It’s almost unprecedented for the creation of a brand new neighbourhood to bring thousands of jobs, be serviced by world-class transit, and enjoy a premium location next to the downtown core while simultaneously be surrounded by natural parklands — all at the same time. And yet, Toronto’s newest neighbourhood, East Harbour, is being designed from the ground up to achieve all of these objectives, all while becoming one of the city’s top communities.
Still in the planning stages, East Harbour is vastly ambitious 60-acre project that will have vast repercussions for its surrounding neighbourhood and the city at large. But even with all the clout required to turn these former industrial lands into a future pedestrian hotspot, some decisions are easy to make.
As the focal point of numerous intersecting transit corridors, it's easy to understand why East Harbour makes for a natural pick for a regional transportation hub.
At its position to the east of the mouth of the Don River near Eastern Avenue and Broadview Avenue, East Harbour lies at the future meeting point of no less than five transit lines — four of which already exist. The future East Harbour transportation hub is expected to provide service to the Lakeshore East and Stouffville GO Train lines, the Queen and Broadview streetcars (the latter of which will receive an extension), and the future Ontario/downtown relief subway line.
Expected to become Toronto’s second busiest transit hub, the East Harbour is expected to help relieve pressure on the overburdened Union Station by providing an alternate way in and out of downtown Toronto. And, owing to its placement at the confluence of the Don Valley Parkway, Gardiner Expressway, and Lakeshore Boulevard, this location will provide a multitude of motorways for local drivers.
This easy access to existing transportation infrastructure sets East Harbour apart from the heavy development that have turned much of downtown Toronto’s industrial lands into intensive residential neighbourhoods. By integrating land use with transportation planning, local residents have the unique benefit of enjoying immediate access to multiple transit options.
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All of these modes of transportation will be put to the test when East Harbour completes its development as an enormous office park expected to employ as many as 70,000 workers. As the largest planned commercial development in Canada, East Harbour will create 10 million square feet of new office, retail, institutional, cultural, and public space. This neighbourhood’s reputation as a job provider will only grow as other employers have signalled their intention to put down roots nearby.
General Motors has begun developing a new mobility campus and innovation centre down the street from East Harbour that is expected to employ several thousand people once it becomes fully operational. In addition to hosting research facilities and office space, the 721 Eastern Avenue campus will allocate 14,000 square feet of space to be used by the creative industry to help promote innovation.
Not only that, Kevric Real Estate revealed the company was looking to develop office space at an East Harbour-area site located at Eastern and Lake Shore Boulevard during a May conference.
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This ambitious plan to infuse Toronto with thousands of jobs hasn’t gone unnoticed by municipal leader. Mayor John Tory has praised East Harbour for the potential economic benefit it is poised to give to the city, saying: “It stands as a strategic piece of land that has the potential to create thousands of new jobs."
After giving people a reason to come, the economic engine that is East Harbour will also give them a reason to stick around.
According to Scandinavian architectural firm Henning Larsen and Danish urban planning firm Gehl, East Harbour will display a strong emphasis on pedestrian avenues and social commons that make it a social extension of the vibrant neighbouring community. With this new civic commons, visitors to East Harbour will be inspired to linger in this bustling community and enjoy its many benefits, something that local residents will be able to do on a permanent basis.
Eventually, 100,000 people are expected to live within one-kilometre of East Harbour. As dense as that may sound, this community is designed to be an inclusive place where locals can live and work without the need to commute elsewhere, all while enjoying a quality urban lifestyle with numerous local amenities.
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As lifestyles goes, this neighbourhood will be privy to some of the city’s hottest trends. From its position just south of Queen Street East, East Harbour is remarkably close to a number of eclectic retailers and services that include artisan espresso bars, vegan eateries, crossfit and cycling fitness studios, theme bars, brewpubs, and craft breweries. As a matter of fact, the restaurants and bars of this popular brunch destination are so celebrated that it hosts numerous food and drink festivals throughout the year.
Being that Eastern Harbour is still in the planning stages, there aren’t many details when it comes to the future residences located in this ideal neighbourhood. However, the good news is that investors have their pick of nearby condominium developments that are currently available. Here are just a few:
- Developer: Graywood Developments and Alterra
- Occupancy: 2022
Located at 462 Eastern Avenue just down the street from the future transit hub, Wonder Condos is a former factory (and Wonder Bread maker) that has been converted to a 9-storey-high luxury residence that features high ceilings, brick elements, and a rooftop terrace.
Harris Square Condos
- Developer: Urban Capital Property Group
- Occupancy: 2021
This 12-storey, 140 unit, mixed-use condo features open-concept layouts and trendy loft-inspired features like exposed concrete ceilings and ductwork. Harris Square is located to the west of East Harbour and the Don River where it enjoys an enviable location backing directly onto Corktown Commons, a $135 million award-winning 18-acre park.
28 River Street Condos
- Developer: Rosewater Capital Group
- Occupancy: 2021
Located west of the Don and north of Queen, this 15-story mixed-use luxury condo contains 162 living units that come equipped with rich hardwoods and stainless steel appliances as well as rooftop patio amenities and ground floor retail.
This area around East Harbour have already seen the rise of developments like the Canary District and Riverside Square that have already sold out, so investors are prompted to act sooner rather than later on a list of condos that have been included as our picks for best of 2018.
With so much development preceding this exciting transit-oriented neighbourhood and job provider, East Haven is looking to become a promising future development.
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Images: East Harbour official web site