of-way. Since relatively few condos come with parking spots anyway, this isn’t a challenge for local residents who can walk, bike or take public transit the short distance to the CBD. It does have the effect of excluding through car traffic and giving safer access to pedestrians and cyclists. If you do have to drive to work and live right on Queens Quay, this will annoy you very shortly. The upside of all the tourist traffic in the summer is, of course, the winter, when there aren’t any and you feel like you have the whole of the waterfront to yourself.
Despite being so close to the Central Business District, The Waterfront is a surprisingly quiet neighbourhood, without any of the noisy late night clubs, crowds and restaurants that exist only 5 blocks away on the other side of the Gardiner. The only real noise is the takeoffs of the turboprop planes from the local feeder airport Billy Bishop (the “island airport”) but these are ultra quiet and residents cease to notice them after a week or two. If you commute a lot to, say, Ottawa, New York, Chicago or Montreal, however, having the airport so close is a major blessing.
There are great schools not too far away just to the north both public and private, a top Walk Score and proximity to 24-hr transit. For the carless, it’s not onerous at all. All amenities are very close, including a new major grocery store complex now going in at Lake Shore Blvd W and Bathurst.
Being so close to the downtown, all the major Toronto attractions are very very close – the CN Tower, aquarium, hockey/basketball arena, Rogers Centre, BMO Field (football/soccer), Roy Thomson Hall, galleries, theatres and the major transportation hub, Union Station. All are a short walk away.
Demand for condos is highly seasonal, with the summer months showing off the best aspects of The Waterfront, and prices reflect this. Recent data (Sep 2018) shows average price in C01 (this is the Toronto Real Estate Board’s downtown sector, into which The Waterfront falls) is ~$690K (with 339 sales in that month alone), with a days-on-market average of only 16. The winter months slow down quite a bit, with prices depreciating somewhat. Winter is definitely a better time to shop and summer a better time to sell! Pricing is currently around $1k/sq ft.
Andrew enjoys the busy outdoor waterfront vibe of the cafes, the great people watching opportunities, the proximity to the Islands and quick access to the Ipekian downtown office. He’s happy to take clients on little tours of the great little spots overlooking the lake to give them a real feel of what living in The Waterfront is all about.
If you don’t mind the summer tourists and are looking for a condo that is close to every major downtown attraction, The Waterfront is the right ’hood for you. Email or call us ([email protected]/(416) 572-1016) for all the current listings we have. There are some fabulous ones. But they’ll mostly be gone in about 2 weeks – so don’t delay!