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Downtown is downtown, right? Wrong! When it comes to downtown Toronto, it's
just too large an area to deal with all at once. Hundreds of thousands of people
live in that one neighbourhood known as downtown. To try and take
in both it's residents and it's myriad of real estate options all at the same
time would make a person's head spin. Therefore, we subdivide the district
into manageable pieces, not just for the sake of real estate agents trying to
juggle everything from Queen West condos to High Park homes, but also for the
sake of the people who live there. Can you imagine having a block party with
300,000 of your neighbours?
For our purposes, we'll talk only about buying a condo in a small part of downtown. The section of downtown we'll be dealing with
in this series of articles is an area we will call the downtown
of downtown, or central downtown. Central downtown is bounded by Dufferin Street
in the west and the Don Valley Parkway in the east. In the south, central downtown
begins at the shores of Lake Ontario and continues north until it terminates
at Bloor Street. Enclosed in this area are such important fixtures as Union
Station, the main campus of the University of Toronto, and the famous Eaton
Center shopping mall.
Central downtown is rarely known as central downtown in tourist or real estate
literature, and is more commonly referred to by the individual neighbourhoods
that it consists of. Each developed in its own special way and has a unique
character. This character often manifests itself as differences in the architectural
style of buildings even one block away from each other, and as variations in
the type of real estate available. For instance, while the Irish influence brings
us Corktown Lofts, Toronto University gives us hip student housing in the Church
and Wellesley neighbourhood.
Some portions of central downtown, like the financial district and entertainment
district, are completely devoid of the single family detached homes most people
think of when homes are mentioned. This is due to the extreme popularity
of land in these areas, which stems from the financial headquarters offices,
arenas, and fancy shopping. Meanwhile, in other parts of central downtown, the
high rise condo towers and office buildings give way to huge old houses, row
houses or small apartment buildings like in Koreatown or Cabbagetown.
The availability of views in this area of downtown is somewhat limited unless
you want to have a view of other buildings, and even then you'd have to
have a tip top loft at the apex of a building to see anything other than a wall
several meters away. However, there are some parkland views available near Trinity-Bellwoods
Park, Coronation Park and Riverdale Park, and some neighbourhoods that actually
have room for trees along the streets. As far as water views go, you're
limited to the shoreline of Lake Ontario, a large part of which is taken up
by industrial lands.