Toronto's Weston area revitalized by housing and transit developments

October 11, 2018 at 11:30 AM

BY LISA RAINFORD   TORONTO.COM

Sonia Menezes

Sonia Menezes is looking forward to moving into her new one-bedroom condo as part of developer Options for Homes' project The Humber, underway in the Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue area, which is set for completion in 2021. - Lisa Rainford/Metroland

 

The Humber

The Humber will be a 22-floor condominium tower at 10 Wilby Cres,. in the Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue area that is scheduled for completion in 2021. - Options for Homes/image

 

Cultural hub in Weston

The Artscape Weston Common, seen here in an artist's rendering, is a community cultural hub that's currently under construction in the Weston Road and John Street area. - Artscape/Image

 

Sonia Menezes The Humber

Sonia Menezes is looking forward to moving into her condo at 10 Wilby Cres. in the Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue-area. Occupancy is scheduled for 2021. - Lisa Rainford

 

Options for Homes

Sonia Menezes is looking forward to moving into her condo unit that once built at 10 Wilby Cres. in Weston will overlook the Humber River. - Lisa Rainford

 

Avid cyclist Sonia Menezes loves biking along the Humber River Recreational Trail, which takes her through the Weston neighbourhood.

And so, when she learned that Options for Homes’ condominium project ‘The Humber,’ slated for the Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue-area, would overlook the river Menezes said she knew that’s where she wanted to live.

“I like the neighbourhood overall. It’s right next to the Humber; there’s lots of green space,” said Menezes, who currently lives near Finch Avenue and Weston Road, but works in Weston and shops at the Real Canadian Superstore at Weston Road and the 401. “I use the (Union Pearson Express), which is truly amazing, and I love that the (Eglinton) Crosstown LRT is coming.”

Menezes had been trying to get into the real estate market for about five years, but couldn’t find anything suitable or affordable.

“It’s almost impossible to buy in Toronto on a single income,” she said.

Yet, Options for Homes made it a reality for Menezes. A social enterprise, the developer operates as a nonprofit, offering its clients down payment support. One of its latest projects, The Humber, a 22-floor, 232-unit condominium, will be built at 10 Wilby Cres., a stone’s throw from the UPX. Construction is set to begin next spring with occupancy in 2021.

Options for Homes CEO Heather Tremain acknowledged the amount of civic pride there is in Weston.

“There’s a great history here, one that residents are proud of. But there’s also a great appetite for revitalization and change,” Tremain said in a statement. “We’re honoured to be part of that change – change that we hope will be accelerated by the addition of 232 new families and individuals with a long-term interest in the well-being of this community; people that will walk through the ravine and support the retail, children who will play at Weston Lions Park; more people to support the farmers market and to enjoy and contribute to events like Buskerfest.”

The project is one of two particular developments among a growing number happening in Weston that are bringing new energy to the neighbourhood. Construction of The Humber comes on the heels of the community cultural hub, Artscape Weston Common, being built at John Street and Weston Road.

Scheduled to open in December, Artscape Weston Common will be comprised of indoor and outdoor programming space and will provide affordable live/work space for artists. The hub, which encompasses ground floor space of an existing residential apartment building and a surplus parking lot, is part of a larger development by the Rockport Group that’s bringing 350 new rental homes to the area.

“We think Weston is a model, a catalyst and inspiration for how we should be building in our city. We’re so excited about this project,” said Artscape chief operating officer LoriAnn Girvan. “I think Weston is a bell-ringer for really good urban development.”

Twenty-six artist households will call the hub home. As part of their housing agreement, the artists will contribute five volunteer hours in the community.

“We want a group of artists who are committed and who want to be together to have an impact collectively,” Girvan said.

Arts organizations Shakespeare in Action and Urban Arts Toronto will be program partners and resident companies at Artscape Weston Commons as well.

“We were thrilled to learn we’d be coming up in the same time frame as Artscape Weston Commons,” Options for Homes’ marketing specialist Jessica Speziale said. “What is really exciting for us is, we feel like we’re part of a revitalization. It’s very inspiring to work with a community that shares that excitement for all the great projects in the neighbourhood.”

Future Weston residents, Norbert Cruz and wife Maria are looking forward to their move to The Humber. The couple is downsizing from a house in Ajax.

“We really didn’t want to manage a yard anymore,” Cruz said, adding that he can’t wait to get rid of his tools and snowblower.

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