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Take a look at the work in progress in what will be called the Canary District

Toronto’s Pan American Games in 2015 are quickly approaching, and an entire new downtown Toronto neighbourhood, the new Canary District with the athletes’ village and new condo buildings, is quickly rising. The Globe’s Property Report took a look at the West Don Lands development site Friday to see how construction’s going.

Guy Dixon/The Globe and Mail

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On the east side of Toronto’s downtown, the new 35-acre district will house roughly 10,000 athletes competing in the Pan Am Games before being turned primarily into condos. A 15-storey tower on its south end was ceremonially “topped off” in front of the media, with the signing of the concrete slab on the windswept top floor.

Guy Dixon/The Globe and Mail

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No other buildings will be taller than the 15th floor of the south tower, keeping the neighbourhood to more of a human scale. Some of the condo blocks will include townhouses on street level. The Pan/Parapan American Games Athletes’ Village/Canary District recently won the 2013 Brownie Award for best overall cleanup of a brownfield from the Canadian Urban Institute.

Guy Dixon/The Globe and Mail

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A vista of the city centre will dominate the neighbourhood, with a new extension of Front Street. It will be as wide as other downtown thoroughfares like Spadina, but with only two lanes of traffic, giving a prominent view of the downtown.

Guy Dixon/The Globe and Mail

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The idea is to keep the thoroughfares calm and pedestrian friendly, and hopefully to attract bike stores and yoga studios, alongside restaurants and cafés, say its developers Dundee Kilmer Developments Ltd. Think Vancouver’s Yaletown, but low rise.

Guy Dixon/The Globe and Mail

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Another phase of development after the Games, to be completed in 2018-2019, will add another 1,100 condo units to the area. In total, the entire West Don Lands Precinct Plan will have 7,000 living units and will house 10,000 residents.

Guy Dixon/The Globe and Mail

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Corktown Common Park, Toronto’s newest park on the east side of the development, is complete near the foot of the Don River. Designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh, the park is connected by paths to Toronto’s system of bike lanes east and west along the lakeshore and north up the Don.

Guy Dixon/The Globe and Mail

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The project’s $700-million-plus construction involves 700 workers on site, with $1-million worth of building activity each day, says Ken Tanenbaum, vice-chairman of the Kilmer Group.

Guy Dixon/The Globe and Mail

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The current stage of development will include 253 affordable housing units, both condominiums and rentals, for mid- to lower-income households. The Canary District name comes from the Canary Restaurant, which stood on the corner of Front Street East and Cherry Street from the mid-1960s to 2007.

Guy Dixon/The Globe and Mail

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