New Flemingdon Park development is the project of early builder’s grandson, and returns garden city principles to Toronto’s first suburb
One of the first highrises built in the Don Mills community of Flemingdon Park will soon be joined by a new, modern neighbour envisioned by the grandson of the original building’s developer.
“It took a number of years working with the city to create a wonderful site plan for this block. Nothing in that immediate pocket has been redeveloped for quite some time,” said Bryan Levy, CEO of DBS Developments which bears the initials of his grandfather: David Bela Salomon
The firm’s Flemingdon Park site plan centres on Metro Park Condominiums, a new 37-storey building with 405 suites plus three-storey townhouses. The plan for the 4.8-acre property includes creating a new street and public park, as well as updates to the existing, 1960s-era rental apartment building. The area will also have direct transit access with the Science Centre station on the soon-to-be-completed Eglinton Crosstown LRT, and the province’s Ontario Line subway.
In the 1960s, Salomon and his partners in Gonte Construction (later Preston Group) developed the apartment building at 25 St. Dennis Dr. The surrounding Don Mills community was Toronto’s first master-planned suburb and the initiative of businessman E.P. Taylor. It was modelled on garden city principles of neighbourhood, a discontinuous street system with short, curving roads, greenspace, homes on large lots and separation of uses and activities. Apartment buildings were envisioned as towers in a park.
Over time and with the construction of major roadways such as the Don Valley Parkway, Don Mills became car-centric — representative of urban sprawl and the parks surrounding the towers became parking lots. But lifestyle initiatives have come full circle, and again there’s an emphasis on green, walkable communities with access to shopping, amenities and transit.
“The lifestyle that people are looking for has evolved and changed. People are putting more value in those trails and dog parks, and they value outdoor space,” says Levy.
“Don Mills will be transformed in the next few years and we’re honoured to be part of this. Metro Park is a very exciting project, well-centred among a lot of green spaces, trails and parks.
Levy says the planning for Metro Park Condominiums has been a six-plus-year effort. “Given its location, it was only a matter of time before this pocket became feasible and special, and we are seeing that timing with new transit. The LRT played into our planning.”
He says the 15.6 kilometre Ontario Line, that will run from the Science Centre to Exhibition Place will also be “absolutely outstanding for us.” Metro Park is also close to the Don Valley ravine system, Charles Sauriol Park and E.T. Seaton Park, close to the Shops at Don Mills, major big box stores and cultural assets such as the Science Centre and Aga Khan Museum.
Kirkor Architects and Planners worked with DBS to create the plan for the site. “The property stretched between two streets that had no connectivity,” explains Cliff Korman, principal at Kirkor. “We had to create an urban edge, and introduce a park-front street to connect and take the site from a suburban to urban design, and we were able to overcome many issues.”
The new street, connecting Grenoble Dr. and St. Dennis Dr. mid-block, will be transferred to the city and the southeast corner will become a public park.
“This is perfect smart growth. I believe it will create positive momentum in the neighbourhood,” says Korman. “You don’t have to get rid of the existing buildings, it’s on a transit node, it is adding density, and there will be more connectivity and an active public realm. The building will provide eyes on the street — that adds safety and security.
“We have a supply and demand (housing) problem and people want to live close to the core. This is one of the right places to intensify.”
Because Metro Park is so connected to transit, Korman says they were able to get 70 per cent of parking reduced on the site, although the DVP and Hwy. 401 are easily accessible for those who do drive.
Levy says Metro Park Condominiums’ construction will be quality and sustainable with the tower built to Toronto Tier 2 Green Standards with high energy efficiency and high-calibre finishes. Suites will include appliance packages and standards such as high-end vinyl plank flooring, quartz countertops, tile backsplashes, frameless showers and Kohler fixtures. Appliances will be Energy Star certified and suites will be outfitted with programmable thermostats, Energy Recovery Ventilators and water-efficient plumbing fixtures.
The pre-cast and glass modern building will feature a façade that steps in and terraces back. The seventh-floor terraces will overlook the adjacent public park, and all units will have balconies or terraces.
“It will be surrounded by a beautiful, landscaped site which is currently a parking lot that doesn’t have nice trees. The site will look much nicer,” said Levy. “There hasn’t been a new building in that pocket for many years and it’s exciting for a lot of families who have roots here, love this neighbourhood and who want a shinier option with quality amenities.”
Metro Park Condominiums
Location: Grenoble Drive east of Don Mills
Architect: Kirkor Architects + Planners; Interior designer: II x IV Design, Dan Menchions.
Tentative Occupancy: June, 2025
Project: 37 floors, 405 suites including one-bedroom, one-bedroom plus flex space, two-bedroom, two bedroom plus flex space, ranging from 485-1,500 sq. ft. Plus seven urban townhomes. Prices starting from the high $700’s
Amenities: State-art-of-art fitness centre, calming wellness room, private screening room, co-working space, outdoor terrace, entertainment lounge, recreation room, party room, pet spa, mail room with parcel lockers.