Archive for July, 2008

things you need to know when buying an older house in the junction

Possible Reno Nightmare

Thinking of buying an older house in the Junction?  Ok, well the vast majority of the houses are just old, with only a few new townhouses around …new being the past 20 years ;-).  Buying the house comes with one item you cannot avoid – prior renos.  Think ‘onion’, except it’s very hard to peel, and you may find that someone else has already been inside and replaced a layer with whatever loose cinder blocks, brick and pieces of wood they may have had lying around.

So, before you snatch up that old Victorian steal, stop;  and ask neighbours, the agent, the seller, and yourself some of these important questions:

How many owners has the house had? (ie. how many layers are there?)

What’s that white, paper insulation around the pipes? (asbestos)

Why is that piece of plywood nailed to the basement wall? (hiding a hole?)

Were the past owners nice? (tells volumes about what you may find)

Should that sparking wire be sticking out of the floor?

Many people try to do renos themselves, and the older the house the more people that have probably done something wrong.  Always get a house inspection- if even only to have someone to curse when you find the toilet doesn’t flush.  And, always go in with your eyes open and make sure you love the house enough to put up with some lengthy retro-repairs.  Oh, and try to think of what the house was and what it should be when making any changes.  Finally, remember that one of the main selling points of any house in the Junction is that it’s in the Junction.

Posted by Louis

Arts Junction Blog series on arts in the Junction

Art of the Junction is a series of posts on creative happenings in the junction currently being posted by the  Arts Junction Blog. Their method of a series of interrupted posts really provides a continuum, where everyone can truly get a feel of the ebb and flow of the arts energy in the community.

Freed's quiet condo demo

Freed Development’s Six50 (650) King West – 214 Unit Residential Condominium project has begun demolition –    quietly it seems, questioned a office worker- a  project manager – type located in the building 1 or 2 doors down, was not aware of the  demo that was creating the huge pipe of debris outside the back of the building where he worked.  Visible from Spadina Ave just north of King St currently the demo provides a bit momentary visual excitement.  Sitting in wait is a larger piece of equipment surely bought in to completely make people working in the buildings around the development aware that they have begun, and reinforce to those who have purchased condos in the new building that their new home has had it’s curtain raising.

Past Freed Development posts

Freed Developments sovereign rights declared

hemmed in

The Gardiner Expressway is raised well above ground level but one can barely see the lake from this spot just west of High Park where a new Lakeshore Rd. West condo is going up in the air space between two others. This new condo addition will create a wall of condos, barring any views  – air flow? to the areas just west of High Park. Further socially the wall of condos with their private property rights will block the the free flow of all people to the greatly expanded waterfront park system. Robert Moses would have been proud of the city planner who ok’d this.

Interesting house of the day 4 -189 Franklin Ave

This house even without all of the selling agents buildup is a home, at least it’s looks  like it is from the outside. The home offers a veranda with flower boxes and chairs to sit on. The veranda is roofed which is great for standing on in rainstorms and feeling the mist, and bringing in the kids and food without getting soaked as you search for the key. The second floor has a small but usable bay window.  Looking at the picture you can just see the current owners made the house a home, which probably indicates it was maintained well and retros were done with care.

from the listing… link to listing

Basic Details

  • 3+1 bedroom(s)  1 kitchen(s)   Approx. lot size is 18.00 x 106.00 Feet
  • Estimated annual taxes is $2609.70
  • Additional Details

  • Central Air Conditioning  2-Storey style living  Detached style living  Brick Exterior
  • Detached garage with 2 parking space(s)  2 parking spaces total
  • Sewers system <– (don’t know what this is anyone know?)

Why does a Pickering publisher think they are needed here?

Today a paper arrived, it’s new?  What is it for?  Why do the publishers of this paper think the Junction community needs a paper from an American company with a branch publishing arm in Canada?  Simply this is a commercial enterprise seeking to profit from the held belief the Junction is demographically an upcoming community. A little research has shown this company likes real estate ads to feed on.  If this effort was a commercial company formed by a group of West Toronto citizens intent on publishing a real community paper, people who walk the streets each day and catch the thoughts in the air – great. Is this paper really necessary or is it simply a problem?

Troubling as the the idea of this drop in paper is, further most if not all the editorial content seems to be off the shelf, with no local authors.

This papers appearance may remind some people of the Port Hope newspaper The Crier a protest newspaper 1st published in 1999 by some Port hope citizens troubled with Conrad Black’s ownership of the local newspaper, the Evening Guide. Author Farley Mowat was one of the backers of this great paper that lasted but 15 months –  it ended later after Black put all of his papers up for sale.

Maybe the community protest here should be to the advertisers who support this effort? As long as they buy ads these guys will stick around- no ads and they are gone.

Comments are important for this post… please

The publishers web site click here

Vine Parkette is Flush with cash- Will they spend it without your input?

In August of 2006 the community had a meeting in Vine Ave Parkette with the local councilor and the park manager –  the outcome was… the money wasn’t there to replace the equipment, and this sort of thing took a long time. Well someone in the parks department has does a great job and by using development charges levied on developers has put together $40000.00 which is just short of $7000.00 of the $47000.00  the parks manager stated would be the ballpark price to replace the playground equipment.

A long time has passed…the community has been quietly and trustfully waiting…

Well isn’t it time we all contacted the parks department and asked them to accept the communities input?

Parks general email:     Telephone:416-392-1111

Note: Thanks to the reader who drew attention to the current and  immediate need to get the message regarding this issue out… thanks.    Here is a PDF File about the issue at the City site, from which the above images came.

Kipling Ave Toronto, Glass Container Plant closing

Glass vessels entering a Lehr

Picture Credit – junctioneer

Owens-Illinois, Inc is closing it’s Kipling Ave Plant in West Toronto totally on Sept 30 ’08. This is a huge loss of manufacturing jobs in West Toronto.  Yet it is even more of a complete loss of a type of manufacturing that will NOT return to West Toronto – with all it’s mid and highly skilled jobs. Glass container manufacturing is an expensive business to set up a plant for production, and a costly price sensitive business to run. Once this glass plant is dismantled it will not likely ever be rebuilt especially in West Toronto. This plant which used to be the Consumers Glass plant before Owens-Illinois, Inc purchased it, is one of the last plants in West Toronto that required a highly trained and carefully skilled large workforce. The tumble down effect on suppliers such as automation and mechanical services companies will be great, as this manufacturing type requires a lot of maintenance.

This is an old plant and the company must have had a difficult time maintaining it, although it would be much better for West Toronto to retain this plant, the company will still operate a new facility in Brampton.

Now that land is gone, there will be probably be one or two years of decommissioning and land use studies.  Following that, will be a probable sale, perhaps for condos, light industrial, or townhouse tract housing.

Posted by Robert

Mimico Waterfront: Phase 1 opens – press scrum coverage

Its a perfect day in the neighbourhood!

A variety of Mimico residents, politicians and local activists are celebrating the opening of Phase 1 of Mimico’s new waterfront park until 5pm today. Several acres of park (recent landfill) and boardwalk are now officially open after two years of construction.

Although no money is yet earmarked for Phase 2 of the waterfront project, apparently the primary obstacle is not, money to do the construction but rather, two property owners who are unwilling to sell or otherwise allow the city to connect the paths and park land that Phase 2 requires.  Hopefully these owners will seek to ingratiate themselves with Torontonians rather than force them to raise some exorbitant fee to expropriate these lands.

Posted By David

Development Watch – old Keele Street Canadian Tire Store

The junction devoid of condo producta sure hit for all – thoughts on junction condo development

Deconstruction of the old Keele Street Canadian Tire Store is slowly moving along, rather slowly actually, with many days of seemingly nothing happening, hopefully they will keep to their build schedule as this affordable condo project will greatly change the character – for the better of the Keele St. and Dundas St. corner for the better.

In terms of anticipated success though, it surely is a win situation, even for a for-profit builder to have taken on.  The current project is being developed by a not-for-profit developer (Options for Homes).  The location of the former Canadian Tire Store and further back in time an A&P grocery store is selectivity brilliant, not only for its junction address, but for the views afforded by it’s location south to High Park and East to the core of the city. Also the site is a sloped, a wonderful design feature in terms of walking to, out and around the building. Hopefully they make great use of this feature with their landscaping.  Another reason the project is welcomed to the neighborhood is because it replaces an empty building of no real importance to the history of the community, a building which sat vacant for years. The building’s units in terms of size are favorable with other condo projects of the same size and are reasonably affordable at a time when gigantic and expensive condos are in unprecedented demand in many parts of the west of Toronto.

So why not build even more aggressively, in Toronto’s hot condo market, where there are teenage and budding condo developers peeking around most corners, huddled in corner Starbucks uttering phrases such as –  we could do that a lot better, just look at that, they should have…, maybe the not for profit should try a different model, one of self contracting the construction of the building, A well executed and thought out process to do a self managed construction process  would lower the prices of the condos in their development.  Self contracting worked for O&Y and  Tridel developments at their beginnings. Using a builder adds cost, of course the builder for The Village by High Park – Deltera is a good builder – a for profit builder, who then subcontracts out most of the work to other contractors. Part of the Tridel Group of Companies, Deltera is a prime residential builder with cutting edge building technology and a history of building innovations which any developer – especially a not for profit should fully mine, to archive the best possible building for their value conscious customers. Rather than simply hire Deltera for it’s concrete and plumbing etc management skills hire them to push the limits – carefully – for affordable housing, wouldn’t Deltera – deep down  be happier along with the future residents.

Posted by Robert