Do you have a barbed-wire tattoo around your biceps?
Put on your nylon board shorts, grab the tanning oil, and meet me on the condo rooftop!
Wait. That was soooooo fifteen years ago…
Completely unrelated story: what are all those late-40’s dudes with barbed-wire tattoos on their biceps doing now?
I’ve told this story before, but probably not in a decade…
I was at 30 Mill Street in the mid-2000’s with a prospective buyer and her parents. The showing of the condo went very well and we were touring the amenities when we thought, “Why not have a look at the open-air pool on the 6th floor?”
At the time, this was the hottest downtown condo pool. Not even close.
It was the newest, nicest, largest, and had a CN Tower view to the west, plus, the building demographic was very young, lots of renters, and the pool was a “scene” in the summer.
My client and her parents stepped out onto the pool deck, looked at the people, and you could just see the wheels turning in their heads.
The Mom was thinking: “Oh no! Half her swimsuit seems lodged up her butt! Should we call somebody?”
The Dad was thinking: “Whatcha gon’ do with all that junk. All that junk. All that junk inside your trunk??”
The young lady was thinking: “There’s enough oil on these bros to fill every McDonalds deep fryer in the country.”
And I was thinking: “How do I get an invite this par-tay next weekend?”
It was scene, man. Let me tell you.
Part of me wanted to run and hide but part of me wanted to pull up a lounge chair. I was 26-years-old at the time. But my client hated it! Her parents were aghast!
It’s not that they were conservative, religious, or total prudes. They just didn’t identify with the scores of people who spent their Saturday afternoon drinking beer, tanning, and lazing by the condo pool.
Sounds awful, right? There had to be an intimidation factor.
In any event, that was the only time in my career where I saw a condo pool that looked like it was fully in use.
I’m sure there are lots of really chic, new pools in recently-built condos that are popular and used all the time, but when you consider that many of these pools are open air – and downtown can be windy, we might only get two months per year where the weather and the elements allow for maximum enjoyment.
So let me show you a handful, smattering, or just a sprinkle of downtown condo pools, and we can opine on which we would use, and which we would not…
11 Charlotte Street – “King Charlotte Condos”
Here’s an example of where a great photo, at the right time of day or night, from the right angle, can make the pool look amazing:
But on a different day, from a different angle, it doesn’t look quite as nice:
Alright, still a fair-sized pool with what looks like 360-degree views.
Of the city? The lake?
Meh, sort of. Glimpses of both, but also of the building next door and the gym in the building:
Great pool in that first photo.
So-so pool in the second and third photos.
And this is the problem with Toronto condo pools: they’re always better in pictures!
8 Charlotte Street – “Charlie”
Here’s another example of how a well-positioned camera makes the pool look much better:
Great shot of the CN Tower, right?
But if you’re not literally standing where this photographer was, you’ll never see it.
Overall, I give this pool a passing grade.
You’re not exactly playing water polo out here, but it’s got space for lounge chairs, a dining area, and so long as the people barbecuing dinner get along with the people teaching their kids how to swim, I think we’ll be just fine!
27 Bathurst Street – “Minto West Side”
Here’s another example of a great picture that makes the pool look like it’s large, deep, and with a beautiful infinity effect:
But what about this photo?
It looks like a pond now!
Maybe 3-feet deep?
This is how exposed it is:
Not my fave.
Although that will be a recurring theme here today.
1 The Esplanade – “Backstage”
This isn’t my favourite, by any stretch.
It’s shallow, short, and while it’s quite long, I don’t know how functional it is.
Perhaps this view tells a better story:
Overlooking the train tracks, eh?
I don’t know. I’m not sold.
12 Bonnycastle Street – Monde Condominiums
I honestly can’t tell if that’s an artist’s rendering or a real picture, but I think it’s the latter, since an artist’s rendering wouldn’t show that area between the edge of the infinity pool and the edge of the building.
Infinity pools in condos area really hot and really popular.
Especially if you can lean over the edge and look at the city.
Here’s the view looking west:
I give this one a passing grade for sure.
525 Adelaide Street West – “Musee”
Nothing special about this one, but it looks passable, right?
For a downtown condo?
However, how would you feel swimming, hot-tubbing, or tanning if you knew that this was lurking over you:
I think a lot of people don’t care. Sure, 500 people could look down and see you, but does that matter?
“Swimming in a fish bowl,” except for real!
Others might not love the vibe here. And this is very, very common in downtown Toronto.
170 Bayview Avenue – River City III
Alright, well it’s not huge, but it’s a start.
Although only the far end has the “infinity” effect.
Here’s another photo:
That wall on the right looks kind of suspect.
And that video camera is creepy.
What’s with the anchors on the overhang?
Nice pool, but the surroundings are odd.
And once you see the overhead shot, you realize that the pool doesn’t go to the edge of the building:
Maybe this is just what to expect in a condo pool in downtown Toronto?
38 Grand Magazine – “York Harbour Club”
This overhead shot, showing three people tanning and zero people swimming, tells me that maybe I’m too overly-concerned with the pool itself:
Perhaps there’s more to a pool than just the pool?
I will say, however, that while the fence around the pool is there for security and safety, once you’re inside the gate, it feels like you’re in a glass box…
25 Capreol Court – “The Luna Vista”
This is the dumbest pool in the city:
126 Simcoe Street – “Boutique II”
This is the grossest pool in the city:
320 Richmond Street East – “The Modern”
This is the smallest pool in the city:
I know, you’re thinking, “That’s not a pool, it’s a hot tub.”
But it’s not a hot tub.
It’s called a “splash pool.” That’s code for “miniature pool.”
Suddenly, I’m reminded of Jim Carey on Saturday Night Live…
I watched this live in 1996 with my family and we were absolutely howling.
This was the peak of Jim Carey’s career, and this sketch is underappreciated.
330 Richmond Street West – “Gloss Condos”
This “pool” is slightly larger than that splash-pool above, but I still wonder if there’s a 4-person limit?
461 Adelaide Street West – “Fashion House Lofts”
This one looks awesome:
Is this a camera trick?
Or does it look anything near as good from an overhead shot?
Take a look:
For sure, this one is solid.
It’s large enough, open air, with room for lounge chairs, and exceptional views!
832 Bay Street – “Burano”
Bay Street is very busy, but this one is on the fourth floor of the “podium” section of the building:
Last, but not least, why don’t we look at that infamous pool from 33 Mill Street?
Not quite as spectacular as I remember:
But back in ’06, this place was POPPING!
I can actually hear Justin Timberlake’s “Bringing Sexy Back” blaring from somebody’s early-era Bose speakers while it fights with “Fergalicious” playing on the other side of the pool.
Of course, this is pre-Instagram, so all those selfies are just, what – remaining on somebody’s Blackberry 8700 without being shared on social media? I mean, what’s the point of taking 62 photos of yourself to pick one and act like it’s spontaneous and “in the moment” if you can’t get strangers to click and like it?
Barbed-wire tattoo, meet, lower-back tattoo. Now, don’t you two crazy kids do anything like get married, have kids, and grow old, okay?
Have a great weekend, everybody!