December in Yorkville

Tuesday Mar 03rd, 2015


Cumberland Terrace Tells The Story
of Yorkville at a Glance.

While most time capsules are buried in the foundations of buildings, their contents to be revealed at some future date, Cumberland Terrace is a living (if barely breathing) piece of Me Decade retail architecture frozen in time.

Promoted as "the nicest way from Yonge to Bay" when it opened in October 1974, the mall's resistance to modernization - orange and brown tiles, large banks of phones, signage for chains such as Teriyaki Experience unused elsewhere for decades - gives Cumberland Terrace the feel of a living museum, and makes it  a perfect venue to celebrate the history of Yorkville.

Trifold Creative, whose recent downtown work includes Adelaide Place and 438 University, has covered the windows of empty storefronts with snippets of neighbourhood history - a project titled "Yorkville History at a Glance".

According to Trifold's website, it's an attempt to "revitalize, direct traffic flow and brighten up Cumberland Terrace's walkway by creating an engaging yet aesthetically pleasing atmosphere." Given 9,000 square feet to cover, their designers combined sketches, historic photos, and watercolour splashes on white backgrounds, bringing some light to the dingier corners of the mall.

From stories of Victorian businesses such as Frogley's Bakery and the Severn Brewery, to tales from the neighbourhood's hippie era (including a nod to Joni Mitchell), the project covers the breadth of Yorkville's varied history. Most of the stories run the length of an average storefront, although some stretch out a bit farther - one series of panels offers visual representations of TIFF People's Choice Award winners, while another salutes the local contemporary art scene with a tribute to the late Walter Moos that incorporates works he displayed at this gallery.

The panels fill space while the future of Cumberland Terrace is determined. Since 2008, several developers have come forward with proposals to bring the site into the 21st century. Owner Oxford Properties submitted a development application to the City this summer based on designs by architectsAlliance. The plan calls for a 54-storey residential tower with a 50-foot lobby surrounded by a revamped mall that will be better integrated into the streetscape.

But until a proposal is chosen and construction begins, visitors may continue to marvel at the time-warped Cumberland Terrace and perhaps learn a bit about the history of Yorkville too.

Swanky Vending Machines Offer Crullers & Cufflinks at Yorkville Mall.

A pair of vending machines in Toronto's upscale Yorkville neighbourhood are offering cufflinks and baked goods to casual passers-by looking for a taste of sugar and a touch of style. The cufflink and baked foods vending machines made their side-by-side debuts in Yorkville's Cumberland Terrace Mall earlier this month, where they're already causing a stir amongst shoppers. The unexpected pairing of pastries and fashion accessories comes from two Toronto-based companies, BakeryHaus and Cuffwear, who hope to spread their venture elsewhere if the Yorkville experiment works out.

Cuffwear president Chris Zownir says the high-tech, touchscreen-enabled vending machines are a "fun user experience," and far more advanced than the typical candy bar dispenser. "The machine is made in Italy, it's a very sexy-looking machine, so I think people are just drawn over by the appearance of it," Zownsir told CTV News. The Cuffwear vending machine has 42 cufflink styles on display in a purple LED-lit glass display case. Customers use a touchscreen interface to pick the cufflinks they want, then charge the purchase ($65 per pair) to their credit card.The machine uses a mechanical tray to retrieve the pre-gift wrapped cufflinks and deposit them to the customer.

Zownir says it made a lot of sense to put cufflinks in a vending machine. The one-size-fits-all, often-changed (and easily lost) fashion accessories are a hot item among fashion-forward men. "Guys that love wearing cufflinks, it's just an easy fit," Zownir said. He added that he's also seen many women use the vending machine to buy cufflinks as gifts for the men in their lives.

But you don't need to have a dress shirt to enjoy the other vending machine. With treats starting at $2.50 a piece, the Bakery Haus vending machine offers a wide range of donuts, cronuts and macaroons from the baker's European-style menu. And while Zownir ackowledges the oddity of pairing cufflinks with baked goods, he says it's actually worked to his advantage. He says the broad appeal of the baked goods gets people looking at the two machines, and helps building his Cuffwear brand with the visibility. "It can only help bring attention to the Cuffwear machine," he said. "What's better than eating a nice Nutella-filled donut while shopping for cufflinks?"
The Cookbook Store's Alison Fryer
Opening Cookbook Department in
All The Best Fine Foods'.

Alison Fryer, manager of shuttered The Cookbook Store, is cooking up a new chapter in her life with a culinary book department in All the Best Fine Food's Summerhill location, which opened November 20th. 

Called "All the Best Cookbooks", it will echo Fryer's beloved Yorkville ship with visiting classes, food education, themed dinners - and plenty of cookery books. 

"I thought when we closed the store I'd casually fade away," laughed Fryer after teaching one of her regular classes at George Brown culinary school Monday, adding she was unable to quell her passion for cookbooks. "I'm just like a kid in a candy store," she laughed about exploring a new cookbook. "I get so excited."

The Alison's Picks section inside All the Best Fine Foods' Yonge Street store carries more than 60 cookbooks, a number expected to expand. The founder of the store and cookbook author herself, Jane Rodmell, will gather her favourite cookbooks into an area called Jane's Classic Picks. "They love cookbooks," said Fryer of Rodmell and store co-owner Sue Merry. "Jane has a collection that's just scary. She's my kind of woman." Fryer's indie cookbook store at the corner of Yonge & Yorkville closed in March after 31 years in business, a few months after the site was earmarked for condos.

"My enthusiasm has not waned," said Fryer, who added cooks still want to buy books in print as opposed to online. "I think cookbooks are never going to go away. We all have to eat."


Ex-Maple Leaf Leaves Yorkville.

Remember Ex-Leaf Tomas Kaberle?

Tomas can often be spotted strolling throughout Yorkville with his wife and children. He has been a resident of Toronto's chic neighbourhood for quite some time. I've personally bumped into him in the Four Seasons' D-Bar. However the days of encountering this onetime Leaf-favourite are slowly coming to a close. 

He has listed his condo for sale and is moving back to the Czech Republic to continue what he knows best; hockey. Interested in where he has been living all this time?
The Kaberle Residence
Address: 21 Balmuto Street
Building Name: Crystal Blu

Size: 990 SF  Bed: 2  Bath: 3
Price: $874,900
*price includes 1 parking and 1 locker


The End of an Era
Most Yorkville residents are aware of the constant construction that is taking place in order to transform Hazelton Lanes. What most residents don't realize is that the shopping mall formerly known as Hazelton Lanes is not only undergoing a structural transformation, but a branding transformation as well. The shops at Hazelton Lanes will be referred to as Yorkville Village, a modern twist on the tired, circa-1976 attraction.

Hazelton Lanes is changing to...Yorkville Village. 
Click here for a YouTube video on the evolution of our local shopping centre.

Anchor tenants Whole Foods, TNT and Rexall will remain. 

Condo Tip of the Month.

They say the Golden Rules of Real Estate are; Location, Location, Location.

As important as location is, let me add three more Golden Rules; Builder, Builder, Builder.

Make sure your selected builder is among the very best. I have personal experience buying from the very best Toronto developers, as well as the very worst. Believe me, there are some builders advertising high-end buildings in the media every day that you should absolutely avoid. So check around and ask questions. A deep dive into the professionalism, ethics and experience of the builder and/or developer you are considering, may avoid very expensive mistakes. Also keep in mind, that although you may recognize the name of the developer as a household name, they may or may not actually build your property. That could be subcontracted out to yet another company you may never have heard of. So know who you will eventually be dealing with after the sale and the building is built, and check them out, thoroughly!


To Eat Breakfast, or Not to Eat Breakfast
- That is the Question.

It was the fall of the year, I had just returned from Europe after taking Advanced Business Studies in Amsterdam. I had enrolled in a Canadian MBA program and it was the very day of lectures in the very first class when the professor strode up to the lecturn and issued two directives. The first is not suitable for print and the second was simply, "If you haven't had breakfast, go home." As I knew I hadn't eaten, I simply shrank myself down in my seat as far as I could get. I had heard this admonishment, many times before, but the bluntness of this really stuck with me.

On coming back home to Yorkville that night, my first responsibility was to find a decent eatery for breakfast. It wasn't long before I discovered Flo's Diner. Located on the second floor of 70 Yorkville Avenue, Flo's is a 50's style diner serving comfort food all day at reasonable prices. The wait staff are friendly and efficient and have my morning bacon and eggs served in a flash. Good food, made fresh, good service - and all at prices I could afford. Arrive early, especially when the tourists hit town on the weekends, as there is frequently a line up. This is not a probability but a certainty at lunchtime. Also, stay on celebrity alert as they are frequently found there. I am a frequent patron of Flo's and I know my old professor would give me straight A's for finding such a great eatery. 

Christmas in Yorkville.
While walking around Yorkville this season, take in the following windows. Start with the tree at William Ashley's China at 55 Bloor Street West. You cant miss it!

If you're looking to be wowed at first glance: Sometimes it's difficult to see the china for the tree! William Ashley's staff erect what must be the tallest (real) Christmas tree each year. It's Instagram-worthy! Their holiday window displays are true art. Imagine pyramids of delicate china tea cups taking the shape of holiday motifs.

While you're there: Once you've Facebooked the incredible window display, head up to the Panorama Lounge (top of Manulife Centre) for a festive night-cap and for a night-time view of downtown Toronto. This has to be one of the very best night views of the city.

If you're looking for a stylish or romantic take on Christmas: The mannequins in Holt's holiday windows add a little chic (and sometimes a touch of bling!) to the season. Fashion meets festive at Holt Renfrew, while a track of holiday carols play in the background. You'll find yourself singing along.

See more at: See Toronto Now

Carry on walking west along Bloor, weather permitting, and take in what the rest of the stores are displaying. Then head north up Avenue to Cumberland and stroll east past the rock.

Turn north again when you hit Sassafraz (why not drop in for a cocktail, or better still, a hot toddy).

Then turn west west and walk along Yorkville Avenue and try not to resist the temptation to enjoy the restaruants and bars along the street.

This is one of my favourite walks throughout the city.  Happy Holidays all!

Attention Yorkville!
Meet our Concierge of the Quarter.

The primary goal of a concierge is to ensure resident's have a pleasant experience and to facilitate the day-to-day activities of the building. However, Richard goes above and beyond the daily duties of a concierge. Always putting a smile on the faces of the residents, Mr. Ng has become the trademark of the Uptown and is a warm welcome to any and all residents and guests. The Yorkville Report is proud to present Richard Ng with the Concierge of the Quarter. 

Yorkville - meet Richard Ng.

Name: Richard Ng
Security Co.: Forest Hill Group
Building: The Uptown Residences (since August 2012)
Experience: 4.5 years

YR - Yorkville Report
RN - Richard Ng

YR: Rich, who is your favourite local sports team?
RN: The Toronto Football Club (TFC) by far - I love going to the games in the summer; and our humbling Maple Leafs are a close second.

YR: So you have worked in the area for quite some time and I'm sure you've found some great local eateries. What is your favourite local restaurant?
RN: Cafe Nervosa - it's a Yorkville institution. I almost always order the Margherita Pizza or Bolognese Pasta.

YR: With the holidays just around the corner, and assuming you are on Santa's Nice List, if you could ask for anything, what would you want for Christmas?
RN: That's easy! A 2015 Black BMW 550i.

YR: That might be tough to fit in Santa's sleigh. What's your favourite thing about working at the Uptown? You seem to be loved here. 
RN: I'm a people person. I enjoy meeting people, seeing the residents and making them smile on a daily basis. That's what gets me through the day. 


What's Happening in Yorkville Over The Holidays?

Now until December 14th, 2014

Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen's Park

For the past 26 years, the Gardiner Museum's annual 12 Trees exhibition has dazzled adults and children alike with fabulous Christmas trees created by Toronto's top designers. This year, the one-of-a-kind trees are inspired by the neighbourhoods of Toronto, from Chinatown to Leslieville, with designs by CBC's Steven and Chris, Hilary Farr of TV's Love It or List It, Kimberley Newport of Pink Tartan, Holt Renfrew, Teatro Verde and more. Don't miss this annual Yorkville tradition at Canada's national ceramics museum!

For more information, please visit:

Santa Speedo Run

1:30pm - Saturday December 13th, 2014


Hemmingway's Restaurant - 142 Cumberland Street

Some wait for Santa. Others wait for Elijah. And still others for Krüüdknæpper, the Festival Elf of Iceland. But in Yorkville, they wait for pasty "athletes" in nothing but flimsy red lycra.  

The 9th edition of the Toronto's Santa Speedo Run will once again depart from Hemingway's Restaurant - 142 Cumberland Street at 1.30pm with a breezy and fun run throughout Yorkville. Clad in northing but running shoes and Speedo bathing suits, entrants will be raising money for the Toys and Games Fund at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children.

For more information, please visit:
Let's Talk REAL ESTATE. 

Let's take a look at Yorkville's condo market...

The last six months have produced a total of 91 condo sales in Yorkville, a 2.25% increase in volume from last issue. The increase can be primarily attributed to the robust Autumn Market. The average price of  Yorkville condominium is approximately $1,098,330. This figure represents a 1.46% increase from the previous 6-month moving average. The numbers are positive given last month's slight decrease. Volume is projected to be slightly lower throughout the holiday months. We hope the city doesn't experience the harsh weather from last winter and we continue the strong volume and growth numbers.

Two bedroom suites continue to lead the way in terms of popularity, accounting for almost 56% of all Yorkville condo transactions. This is becoming an overwhelming trend. The market remains brisk in Canada's most desired address.

We'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy holiday season. Have a healthy and safe holiday season with your friends and family alike. This is the time to cherish those in your life and spread joy around your community. Be grateful for what you have and are able to give. Wishing you the best for the remainder of 2014 and an incredibly prosperous 2015. 

Happy Holidays to all. See you in 2015.

Matt Smith*, MBA
*Real Estate Representative

office: 416-975-5588      cell: 647-929-7674      email:

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