Talkin’ Bout CityPlace!


< 1 minute read

September 22, 2010

Some people think that I’m full of “tough love” for our poor friend, CityPlace, and I might agree.

But after seeing this video, I wonder how anybody could think that my tough love (read: hatred) of the area is unwarranted.

You’ll have to excuse the hyper-hypo tone in which the video was filmed.  I set the world record for coffee-drinking that day…

Geez, I don’t know what else to say!

I watched that video three times and I think I’ve said it all.

I can’t possibly add anything more of value.

So instead, here is the Mike Myers Saturday Nigh Live sketch where he plays “Phillip,” the hyper-hypo.

If you haven’t seen this, you haven’t lived.  Click on the photo below for the video, and don’t blame me when your boss asks you why you’re watching movies about CityPlace and hyper-hypo‘s when you should be working…


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. West Sider

    at 8:16 am

    At this point — 8-10 years into the CityPlace experiment — it is clear that this glut of condos is essentially represents the City of Toronto’s plan for providing new stock of rental units.

    No one would buy in CityPlace with the intention of actually living there… unless they like the idea of paying $300,000 to live in the equivalent of a universty residence.

    Even as an investment, CityPlace makes less and less sense with every building that shoots up… the laws of supply and demand *ensure* that any unit will be very difficult to sell or rent, and there will be significant price pressure because you are competing with hundreds of other identical units (both when trying to rent and trying to sell).

  2. Matt

    at 9:21 am

    I can’t stand these building either…… I know a lot of agents who don’t even want to deal with them.

    I have nothing against buildings and more buildings in the city…infact I love it if it is esthetically pleasing….it makes DT look like what a DT should look like…

    but these condos are so poorly made… and constructed ( there have been horror leak stories!!).. you have like 30 neighbours to a floor, mostly rentals that dont care for their home or environment…

    I have heard from friends who have said vomit is always outside, in the lobby or in the elevator with tons of beer bottles everywhere..and you can hear all your neighbours… no thanks…

    but again if you had the choice with renting an old triplex with wonky floors and heat that comes and goes..maybe it ain’t so bad… but to own? fogetaboutit!!

    I have a mantra each time i drive into the city on the Gardner when I see these buildings…who and why would anyone live here?????

  3. Havoc

    at 9:28 pm

    A lot of the stuff mentioned on this blog about Cityplace is true; there are a lot of renters, car traffic in the area can be obscene at times, the workmanship in most of the condos is subpar (but I’m sure it’s better than West-Side lofts), some condos are too close to the highway or facing nothing but more condos, elevator wait times are ridiculous at times, it is likely that 40-60 other owners in your building share your same layout, some of the floor plans in the newer Cityplace condos are retarded and the list goes on.

    BUT – Although the things mentioned above are enough to scare most people away – Cityplace does have some positives…
    It’s located within walking distance to the streetcar, the financial district, the entertainment district, front street, king street, queen street, the underground PATH, a ton of restaurants, the harbour front, the Rogers center, the air Canada center, grocery shopping can be done at the 24 hours Sobeys on Bremner and the Gardiner expressway is close (a little too close for some owners), some condos have spectacular views of the lake and city and it’s affordable.

    There aren’t many places within close proximity to such amenities where you can get a 500+ square foot 1 bedroom condo (not a bachelor) with a balcony for under $280,000 in Toronto.

    Bottom line, It’s not the end of the world, as most of your Cityplace blogs imply Dave, if you buy into Cityplace so long as you stay away from certain buildings, certain floor plans and certain views (i.e. Gardiner).

    I don’t live or own in Cityplace, nor do I work for any of the brokerages that concentrate their marketing efforts at Cityplace. However, I have sold and rented many condos there and will continue to do so if living there makes sense for that individual person.

    Cityplace is no King East but it’s not a ‘ghetto’ as you make it out to be. Obviously Cityplace is not for everyone and if you’re a buyer looking for an investment property or you’re a mature buyer (40+ years old) then you should slap your agent in the face if he asks you to meet him on Dan Leckie Way or Telegram Mews.

  4. meow

    at 1:10 am

    Mark my words, Toronto is going to hell in a hand basket.

  5. West Sider

    at 7:35 am

    @ Havoc… as an investment, King East has a lot more upside than CityPlace.

    Thanks for reminding me of another brutal CityPlace characteristic: too few elevators! Given all of the renters moving in and out, at least 1 of the elevators is pretty much guaranteed to be unavilable every weekend. And, with 40-60 floors, how anyone thought 3 elevators was enough is beyond me. I mean, small 100-200 unit buildings in the city have 3-4 elevators! Why would the number be the same for a 500-1000 unit building?

  6. Franki

    at 11:31 am

    Here come all the speculators talking again! First off, I have owned, lived and rented in several condos in the city, from yonge and bloor, bay and college, to spadina and bremner. I can tell you for a fact that from past experience flipping condos that you buy a high floor unit with a nice view (ex. lake or city) you will flip that in less than 30 days no problem. Half of the people that comment on these blogs probably never lived in city or ever bought, just alot of talk. I have a rental property at college park right now, and guess what….tons of renters in those buildings, mainly U of T students. There is alot of buildings in cityplace David your right, but you forgot to mention the other 15 condos on the other side of the gardiner, did you forget about all those?? One of my renters recently finished her term at my unit in HVE, she was a Lawyer that worked at commerce court. She loved it there, walking distance to the office, no complaints at all. 30 neighbors per floor??? whats this guy talking about. Theres 10 units per floor, half are 1 beds, the other 2-3 beds. Do you people actually know any facts? 300 Front st built by Tridel has 14 suites per floor, thats alot. Anyways we can go back and fourth with this forever, bottom line here David is with all this construction between spadina and bathurst is great. Once all the roads are connected and schools and librarys built. I think things should be good. David, your a realtor, you should know that prices in the city are going only one way… up. Sure lots of supply, but dont forget 50-75,000 people moving in anually. Still I do enjoy your blog, even if its a little one sided.

  7. Havoc

    at 11:55 am

    Agreed – Today, King East is a much greater investment than Cityplace.

    Cityplace WAS a great investment.

    Those that bought in the early pre-construction phase of Harborview Estates, West One & the N1 and sold within the last 2 years laughed all the way to the bank as they easily cashed in six figure profits (even after dumping $10-$15K to renovate the place after the wear and tear that comes with renting a condo for a couple years or so).

    That time has come and passed and I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of anyone who bought in Dan Leckie, the Panorama or any of the other buildings currently under construction, especially the larger and harder to sell units.

    Most of the overseas investors are going to get a reality check when their condos close and they ask their Thornhill agents to flip for a $100K profit.

    The Cityplace hype has died down, buyers are becoming more sophisticated and more interested in the sorts of areas that Dave proves to be an advocate of on this blog.

    And exactly as you said WS, I hate waiting in lines, and having to wait for an elevator in a 50 storey building with 400 residences when one of the elevators is on service and another one is undergoing maintenance, leaving only 2 operable elevators during rush hour is a nightmare. Easily a 30 minute wait, No Joke.

  8. David Fleming

    at 11:59 am

    @ Franki

    All opinions are one-sided, aren’t they? That’s what makes them opinions.

    I vowed never to sit on the fence and never to pull my punches.

    That is what I do on this blog, and I will always have my supporters and my detractors.

    The day that I DON’T have both supporters and detractors is the day that I’m doing something wrong…

  9. Cliff

    at 4:20 pm

    @ Franki….

    IMO, the buildings East of Spadina are much better in quality and residents than the buildings West of Spadina. You can easily tell that they cut a lot of corners and downgraded the finishes in those buildings (Neo, Montage).

    College Park does have a lot of renters, but the building is a much better quality building than say Neo or Montage. The quality is not even close IMO.

    Many buildings downtown are renter heavy…but a lot of the landlords at least live on this continent. Cityplace markets to investors in other countries…investors who really couldn’t care less about who lives in the unit. There’s no screening process. Cityplace has to be the only development I know where they actually have an “investor” package.

    Another problem with the area is there’s no sense of conmmunity. This is what happens when you let 1 builder (who had never built anything in Toronto) handle everything and masterplan a community. They are only working in their best interest. The city dropped the ball here…I could see these buildings (not just at cityplace, but a lot of the cheaply made buildings around the city) toppling over 30-40 years from now.

    Citplace = St Jamestown in about 20 years. St Jamestown wasn’t always a dump. It used to be a much nicer area.

  10. Franki

    at 5:50 pm

    @cliff, your right about the buildings east of spadina. They are the better ones, the reason is that the newer buildings are still heavily rented from the original investors. It usually takes about 3-5 years for the original owner to sell. Once all the investors are out of the picture then you will see more owners buying. As for the comment about st.James and cityplace. Who knows what will happen in 20 years, that could happen, but unlikely. The location is to central, also with the cost of real estate going up. The tchc stuff will never effect rentals or resale, it’s been proven in many areas already. Its impossible to replicate a market from 30 years ago. From the start, the st.James buildings were mostly rental apartments anyways. Also, for the records tchc units cannot be listed on mls as rentals, the way it works is the people who need rental units are put on a waiting list. That’s if you meet the criteria of tchc, you can’t just walk in and talk to a landlord or agent. The best thing to do is just wait to see the final product. At least 5 years to start making assumptions.

  11. LC

    at 5:59 pm

    @Cliff – Actually, they’re not the only developer that has “investor” packages for overseas buyers. A few of the big ones have been doing it for years – they just don’t talk about it.

  12. Sam

    at 9:05 pm

    CityPlace is really not that bad if you have the right unit.

    Being from Vancouver, BC (you guys think your house prices are insane), I had the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks this summer in the LUNA building built by Concord Pacific. My friend bought the unit in a presale and the condo had just completed not too long ago.

    You can’t ask for anything more as you are in the heart of downtown Toronto. Walking distance to subway, sports venues, restaurants etc. Sobey’s at your doorstep, located just the condo beside the one i was living in.

    The main reason why it was a good experience was I was living in a pretty decent unit with unobstructed views of the City facing north. There were NO buildings directly in front of me. But that’s because just north of my view were the train tracks. But the noise weren’t even an issue when it came to sleeping at night or getting up early in the morning. It was a 2 bedroom with a good layout. Only thing that I didn’t get was why are bedrooms considered bedrooms if there are no windows? You could not get away with that in Vancouver. It is just called a ‘den’ One of the bedrooms had 2 sliding partitions that came together in a 90 degree angle.

    But to be honest I can see why some people hate the area. I would hate to be facing any other way direction than north for the building I was in. If you faced east or west you would be looking into someone’s bedroom. If you faced south, you have the hot sun and having to deal with the noise on the freeway. Funny thing was I found out from Concord that the south facing units carried a premium. …cause of the lake?

    After reading the blog, I was prepared for the worse, but to my amazement it wasn’t as bad as what Dave & others have been saying.

    Overall good experience in the area despite what people have been saying. Guess I lucked out with my friend buying the ‘right’ unit.

    But if I had to move to Toronto and I worked in downtown Toronto, I would have no problems living in Cityplace. And that’s my 2 cents.

  13. Matt

    at 10:20 am

    I need to retract my 30 to a floor statement …but everything else is true…
    oh i failed to mention it can take 30 minutes to drive out of the garage sometimes too. and parking is an issue down there…. i need space between my car to get out …

    If you have lived in this area and it’s your cup of tea, go for it! I’d like to think my money as an investment would work better in other places. if i had to lay down 300-400 grand i’d like it to be somewhere I would live.

  14. Cliff

    at 3:50 pm


    Well, that’s what I mean. I know there are other builders who market to overseas investors, but at Cityplace, you walk into the sales centre…to the left is the investor package…to the right is the standard package. I haven’t seen this in any other sales centere

  15. Cow

    at 9:53 pm

    A bit late to the party on this one, but I just found your blog.

    I’m a recent transplant from Vancouver, BC, and lived in a Concord building there. What a shoddy, sad building that was. I was living in one of the new construction buildings in the old Expo 86 grounds–basically, a whole mess of condo buildings next to each other, with more land to build. Sound familiar?

    From what I’ve read so far, you and I seem to have similar taste in what’s livable. I’ll definitely give you a call when I’m ready to buy in Toronto (taking a year as a renter to get used to the city and figure out where I want to buy, first…)

  16. Toronto

    at 10:27 am

    terrible terrible planning for “evilplace”…for those comparing these condos to other condos in other cities its apples to oranges.Compare City Place to well planned areas (aka St Lawrence Market) City Place is hideous.You TTC at your door at wow a Sobey’s,yes you should buy a condo because of a supermarket at your door lol then this is heaven,if you want quailty,peaceful sleep,well maintained buildings and decent security then look elsewhere.People are packed in like sardines,elevators takes a loooooong time during peak hours,traffic is bad bad bad during rush hour,not everyone lives here takes the TTC.Wait until those other condos are completed and add another 5000 residence into this area,it be a sight to see all those leaving to work at the same time….

  17. Gavin

    at 11:45 am

    I live in the new Panorama building which is slightly annexed from the ‘City Place Core’. The view is fantastic day and night. Sure there is a little noise from the Gardiner but if you want peace and quiet…move somewhere that’s peaceful and quiet, don’t be a moron and complain about it, like you just noticed AFTER you moved in.

    The build quality is cement and glass…it standard. The finishing inside is up to you as an owner, you can have whatever quality you like.

    As for building proximity…a joke…look what’s happening down the road in Liberty Village and further West at Humber Bay. Most people who want or need to live downtown want or need to live downtown…you see, that’s why the buildings are in close proximity. I would have thought a realtor would have considered this.

    To address the cranes…you need cranes to build high rise buildings. When the buildings are finished the cranes move away…get it?

    I hardly ever hear my neighbours and never come across drunken louts leaving beer bottles and vomit in the communal areas. My advise, call 911 and have the police deal with it, just like you would if you lived in a country estate worth $$Milions$$.

    I am a renter. Matt made the comment “you have like 30 neighbours to a floor, mostly rentals that dont care for their home or environment…”. Enough said about Matt.

    Traffic is traffic…Toronto is a busy place. Big City, Big Traffic. London, Jakarta, KL, Bangkok…broaden you horizons people.

    I don’t buy or sell Condos to make my living. If you feel this strongly about things get involved at a higher level. Take action for planning and transport with the authorities…don’t whinge about it on a blog!!

    As for communities…they develop and mature. You can’t just buy one from Shoppers and spray it on the ground. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

    All in all, I think City Place dramatically improves the skyline. You have public transport on your doorstep, sports grounds, parks, the waterfront, bars and restaurants galore within 20 mins WALK…the list goes on.

    As for prices: It’s a real shame that investors have driven the market. They have decimated parts of the UK (my country of birth) killing communities and driving first time buyer locals away from family and friends. Realtors are the tools they use to create this devastation…you are just as guilty and greedy as the faceless corporations who’ve created this mess. Well done and carry on the good work. I’m sure when you’ve made your millions you too will move away and forget about all this……..

  18. Mila

    at 2:15 pm

    Hands down Cityplace is very cheaply built buildings with many horror stories etc. However, what you are describing in this video are not really the negative points. What’s wrong with having a few condo buildings together? It creates a “neighbourhood”. Nothing wrong with that at all. And noise – sure if you are pulled over on a road and videotaping this, it will be very noisy. But doesn’t reflect truly how the noise is in one of the units. It may not be best place to buy – I agree, but its amazing for renting. First of all location is great and most people walk to work – which is a huge deal. Its close enough , but not right in the middle of downtown. Grocery store is walking distance too. And you mention “lakeshore” in your video as if its a negative. What? Having lake nearby is more than most condos can offer. Even those super luxury ones. And one thing that you can never compare cityplace to any other condo inside downtown is the view. I don’t know if you have ever been on high units facing south/west – its really a million dollar view, that is very unique. I live on 46th floor facing south/west – I rent – and no I will not buy, because I agree how bad building quality is – I can see lake, airport, boats, train, gardiner (ofcourse) all the way up to ontario place, and even hamilton in the horizon. This is really a helicopter view that is unique and you will not get in your beloved Kind street condos.
    Anyway, like I said, I agree with the bad quality of the cityplace condos, but what you are complaining in your video about – that many building together (and what’s wrong with that?) , that its is noisy – while pulled over on a road – obviously it will be noisy, and that it is … beside lakeshore? Um… these are not the things that are wrong with cityplace…

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  20. David Flemings hater

    at 5:04 am

    Lets face it Dave, You bash CityPlace for publicity and attention.

    How many CityPlace Condos have you sold?

    1. David Fleming

      at 11:10 am

      @ David Fleming’s hater

      I’ve sold several units – for sellers.

      I would never put a buyer into CityPlace.

  21. David Flemings hater

    at 12:03 am

    If you are selling Cityplace, then you are a hypocrite. Do you write in your CP listings the same where you blog about CityPlace?

    Let’s face it, you like the attention and that free publicity! Thats all you’re trying to get with your big mouth. You’re Pathetic!

  22. David Flemings hater

    at 12:05 am

    In addition Dave, lets see you post the above without any moderation…
    The only spam around here is you!!

  23. David Flemings hater

    at 5:52 am

    If you are selling Cityplace, then you are a hypocrite. Do you write in your CP listings the same where you blog about CityPlace?

  24. David Flemings hater

    at 5:55 am

    When selling your CityPlace listings, do you write the same where you blog about CityPlace?

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