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Archive for May, 2015

A Curiosity Seeker’s Dream Event

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Ever walked by a building, structure or church and wondered why it was built or what it looks like on the inside?

There is a festival designed solely just for that. The 16th annual Doors Open Toronto festival offers people free and rare access to more than 155 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city.

The two-day event takes place this year on Saturday, May 23 and Sunday May 24. This year’s theme of Sports, Recreation and Leisure pays tribute to this summer’s Pan-Am Games and features private and public recreational sites ranging from aquatic centres to athletics stadiums.

Doors will be open at buildings from the lake to the 407 and as far west as Islington to the eastern reaches of Military Trail. In and around the Freeman Real Estate office at 988 Bathurst, there are several notable buildings worth visiting:

Artscape Wychwood Barns 

This 100-year-old former streetcar repair facility is today a hub for arts, culture, food security, urban agriculture, environmental and other community activities and initiatives. Opened in 2008, this multi-faceted complex has become the social heart of the neighbourhood.

City of Toronto Archives 

Opened in 1992, the City of Toronto Archives was designed with a sky lit Research Hall where researchers can access the City’s documentary heritage. Doors Open guests will be given behind-the-scenes treatment as they view artworks based on archival images that have been created by students from the TDSB especially for the Pan-Am Games.

Denegri Bessai Studio 

This modest two-storey commercial and residential brick building situated on Bathurst Street, south of Dupont, will take visitors through the studio’s office space. View live prototyping and 3D printing demonstrations in addition to engaging in discussions with office staff.

First Church of Christ, Scientist – Toronto 

 This neo-classic building was commissioned to accommodate the growing Toronto congregation and has served its members since its completion in 1916. The interior spatial style mimics ancient Greece. The auditorium is arranged to seat just under 1,000 people in traditional pews and also holds an outstanding organ.

High Level Pumping Station 

High Level is located at the site of the long-buried Castle Frank Brook. This stream is the original source of raw water for the former Yorkville Waterworks. While Torontonians now rely on Lake Ontario for their tap water, the station’s core function of pumping water to higher elevations in Toronto remains unchanged for more than a century. High Level is the oldest pumping station in Toronto’s water supply system. The building has expanded over time to feature several additions that reflect different architectural styles such as Second Empire, Edwardian Classical and Style Moderne.

Spadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens

Built in 1866, the Spadina Museum was built by Toronto financier James Austin. Visitors will have the opportunity to view the remarkable restoration of this site with the support of stationed site staff that will be on-hand to offer background information on the site and answer questions.

Doors Open is presented by Great Gulf and produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the broader community.

For more information about the event visit http://bit.ly/1dZbpeI.


It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

If ever there was a city designed for aligning its collective sensibilities, building a sense of community, and articulating its likes and dislikes, Toronto would clearly be at the top of the list.

With dozens of residents associations and neighbourhood groups, Torontonians, it seems, have lots to say. Originally established in 1957, the ABC Residents’ Association, which serves those living in the Yorkville/North Midtown area between Yonge and Avenue Road, is committed to being actively involved in municipal issues. But even older is the South Rosedale Residents’ Association, which was formed in 1931.

Throw a stone in and around the Freeman neighbourhood and you’re sure to hit a good number of community/neighbourhood groups. The Seaton Village Residents’ Association was formed to improve living conditions and to promote and express the interests of residents through municipal representation.

The Christie Pits Residents’ Association began in 2006. The Palmerston Area Residents’ Association is dedicated to preserving the distinctive character of its neighbourhood. The Annex Residents’ Association is a volunteer organization with roots dating back over 80 years.

Toronto journalist David Topping keeps track of the city’s residents’ groups at http://bit.ly/1csQRdy. His list numbers 167 neighbourhood groups, while a Toronto Star story from last September cited 500 such groups as being registered with the city.

But if these groups don’t tickle you, think about starting your own. Think your neighbourhood falls victim to too much crime? Perhaps a crime prevention group is in order. Want to ensure your community’s elderly are safe and cared for? There’s an idea that could spawn a group of caring residents.

Essentially a neighbourhood group speaks up about issues of concern to those living in the community. Its goals should be realistic and achievable, no pie-in-the sky notions as that may tend to discourage pragmatists and can take too long to accomplish.

Neighbourhood groups can be about:

  • crime prevention and community safety ideas
  • neighbourhood clean-ups or other improvement projects
  • parks and playgrounds
  • social and recreational activities and special events
  • traffic
  • volunteer activities
  • zoning and development issues

A neighbourhood association should have some structure to ensure that things get done. A more formal group could include a board of directors with members who are elected at an annual general meeting. Typically, board meetings take place monthly and a board follows written bylaws to guide its operations.

Whether you adopt a formal or informal group, here are a few tips and suggestions to help you along the way:

  • Consider inviting a community police officer to your first meeting if your group is being established to address a specific problem.
  • Try to include all age groups within your community. Each has its set of particular strengths.
  • Establish clear and simple communication channels, invite feedback and encourage attendance and participation at meetings.
  • Remember that not everyone is comfortable speaking out or talking in public. Offer other ways to get feedback such as suggestion boxes, confidential voicemail line, email address, social media platforms or one-on-one conversations.
  • Make sure that everyone feels involved and that the whole community is represented, not just the opinions of those who sit on the board.



An Unofficial Guide to the City’s Best Dog Parks

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015


With spring fast upon us dog owners will be more inclined to brave the elements offered by our great outdoors. Besides, what’s a little rain and wind when compared to the snow, ice and freezing cold temperatures we’ve just endured?

There is nothing more exhilarating than watching your canine tear up the earth as he bounds through the air. And there’s no better way to let hounds fly than by setting them free. The city appreciates this, too, and allows for space in certain parks where dogs can roam off leash. Be warned, however, that dogs in city parks must be licensed and wearing a tag.

If you’re a little rusty in the dog-walking department or you’re new to the city, here’s our unofficial guide to some of the area’s best parks for strolling off-leash with your pooch.

Bickford Park

Located south of Bloor and Christie Pits is this 2.8-hectare green space in the heart of Little Italy. In addition to its off-leash area, the park also features two ball diamonds and two bocce courts.

Cedarvale Park

At 1611 Bathurst Street is a huge urban green space that cuts a diagonal swath through the Cedarvale neighbourhood which is located west of Bathurst Street between St. Clair Avenue and Eglinton Avenue. The park features an enclosed off-leash area for dogs in addition to tennis courts, a skating rink and an innovative environmental education program.

Clarence Square Park

Is a small, shady park located at Spadina and Wellington that offer dogs and their masters a decent size area to run or stroll leash free.

High Park

As the city’s crown jewel of green spaces, High Park is not only Toronto’s biggest park but one of its most scenic. Its off-leash section is known as Dog Hill and it boasts lots of seating, washrooms and pet drinking fountains. While there check out the High Park Zoo, Grenadier Café and some of the park’s historical landmarks. Don’t forget to enjoy the views.


The PawsWay at 245 Queens Quay West is Canada’s first pets-allowed indoor eatery. Dogs can dine and then meander about indoors and unencumbered in their very own 3,700 square feet of space. Now that’s doggy heaven.

Sir Winston Churchill Park

Sir Winston Churchill Park is an enormous park north of the Annex, where the off-leash area is part of a nice nature walk between the north and south ends.

Soaureren Avenue Park

Soaureren Avenue Park in Toronto’s Roncesvalles neighbourhood is situated on a former bus garage that was slated to become a storage facility for city vehicles. Thanks to vocal residents, who objected to the plan, the park is home to an off-leash area for dogs as well as a farmer’s market and a field house for community gatherings.

Trinity Bellwoods Park

trinity     Trinity Bellwoods Park’s off-leash area, which is known as         the Dog Bowl, is secluded in a ravine in the middle of the park. The bowl offers a sort of separation from the rest of this large urban    park and good sight lines to keep an eye on your pets.


Vermont Square Park

Vermont Square Park at 819 Palmerston Ave. offers Annex dog owners a little piece of unfenced grass tucked away from busy street traffic.

Wychwood Barns Park

Wychwood Barns Park provides a safe fenced area to protect pups from busy traffic. The small, off-leash area offers picnic tables and a drinking fountain. Bring your dogs on weekends and enjoy the farmer’s market.


The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Toronto Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.