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A Recent Development Reveals Toronto’s Rich History

Toronto’s historic North Market is about to receive another makeover as the single-story farmer’s market is torn down and replaced with a five-story city-owned market. The famous site, located on the corner of Front and Jarvis, has been home to numerous structures over the years, all dedicated to food, making this celebrated spot a monument to Toronto’s foodie tradition.

Thanks to Toronto’s 2004 archeological management plan, construction on the storied site will not be undertaken lightly. In fact, 2.7 million dollars are expected to be spent on demolition and excavation as the site is properly studied prior to building. Right now, the archeological investigation is literally unearthing new evidence to not only support the claim that this site has been dedicated to food for centuries, but also to shed some light on the practices and lifestyles of Toronto’s past residents.

The team, including senior archeologists Peter Popkin and David Robertson, have discovered several long-buried structures, including the foundations of two of the previous buildings, tunnels and cellars used by butchers for draining and storage, and shards of ceramic that likely belonged to pottery used for serving.

The North Market was designated as an area for food serving by the British in 1803. However, historian Bruce Bell theorizes that the spot had significance for food long before that among native Indian tribes that would fish in the area. Bell suggests that the site could have been designated as a food serving and eating area for as long as 5 thousand years.

Regardless, it’s importance was unmistakable for the roughly 9 thousand residents of the colonial outpost that was early Toronto. At that time, this spot was likely the only place to trade for or buy food. It also once contained not only the only marketplace, but also Toronto’s first ever city hall, further emphasizing the significance that such a place had for settlers.

The first structure was built on that spot in 1820 and, since then, there have been four others, all of them serving a similar purpose. The recently demolished farmer’s market has enjoyed the honour since 1968. While many may be sad to see it go, they can rest assured that the new building will honour the overall history of the spot.

After a projected two years of construction and between 60 and 90 million dollars, the new five story building will include panels on the first couple of floors in accordance with the Heritage interpretation plan set in place. These panels will pay homage to the history of the site and the many celebrated structures that came before.

Despite how many may view budding construction projects, the new market is not an affront to Toronto’s history but rather part of a long-standing tradition. Just like its predecessors, the new market sees the old replaced with the new while maintaining the overall integrity and value of a treasured historic locale.

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Fort York Bridge Looking to Rise Up Once Again

When it comes to building a $19.7 million bridge to be used by cyclists and pedestrians, there’s really only one way to do it – the Torontonian way! Stanley Park and Fort York can finally connect seamlessly, as the Fort York Bridge is looking to make a comeback. The two-part bridge that links the King St. West Liberty Village and Fort York Neighbourhood is going to take one year to construct; it’s said to begin being built during Spring of 2016. Walking and cycling is a relatively big deal in Toronto, as driving your car all over town isn’t exactly the most effective way to get around. One bridge is going to spread across the Southern extension of Stanley Park, bringing it over to the Northern side of Ordnance Triangle Park. The second bridge is going to link the Southern side of Ordnance Triangle Park with Fort York, giving you two-way access to both locations. Dufferin Construction has stated that this is the very first stainless steel bridge (of this variety) in North America, and will be much cheaper to maintain when compared alongside to traditionally manufactured bridges. The original bridge that was being proposed was supposed to cost up to $26 million, and was initially supposed to be opened up during July of 2012. Stanley Park and Fort York were seemingly meant to be connected, as the bridge has drawn a lot of positive response from the community. If you’re a local and enjoy walking or cycling around town, this bridge is going to make things much easier for you.

Mayor John Tory stated that the city building effort was going great, and that there are going to be an abundance of different attractions for potential tourists to take a look at – but it’s more so focused on the building of local communities and such that makes everything so great. Torontonians can finally get to Fort York and back as they please, without having to navigate around the roads.

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Insurance Rates: Comparing Rental and Owned Properties

Home insurance is crucial when you’re trying to live a stress-free life. You never really know when a problem is going to come up, and when it’s house-related, you never really want to deal with it. It’s kind of like a wart that won’t go away! Not only that, but they’re going to make up a relatively large portion of your insurance budget. Living without a roof over your head isn’t ideal by any means, which means finding a reasonable rate for your house insurance is critical. When you’re a renter, the average insurance rates that you’ll pay are going to vary. There is a minimum of $160, an average of $250 and a maximum of $410. You shouldn’t expect to pay any more than $410 if you’re renting. With that being said, there are a few different types of insurance to be considered. Rental premiums include stuff like:

Liability Insurance – If you somehow cause damage to another party and they decide to sue you (let’s say a mailman slipped on icy steps or you flood a neighbours unit by accident), you’ll be covered.

Contents Insurance – The contents of your home are going to be accounted for with this insurance. If you ever go through a house fire or get burglarized, you’ll still be in great hands.

Additional Costs – Insurance is going to cover any fees that may be associated with your home.

For homeowners, the insurance premiums that you pay for are going to vary. You’ll have all of the included components above, but it also covers the cost that comes along with fixing or repairing your property. Coverage is going to vary from policy to policy, and there are even some relatively “out there” policies available. If you live in a tornado-prone region, natural disaster coverage is ideal; cost is much different, though.

The cost will be determined by the price of your home. If a house is worth around $100-300k, home insurance could cost around $860 per year. More expensive homes ($300-700k) would be about $920 per year, while $700k to $1.5m is about $1,400.

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Rail Deck Park & Condo Pricing

The new Rail Deck Park proposition is supposed to bring a new vibe to the town of Toronto, but what does that mean for the condo prices in surrounding areas? Condos are already relatively expensive in the Toronto area, but this new Rail Deck Park implementation could very well raise their prices up to 10%. The proposal is supposed to support the building of a huge, 21-acre park on top of the CN Rail corridor. It’s a great concept, and it will definitely provide a new sort of feel for the city. It’s always nice to get something new, but the fact that it’s going to raise surrounding condo values has people questioning the decision.

“It will definitely raise the value of the whole neighbourhood, because it will be much more interconnected” stated Alex Balikoev, who is a realtor himself. The bump in value for these properties may seem like a blessing to some, as there’s always investors and condo-owners that are looking to make a sale. 10% in profit for doing nothing at all is great, regardless of how you look at it. If you’re someone who’s looking to make a move into Toronto, however, it could pose as a problem. The average price of a home located in Toronto rose to around $746,546 during the month of June, which is 16.8% higher than it was during June of last year. Condo prices have jumped 7.7%, and that’s without the implementation of Rail Deck Park. Inclusionary zoning is the way they go about balancing property values within the city, in which developers have to take a specific number of units and allow them for low (or even moderate) income homes.

Most of the available properties you’ll find in Toronto are going to be condos, and when the price is increasing, it means that it’s somewhat unavoidable. It’s said that an even stronger inclusionary zoning process will take effect next year (on a provincial level), which is said to allow the creation of up to 12,000 new and affordable homes for Toronto.

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Ontario Government Looking to Regulate Home Inspectors

As a consumer, you’re going to rely on a lot of services throughout your life. This means that the right home inspector could very well save you some money on a property purchase, as well as help you out with plenty of other things. One thing to keep in mind, is that the home regulation industry hasn’t exactly been efficient these days; certifications and licenses are hard to come by these days. As a result, the Ontario government is finally taking it upon themselves to inspect the home inspection industry (and quite thoroughly, might I add!). There is a brand new licensing process being introduced, which is meant to protect buyers from the illegitimate claims certain home inspectors could make.

The fact of it all is that a home inspection is a key component to the home buying process. If you have an inspection report that is lackluster, odds are you’re going to go about making a bad investment. You could be left with unexpected repair costs when it comes to fixing your home, or even just losing a sale – if that wasn’t bad enough, it could even go as far as having a serious impact on your health and safety. Ontario is doing a great thing by implementing a brand new licensing process, as it calls for a much more professional approach within the industry.

All home inspectors that are operating within the Ontario region will need to be licensed, as well as overseen by their respective administrative party. This has been something in which it took 3 years in total to complete, but it’s finally done! Home inspection isn’t mandatory by any means, but it’s definitely one of the things you should be going through before selling a home. Not only will it ensure that the home is fit for sale, but it also lets potential buyers know that there isn’t anything to fear. This change is going to have people looking at house inspection reports differently! Knowing you can trust a professional opinion is worth its weight in gold.

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Tim Hudak Making the Transition into Real Estate

Tim Hudak has announced that he will no longer be handling provincial politics, only two years after being beaten out as Progressive Conservative leader (throughout a less than stellar 2014 campaign for his team). Hudak announced that he was going to resign as the MPP for Niagara West-Glanbrook, only to become chief executive of the Ontario Real Estate Association (which is actually an industry lobbying group). Hudak was initially elected in the year of 1995, only sitting at 27 years of age. He was present during the years of Mike Harris’ “Common Sense Revolution”, and also had three separate cabinet portfolios to take into account. Two of those would include consumer and business services, which helps out immensely when it comes to sporting the necessary skills as a chief executive. The Ontario Real Estate Association was said to have worked very closely with Hudak on plenty of issues, some of which would relate themselves to electronic signatures and even real estate transactions in general. They also worked together within a grow-op registry project, as well as fighting back municipal land transfer taxes.

Hudak had won the PC leadership battle during 2009, and then took his fight towards the then-premier Dalton McGuinty (during the 2011 election). The Liberals were given a minority. McGuinty was to reside a year later as a result of cancelled power plant scandals. Hudak had pledged to cut around 100,00 public sector jobs during 2014, which was a call that didn’t sit too well with many people (it was also an angle taken without any input from the parties main members). Hudak lost a lot of support from Conservative MPP’s, and had to step down, with only a month left before the election. Despite the setback, Hudak was reprised as a thoughtful and progressive MPP. He was known as being involved and always pushing to get stuff done. He’s a great option when it comes to picking a new chief executive for the Ontario Real Estate Association.

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4 Brand-New GO Stations and 6 SmartTrack Locations Announced!

Steven Del Duca, whom is the Transportation Minister for Ontario, stated that four new GO Stations are set to be built within Toronto; all of which is supposed to happen within the next 10 years. We all know that GO Stations are incredibly convenient, especially for commuters that need to get to work; that’s why a few new stations would seem ideal (in any case). The new stations are proposed to go alongside the Barrie and Kitchener lines, which are known as being a bit lacking when talking about the number of stops they sport.

Two of these brand-new GO Stations being proposed would be of the Toronto SmartTrack variety, and would turn out to be quite a significant addition to both Toronto and the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). These SmartTrack lines would be shared between Liberty Village and St. Clair & Keele, as well as the four east-end stations:

  • Finch Ave. (between Kennedy and Midland)
  • Lawrence Ave. E
  • Gerrard St. E
  • Don Yard & Unilever Area (between Cherry St. and Eastern Ave.)

All in all, Del Duca stated that these stops were going to be a part of the $13.5 billion being gathered for GO regional transportation within 2014. It’s great that they not only found funding, but figured out a way to make things work only two years later.

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Developer of CityPlace Will Bring a Light-Based Art Collection to Toronto

Downtown Toronto has never been short of arts & culture, but the CityPlace developers are taking it upon themselves to add a personal touch of sorts. Looking to change the look of Toronto’s downtown core, CityPlace is introducing a light-based art collective; an attraction that is sure to intrigue even the blandest person in town. Concord Adex (which is the developer) wanted to make it more than just condos buildings, which is why this project is so special. It’s the largest public art collection being sported in Canada right now, and is capable of bringing the community together (through the use of flashy, fancy lights!). Harold Madi, who is the director of Urban Design for the City of Toronto, stated that these public art pieces were implemented within the CityPlace design all along. There are three main components to this collection, which would be: Pierre Poussin’s “Variegation”, Katharine Harvey’s “Gardiner Streams” and finally, Adrian Gollner’s “Drift”.

Madi also stated that CityPlace is the first condo community in Toronto to have a public art collection, and they’ve made it their duty to ensure that everything meshes together properly (that being, the building and the art). The Variegation exhibit is supposed to reference the plants and green areas that used to make up Toronto, a reminder that we’ve built all of this from the ground up. Gardiner Streams (which is a giant screen, littered with multi-color streams of light) is supposed to reference the Gardiner Expressway, which is mere minutes away from the building (and immediately South of where the art is displayed). Motorists can see the exhibit themselves as they pass by.

Drift, the third and final exhibit to take a look at, has certain portions of the condo towers creating a variation of colours. During the nighttime, you can really see the light against the dark sky; it just adds another sense of artistic integrity to the community. These three art projects are something you shouldn’t miss out on, and I would highly suggest checking them out if you’re in the CityPlace area!

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TTC launches 514 Cherry streetcar route

The streetcar circuit is a big deal in Toronto, mainly because it offers up an abundance of transportation opportunities for the citizens at hand. When it comes to bringing in new routes, there hasn’t been an introduction in over 16 years – but that’s changing. There is a brand-new streetcar route that was built at 514 Cherry Street, and it connects the West Done Lands to Liberty Village (which is a very sought after condo community, of sorts). Those of you who absolutely love making use of the Toronto transit system have a lot of stuff to be happy about!

The very first trip took place at around 10 AM this summer, going North up Cherry Street before turning West on King Street E – the first ride itself as available free of charge. In a way, it’s pretty much been able to take part in history; so it’s a good thing you didn’t need to pay! They had an abundance of different streetcars out for display, all of which played an integral part in the advancement of modern Streetcar technologies. There was every single generation of streetcar that you could think of being put out for all to see.

The service on this route is expected to hover around 8-9 minutes in between pickups, and that’s dealing with peak times (in regards to the number of people commuting). Although the route is somewhat small, it’s the first step that city officials are taking towards a brighter and better Toronto. The lakefront itself could use some revitalization, and this is clearly an opportunity to help in that sense. Being able to access Liberty Village with ease (from West Don Lands) not only allows local commuters a chance to get around seamlessly, but it makes the entire city a much more convenient place. If they’re able to add more and more streetcar routes (and, hopefully, at an accelerated pace), we should see a pretty big jump in the convenience of public transportation within the city.

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Chinese Investments Within Canadian Real Estate On Course to Increase During 2016

Foreign property investors are always a great thing to be looking at, especially when it comes to Canada. Since our dollar has been relatively weak as of recent, it helps that we have Chinese investors coming or to look at properties. Foreign demands for properties around our region have resulted in price increases, as well as creating multi-million dollar homes in an abundance of cities (much like Vancouver). When you look at Juwai.com, which is a property search engine built to be used by Chinese buyers, the amount of terms related to Canadian real estate properties surged higher by around 134%. The sheer popularity alone is enough to understand how much Chinese buyers love Canadian real estate. When you look at the amount of interest being sported, it looks like Chinese investors are looking to move their money abroad. The current economy of China is somewhat unstable, and large investors could be avoiding potential risks by moving everything over here. The stock market is also quite volatile in China, and even government officials are locking down the reigns of capital flight. Juwai conducted a survey and found that around a 55% increase in international property purchases is expected.

Vancouver and Toronto are the main areas to be looked at in this situation, but Canada as a whole is a pretty large target. If there aren’t any drastic changes in the way things are going, we can expect to see a major increase in the amount of Chinese investors purchasing Canadian real estate. As time progresses, we can only expect to see more and more of these moves being made. If the government of China takes it upon themselves to loosen their grip on capital, we’ll definitely see a huge increase in the number of foreign investors buying property within Canada. Australia and the United States are other regions that should be expecting a large surge of investments, specifically, as the year moves along. 2016 is the year of real estate investments, be it of the foreign or local variety.