Liberty Village: North versus South


4 minute read

February 1, 2010

Liberty Village was originally intended to be more of an “east versus west” idea since the area runs between Strachan and Hanna.

However, the townhouses in and around Liberty Village take on more of a “north versus south” theme since the properties on Laidlaw Street, Joel Shuster Way, and Machells Avenue are being passed off as “Liberty Village.”

But I’m here to tell you that the latter are not true Liberty Village townhouses…


If only we all had a crystal ball…

Imagine being a real estate investor back in the year 2000 when “Liberty Village” was just an idea.

There was nothing around there at the time and it sure wasn’t a hot residential locale!  I’m not sure what the prices of townhouses were back in 2000, but I’d estimate that your typical 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom, 3-storey condo with the rooftop terrace that now sells for $469,000 were priced at $249,000 back then.

Maybe less?  I don’t even want to think about it…

The townhouses at Liberty Village can be found on East Liberty Street, Western Battery Road, and Pirandello Street in an area just west of Strachan Avenue and south of King Street.

These are what I consider “prime real estate” as far as Liberty Village is concerned.

With three existing high rise condominiums already completed in Liberty Village, two being built as we speak, and as many as five more on the way, I believe that the townhouses offer fantastic value since no more will ever be built.

But then you’ve got another complex of townhouses called “The Towns at Liberty Village” in the area north of King Street and just west of Allan Lamport Stadium.  These are NOT, in fact, true “Liberty Village” townhouses, in my opinion.

See the map below:


The red square represents true Liberty Village townhouses, whereas the blue square represents “The Towns At Liberty Village” as they are called.

I’m not knocking the townhouses on Laidlaw Street, Machells Avenue, and Joel Shuster Way, but I am saying that they shouldn’t be considered EQUAL to the townhouses on Western Battery Road and the like.  My primary reason?  Location.

Perhaps you can’t really tell from the map above, but the red square is where “the action” is.  The infrastructure in Liberty Village is Located just west of that red square where you’ll find Metro, Good Life Fitness, TD Bank, LCBO, Starbucks, Bell World, The Brazen Head, and about a dozen other commercial/retail outlets.

The townhouses in the red square are literally steps from the action.

The townhouses in the blue square, however, are not.  We’re not exactly splitting hairs here; you’ve got a three-minute walk from Western Battery Road to The Brazen Head where you can see your destination in the distance.  Then at “The Towns,” you first have to walk down the long, cold, dark Joel Shuster Way to King Street while you dodge construction debris, and then take King to Atlantic, and then Atlantic into the Village.  Let’s call it a 10-12 minute walk.

It’s not the actual time that I’m concerned with, but rather the crossing of a main street like King.

When you cross over a main street, you essentially enter a different area.  Area, zone, neighbourhood, community – whatever you want to call it.

I find that “The Towns” are just too far removed from the Village itself, and it doesn’t feel like you actually live in Liberty Village at all.

That’s the idea behind a community – it’s within a certain geographic boundary, whether the boundary is a series of landmarks or buildings, or a main street like King.

So when you consider how far “The Towns” are from Liberty Village, I expect, nay, demand a discount on the price of the properties in that location.  But you know what?  There are some buyers out there that refuse to acknowledge the difference!

To each, their own….I suppose.

But in real estate, where location is everything, how can an astute, well-informed buyer not see a nickel being passed off as a dime?

Take a look at the original master plan for “Liberty Village”:


Notice how this map only shows the area south of King Street?

Maybe….just maybe…that’s because the idea of “Liberty Village” was only ever intended to be represented by the area south of King!

I’ve been leading up to this point, and now I’m just gonna flat-out say it:

“The Towns at Liberty Village” are inferior to those on East Liberty Street, Western Battery Road, and Pirandello.

If you have Liberty Village on your mind, stick to the area south of King Street.

There are some fantastic older townhouses on Adelaide Street – New York brownstone style that are a couple decades old but on a quiet street with mature trees.  I’d much prefer these to the crowded, desolate streets of Joel Shuster Way and the like.

But let me make one more thing crystal clear: I’m not saying that I don’t like “The Towns” at all.  I’m saying that they should be cheaper than everything else.

If they came at a 10 – 15% discount relative to the townhouses actually in Liberty Village, then I would be okay with it.

But they aren’t, and as the market is starving for more listings, the price gap is drawing even.

Location is king, or at least it should be.

When buyers are no longer concerned with location, then everything I know and hold dear has been lost…

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. fidel

    at 10:05 am

    I love what they’ve done with Liberty Village but I worry how it’s going to be once the condos are built with regards to traffic and sunlight.

    The townhomes on Joe Shuster offer much more value for your money, the LV homes are nice but very small, but areas do not compare for reasons you mentioned

  2. Martin

    at 1:27 pm

    We visited both before ultimately buying on Sudbury St. In my opinion, Sudbury offers the best of both worlds. Quick access to LV amenities and better sq. ft. for your $. However, I agree with you that the townhomes North of King are not as good a product as LV.

  3. Dr. P. T. Tzurkov

    at 6:10 pm

    I was almost purchaser of investment property there -the units are nice but I conducted several informal interviews of local residents and was aghast at how many had the same complaints: 1. Access to downtown 2. Time to get to downtown 3. How inconvenient it is in the winter. Prevailing view was that they wanted to live ‘downtown’ so they could walk everyplace but felt as if they weren’t even downtown. I am driving 2009 Escalade w/ 24 inch Rims -I don’t mind driving places (you note I have very great car) but for tenants, not good.

  4. Suzanne Manvell

    at 8:02 pm

    Hello David,
    I have just come across your blog, actually late last night doing a little real estate surfing during the doldrums and malestroms of the business.

    I like your blog very much and relate to your perspective.

    I have a couple of questions.

    What do you think of the longevity of all of the new condos. They are built in the blink of a couple of eyes – ok I guess they all have longer than expected posession date time lines – but they are all built with of the moment finishes – square sinks, glass sinks etc., and with the interior design trends changing every year or so, and with the buying public having so much new to choose from, do you think they have legs? The question is from a resale point of view and also from an investor point of view looking to rent out.

    Also speaking about location, location, location, did you see what 222 Campbell in the w2 – Bloor and Symington went for on Friday. Came ont the market on Wednesday, no offer date, listed at 399k, sold on Friday same week for 525k. Things are carrrrrrrazzzzzzzzy out there!

    I would be interested to know your thoughts David.

    Thanks very much,

  5. Joe

    at 3:23 pm


    I find it amazing that you can dedicate this many words to a factual error.

    You’re the only one I’ve ever heard refer to the townhomes on Machells, Laidlaw and Joe Shuster Way as “The Towns at Liberty Village” They were marketed and sold as The King Towns (Phase 1) and The New Towns at King Towns (Phase 2). Clearly reflecting their location, near King St.

    Perhaps you have mistaken them for the new townhomes under construction on the south side of East Liberty St, part of the Liberty Towers complex?

    Might be best to stay on the east side.


  6. David Fleming

    at 9:18 pm

    @ Joe

    Hey Joe! It’s been a while since you’ve been on my blog with your regular hating…

    Yes, perhaps I mixed up the name of the project with another.

    But I’m still waiting for you to post your full name, address, email, and phone number on my blog so that you can cease to operate behind that convenient cloak of anonymity…

    Have a nice day!

  7. Krupo

    at 6:01 pm

    @Tzurkov – I wonder how much this would change in the mythical future (10, 40 years away?) if/when the Downtown Relief Line subway were to be built…

  8. Chris

    at 2:02 pm

    Hi Folks, I recently came accoss this blog. I read the above and agree that King’s Towns’ location is not as good as other townhouses in centre LV. Having puchased a condo unit on Machells for investment, I have to say that I see potential in north of King to improve in the future. Once more retails open up north/west of the railways, then the Kings Town area will improve. The benefit I do see is that it is closer to King and street car. I do believe currently the prices at Kings Town are lower then central LV though.

  9. JM

    at 1:37 pm

    To the so called “ranter” David,

    I find your rant to be full of errors, (which is to be expected) not only with vicinital nomenclature but your lack of urban geographical knowledge. It is also sincerely biased. ( try to hide your colours a little, would’ya?)
    Firstly, I am a UofT Urban Planning graduate, and work for the City of Toronto Zoning/Permits dept, so my comments should hold a little weight. (8 years)
    Secondly, I live and have lived in Downtown for the last 10 years and have personally seen the changes in this area. From a semi-industrial shunting yard, to a bustling and vibrant urban community.
    In all fairness, i believe you have neither of the above attributes…..but I digress.
    I must correct you on some points….(trust me, this is for your own good)
    1. If you actually read the history of Liberty Village….you’ll find out that there is NONE. Liberty village was recently created by a conglomerate of developers in the late 1990’s when CN rail and the provincial gov”t split up the land. This was originally Garrison Common.. a former military fort and mens Prison. In other words…its a newly created and zoned area which is constantly changing, it is not static. No part of the city is.
    2. The community north of King including Sudbury st, Laidlaw st and Machells ave. are not part of Liberty, but nobody ever said they were. Only you. And the westernmost development is acutally called “The King Towns”..not towns at Liberty Village! Get your information right! Sudbury is called simply “Sudbury Towns”.
    3. Your usage of negative terminology to paint a dreary picture of an area is simply elementary and shows that you have little or no knowledge of this city. Stick to the facts.
    4. North of King is actually considered Parkdale on the west. Ward 13-14. North of Rail system is West Queen West. All of which are a stone throw away from each other.
    5. Quite frankly, any of these areas, including Liberty are a fantastic examples of neighbourhoods in transition. And all have different characteristics that make them great places to live. Ask someone in Parkdale what they think of Liberty and you might hear them say something along the lines of ” wannabe suburban kids moving into the city thinking they part of it”

    Opinions are like ____ everyone’s got’em. But you really should hit the books before you rant and save yourself the embarrassment.


  10. Christopher

    at 9:33 am

    Hi, I know that I’m a little bit late chiming in on the conversation however I am going to put in y 2 cents regardless. Some time has passed and time has told. Lib Village, Sudbury Towns and King Towns have blossomed much more since the conception of this blog. They are all unique developments with pros and cons like any other in the city.

    The Bottom line is the blog is very clearly biased. No offense. Just seems like you purchased an apple instead of an orange and just cause the oranges are selling for just as much as the apples are your having a little bit of a hissy fit.

    Furthermore, JM I found your outlook very insightful and objective. I am somewhere in that WHOLE are and would love for you to be my personal consultant… I know, I’m dreaming lol

    at the end of the day you just have to beat the pavement and get out there and take a look at the units and make a decition for yourself. That’s exactly what I’m doing.


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