June 19, 2024


Youth trendy style

Shopping mall giant is bringing condos to the Queensway

Verge is a dual-tower, mixed-use residential development with 30,000 square feet of retail0

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RioCan is a name synonymous with shopping malls and large commercial ventures — they aren’t exactly newcomers on the development scene.


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“We own about 223 properties across six major markets in Canada, half of which are in the GTA,” says John Ballantyne, RioCan’s senior vice-president of asset management.

But, Ballantyne says, Verge Condos, a new project in Etobicoke, is significant: It’s the first independent condo venture under RioCan Living, the company’s residential and development ownership division, which launched in 2019.

“We’re building with our own expertise,” says Ballantyne, explaining that RioCan has done joint multi-family rental buildings before and developed and managed projects throughout Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary.

Slated for the southwest corner of Queensway and Islington (on the same lot as the Cineplex movie theatre), Verge is a mixed-used, two-tower affair. Well-thought-out amenities (attention, millennials: There’s a TikTok room) include a fitness centre, a yoga studio, a pet spa, a party room, a cocktail lounge and an expansive outdoor terrace with barbecues, chess and shuffleboard games, as well as an outdoor lounge offering south-facing views.


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TikTok’ers and work-from-homers will appreciate green screens in the content studio.
TikTok’ers and work-from-homers will appreciate green screens in the content studio. Photo by Photo courtesy of RioCan Living

The building design promises to be head-turning. Turner Fleischer Architects devised a two-tone stacked, protruding scheme that will bring a striking change to the sprawling parking lot as it transforms into 545 new residences split between the 17- and 11-storey buildings. Suites here will range from 430 to 1,060 square feet; pricing is still to be announced.

A new public park and a new service road on the south side of the property will also improve the area.

The Verge site was acquired by RioCan in 2010, and they always planned to improve it, says Ballantyne. “We knew that all of the leases would expire about now. It gave us the opportunity to rezone it and to intensify it,” he says. “What we’ll end up with is wonderful because we’ll be losing about 25,000 square feet of retail and replacing it with 545 condo units with 30,000 square feet of retail right below it, so it’s really win-win.”


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Ballantyne likens this stretch of the Queensway to “centre ice. It’s perfectly positioned between the two biggest cities in the GTA: Toronto and Mississauga. It’s not a greenfield site an hour and a half out of the city.”

Additional co-working space will appeal to those who work from home part- or full-time.
Additional co-working space will appeal to those who work from home part- or full-time. Photo by Photo courtesy of RioCan Living

Future residents can easily commute downtown and to other parts of the city: Verge is a direct shot up Islington to the subway and the Mimico Go Station. Drivers can access the nearby QEW, the 427 and the Gardiner Expressway.

“You can be at Pearson Airport in 10 minutes,” says Ballantyne.

“The other beauty is that it’s in an established neighbourhood: There’s existing schools, parks and recreational facilities,” he says. “The Humber Bay Shores is 10 minutes away — that’s a massive outdoor amenity with walking and biking trails along the lakefront. There’s Centennial Park [Toronto’s second-largest park next to High Park] nearby and tons of golf courses.”


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Anwar Mekhayech, DesignAgency’s founding partner who is behind the amenities and suite design, was also drawn to the project’s location. “I’ve always liked that little pocket, that north Mimico/Etobicoke area. It’s so close to High Park and Roncey and Parkdale.”

For RioCan Living’s first solo condo venture, he wanted to do something special.

“It’s a very sophisticated palette that’s fashion-forward, something you would expect on King Street or Richmond, but we’re doing this out on the Queensway,” says Mekhayech. “My thought was, let’s bring that downtown urban design to this project.”

The expansive outdoor terrace features barbecues, playful diversions and a lounge with south-facing views.
The expansive outdoor terrace features barbecues, playful diversions and a lounge with south-facing views. Photo by Photo courtesy of RioCan Living

Deep navy blue is featured in common areas, including the lobby and the cocktail room. In both amenities and the suites, a sophisticated, contrasting dark and light palette is being used. Herringbone backsplashes and walnut cabinetry add further depth.


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The workspace features are special, too, says Mekhayech. Outdoors, “we have power in the right places, so people can plug in their laptops,” he says—a small detail that just makes sense today.

The fully equipped content room (that’s the TikTok studio) with its pulldown backdrops and green screens, as well as an audio-recording studio for podcasts and other presentations, is another work-from-home pleaser.

“People who work from home three times a week can set up for filming or Zoom calls,” Mekhayech notes. “They can say, ‘I’m going to do a presentation at my condo and I’m going to look like a rock star doing it.’”

The two-phased community will launch this summer and feature 545 residential suites ranging from 430 to 1,060 square feet. For more information, visit vergecondos.com.


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Three things

Daddy O Doughnuts & British Baked Goods sells doughnuts in flavours like atomic cherry cheesecake, mojito and lavender lemon glaze; you can also load up on Yorkshire Tea and Cadbury chocolate from across the pond. 589 N. Service Road, Mississauga

Apache Burger has been doing charbroiled patties since 1969, perfectly topped with crispy iceberg, onion and tomato. Take it over the top with cheese, bacon, fresh-cut fries and a malted milkshake. 5236 Dundas St. W.

Head south half an hour for a picnic, a bike ride or play time at the splash pad steps from Lake Ontario at Colonel Samuel Smith Park; there are also jazz and blues events and food festivals on its annual calendar. 3145 Lakeshore Blvd. W.



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