Cool Pool!


5 minute read

July 21, 2010

Here comes some hypocrisy!

I’ve never been an advocate of superior amenities in a condominium, and I always maintain that I would never use the gym, billiard room, golf net, bowling alley, or swimming pool.

But my last couple trips to 33 Mill Street and the new 33 Charles Street have led me to believe otherwise…


Remember when I wrote that blog post about “Elevator Etiquette?”

It’s one of my favorite posts, if I do say so myself.  I outlined the unique human behaviour that takes place in elevators, particularly, how nobody wants to intetract.  If you’re interested, you can read it here.

It was a hyperbole of what we all really think and feel, but buried beneath the extreme sarcasm was my honest feeling on the subject of interacting with neighbours, which is to say that for the most part, I don’t really want to have anything to do with them.

A few of my friends live in my building, and I’ve sold to a dozen-or-so clients.

But I’m going to be honest and say that after a long day of work, I don’t want to make small talk with the guy who gets on the elevator on P2.  And when I’m coming and going on a Friday afternoon or a Sunday night, I really don’t want to get to know the lady with the dog, the guy with the cat, or the couple with the iguana.

Now if we had a better forum to interact, perhaps my feelings would be different.

Enter: new-age condominium pools.

As the article clearly pointed out yesterday, older condominiums have pools that are buried in the basement of the building or indoors on the amenities floor encased with steamy, slimy glass and frequented by the same ten or twelve residents.

But outdoor pools like the one at 33 Mill Street are being flooded with people and on a hot Toronto weekend like the ones we’ve been having lately, you can barely find a spot to hunker down for an afternoon.

This is certainly a much better way to get to know your neighbours than small talk in the elevator or the lame Summer BBQ that is put on by the “social committee” in your building.

Maybe there are times when I want to meet people in my building, but I’m often not afforded the chance.

Between my parking space, the elevator, and the second floor, I rarely have the time or instance to make friends!

And when I come through the lobby and walk down the hallway to the elevator, the guy or girl standing and waiting usually stares at the floor or just gives the sheepish smile.

I’m not suggesting that we turn every condo in the city into a thumping nightclub with an orgy of half-naked men and women, but as a 29-year-old (turning 30….) guy in this city, I think the idea of fifty people sitting poolside on a Saturday afternoon could be quite appealing.

I’ve never been a big fan of paying for condominium amenities.

I workout at GoodLife, and I hit golf balls at the range or the course.  I watch movies in the theatre or in my condo, and I haven’t bowled in five years.  So I wouldn’t use the gym, the virtual golf, the screening theatre, or the one-lane bowling-alley that many newer condominiums offer for higher maintenance fees.

But a rooftop pool in the summer?  I definitely see the value in that.

Last week, I was showing condos to a young buyer named Matthew who is 23-years-old and relocating to Toronto for his graduate studies.  His father, Tom, came along for the ride, and we were very interested in a unit at the new Casa Condominium at 33 Charles Street.

This particular unit was a 1-bedroom of about 575 square feet, facing west.

But I should point out that while the west view is nothing spectacular, the south view is fantastic.  What I mean is that from this 7th floor condo, you’re three floors over the large outdoor pool on the 4th floor.

Viewing this condo at 6:30PM on a Thursday night meant watching “the beautiful people.”

The three of us leaned over the balcony, and while I think Matthew and I were looking at the same thing, I’m not so sure about his father.

Matt’s dad began talking, and all I heard was this: “So I was downstairs earlier………bla……..bla……something…….condo…..(indiscernible)…….blaven…….something,” and I felt the need to immediately cut him off and say, “I’m so sorry, Tom, I wasn’t listening to a single thing you were saying!  Ahem….”

I then motioned below, to where four young women were having an impromptu splashing party in the pool and were waving at Matthew….or me…….or Tom, for all I know…

Matthew smiled at his dad and said, “Whaddya think, Pop?”  They definitely liked the building’s style…

My cynical side is tingling right now, as I have to mention the Versace Crew that was sitting in the hot tub.  Picture three really greasy dudes, with those stupid labour-intensive side-burns that come to a point, and three overly-tanned, carrot-coloured girls, all with designer sunglasses and gold jewelry, sitting in the hot tub with their faces pointed skyward to better catch those wicked rays.

To be perfectly blunt, the girls splashing in the pool looked fun and down to earth.  The guys and gals in the hot tub looked like complete snobs; the kind that Toronto is full of in 2010.  Of course, I’m judging based on nothing other than my own perception, after about twenty seconds, but I’m never wrong about anything

My point is that with the good comes the bad, and these chic, urban pools are going to attract different types of people.  The article about Pure Spirit Condominium yesterday made it seem like the rooftop pool was “where all the cool people go.”  It specifically said, “It’s the place to be seen.”

So perhaps within these urban residential meeting-places we’re creating yet another Cheval or Dolce?

I hope not.

In December of 2005, I went to Japan to train karate for five weeks.  I spent over a month relaxing; cleansing my mind, body, and soul, and immersing myself in a culture so different from anything I had ever known.  From there, I immediately took a flight to Bangkok, Thailand, and within two days I found myself at a full moon party on a beach in Ko Pha-ngan, and I had undone everything that I had accomplished in Japan.

Ko Pha-ngan was “the place to be” at the time, and even though I was thousands of miles away from home, I ran into people that I knew from university!

I hated every single minute of it.

Could this happen on the deck of your condominium’s rooftop pool one day?

The article about Pure Spirit said, “People bring their friends to the pool on weekends. There’s a real party vibe. You don’t need to leave the building to have a social life.”  It then goes on to say, “Essentially, you need never have to leave the building. It’s a complete lifestyle program.”

Is that what we all want?

Do we want to bring the upper-crust party-vibe right into our living rooms?

After a day in Ko Pha-ngan, I’d had enough.  The entire island was shaking with techno music as 160 different nations were represented by kids doing ecstasy and juggling fire, and part of me wanted to go back to my hut and read a book.

But once I was there, I was there for the duration.

And part of me thinks that the rooftop pools at 550 Wellington Street and eventually at The Thompson Residences are going to be nothing but a live-action plethora of the same bottle-service, D&G junkies that have taken over downtown Toronto on Friday & Saturday nights.

I realize the irony here – nobody is forcing us to hangout by the pool with Stephano in his $475 Calvin Klein swimsuit.

But I’m not convinced that these new rooftop pools are going to be the place to take your two kids for a quick splash-around on Sunday afternoon, unless little Billy and Susie happen to like Ke$ha dance remixes and Bombay & tonic…

So part of me likes the new-age condo pools, and part of me doesn’t.

I definitely see the value as far as your investment goes, and I was the first to admit that after three years in my building, I can’t really say I’ve interacted with a whole lot of residents.  Clearly a rooftop pool would afford all of us that opportunity!

But my skepticism remains in tact, as I think that anything in Toronto that is “new and trendy” eventually gets ruined by market saturation.

Oh and P.S. – Speedos are coming back into style!


Gotta love J.T.

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. Geoff

    at 10:11 am

    Wait, a 23 year old grad student is out buying a condo? WTF? They make no money and have huge bills. At some point they will graduate and hopefully make some bucks if they’re chemical engineers or the like but otherwise, WTF?

    To quote Bart: Ooh look at me, I’m a grad student (holds ponytail he cut off guy infront of him to back of his head). I made $600 last year!

    Marge: Bart, stop that it’s not his fault he’s poor. He’s just made terrible, terrible life choices.

  2. Gerrit

    at 11:13 am

    Rooftop pools seem pretty cool, but once you consider the increase in condo fee you’re pretty much giving up a better unit. Would you rather buy the 500 square foot unit with higher condo fees or the 700 square foot unit with a higher sale price, both equally approximately the same monthly cost?

    I love the idea of these amenities until I’d actually have to pay for them. Not to mention, you’re relying on your condo board to make sure this pool is always in good shape and remains popular. If in 2 years nobody wants to hang out on a rooftop pool, you’ll still have to pay the same (if not more) condo fees for it.

    And what if you need to sell your place in the winter? Suddenly it’s going to be more difficult to convince a buyer that the extra expense is worth it for this pool, that they can’t even use 8 months of the year.

  3. DP

    at 11:17 am

    While I have not been because David and I both have a cynical side, I have heard quite the stories of Verve’s roof top pool. Take your worst expectations of what The Thompson will be and make it gay.

    The odd part is apparently everyone is so busy on Grindr there is very little picking up going on. If you do not know what Grindr is you can google it, or better yet ask one of your gay friends that have an iPhone. They may deny it but everyone has the app.

  4. JG

    at 1:36 pm

    @ DP

    lol – Grindr!!
    in an episode of Top Gear BBC – Clarkson had downloaded that app and walked around the audience waiting for it to go off!
    Too funny!

  5. Inez

    at 2:17 pm

    David If you look like Justin Timberlake, I will swim with you in any pool, any day! 🙂

  6. buk

    at 2:38 pm


    I think the maintenance costs are way overblown. These are not boutique buildings, they are 500+ units. I can’t see the monthly maintenance costs to be much greater than $10/unit. And i’d gladly pay $10 a month to have an outdoor pool. Long term might be a different story, but these are brand new condos.

  7. David Fleming

    at 4:08 pm

    @ Inez

    I look basically just like Justin except I have more back hair, and I believe his calves are an inch thicker…

    Please fill out the standard “Girlfriend Application” and fax it to my office at 416-322-8800. My team will work on it.

  8. DR

    at 2:21 pm

    It may not have been a good idea to position the pool at Casa right beside the building, I have a feeling people smoking on their balconies will use it as their personal ashtray

  9. Lauren

    at 11:07 pm

    Really? You don’t want to know the guy with the iguana? I bet he’s got a skeleton or two. (P.S. Long may Stephano + speedo stay in his greasy pool, we don’t want him on Vancouver’s beaches).

    @JG – I love that episode

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