Toronto’s waterfront is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Formally, the neighbourhood falls south of Front Street and is bound by Bathurst Street in the west and the Don River in the east.
For years, Torontonians have been aching for a lakeside space to reflect our city’s dynamism and uniqueness. Something like Baltimore’s Inner Harbor or Battery Park in Manhattan. Well, it’s coming. Finally. In the next decade our waterfront will be unrecognizable. It’ll be a world leader.
But before we talk about the neighbourhood’s future, let’s take a look into its past. The Waterfront has undergone plenty of changes over the years. Once upon a time, Front Street actually fronted onto Lake Ontario. In 1920, the Harbour Commission sought to extend the city, and thus began a huge landfill project that pushed our shoreline half a kilometer south, making way for Lakeshore Boulevard, among other things.
Recently, Google announced it will be developing its “City of the Future” on Toronto’s Quayside site, a project that promises to change our city. But there’s plenty more in store: the development of a promising new public space in the Bentway, a new Loblaws warehouse at Bathurst and Lakeshore, the redevelopment of the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, and a new “city of the arts” at the former site of Guvernment and Kool Haus—and that’s only scratching the surface!
The Waterfront promises to be a popular neighbourhood for years to come. With $30 Billion dollars of private and public investment into the hood and, all told, an estimated influx of 40,000 new residents, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.
That said, the Waterfront already has plenty of cred. It’s been a condo development hotbed for some time. According to Toronto Life, 83% of the hood is condos, the highest of anywhere in the city. The same publication ranks it the 28th best community in the city to live in (out of 140).
Convenience is one of the pros of living in the Waterfront. After all, it’s just south of the downtown core, which means you’re steps away from—well, from everything.
And its demographic numbers are nothing to scoff at, either. The neighbourhood is flush with opportunity, boasting an average of two jobs per person who lives there. Its residents benefit from higher average total household incomes too, earning just less than $100,000 per year.
If you’re looking to lease a unit, this is a community that supports higher rents. According to Condos.ca at the time of writing, average rents in the Waterfront are $3,233 per month… As it so happens, I’m currently investing in a development in the Waterfront—Lakeside Residences. If you’re interested, have a look.
What bad? But seriously, if condo city gives you the blues, the Waterfront might not be a good fit for you. It’s an extremely dense community leading the way in vertical expansion. That said, it’s also quite a bit different than other dense hoods, like the Bay Street Corridor, for example. For one, the Waterfront offers an innovative approach to city planning. It’s also a hot spot for development right now…
Another thing: The Waterfront is young. Like, really young. Around 70% of its residents fall within “working age”, that is, aged 25-54 years old, and the greater share of them are under 35. And 36% of the hood is single. This is all to say: expect higher rent turnovers.
I’m extremely excited about the Waterfront neighbourhood. I think it offers a fantastic investment opportunity, but more than that, I think it offers us a chance to reinvent Toronto. To establish a legacy for the city. And this is where it’s going to happen.
The numbers are encouraging, too. Per square foot, the hood has seen steady price gains since 2004. Since January, the hood’s appreciated by $101 per square foot and that number only promises to climb. Right now, condos are at $909 per square foot.