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When work brought Anand Prakash to the GTA from India in 2012, transit was a key factor in deciding where his family would live.
He chose an apartment at Emerald City, the growing master-planned community at Sheppard Ave. and Don Mills Rd., on the TTC’s Sheppard subway line that allowed an easy commute to his job at IBM in North York.
Five years later, Prakash, 36, his wife, Neelam Kushwaha, 35, and their 6-year-old son, Aakhyan, are permanent residents of Canada and are putting down roots in the same Emerald City community. They have purchased a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condominium on the sixth floor of The Colours of Emerald City, a midrise building that is slated to be ready for occupancy in September 2017.
“One of my friends was going to look at condos and suggested that I come along to keep him company,” Prakash says. “I picked up an Emerald City brochure, went home and suggested to my wife that we give it some thought.”
Prakash and Kushwaha hadn’t had any immediate plans to purchase a home, but the more they considered it, the more sense it made. They were planning to remain in Canada — “We like the culture, so why not stay?” says Prakash.
They researched different towns and neighbourhoods, debated the merits of houses compared to townhomes and condominiums. Ultimately, they decided Emerald City suited their needs, preferences and budget.
“We wanted to stay in Toronto,” said Kushwaha. “North York is a happening place and we like it. We have many friends in Whitby and they have to do a lot of travelling to get to shopping or activities.”
The family is close to nearly everything they need: Their son is enrolled in a variety of classes at the community centre; they have Fairview Mall across the road for movies and shopping; they enjoy the community’s green spaces; and they’re steps to the subway.
“It was the right place at the right time for us,” Kushwaha says.
Emerald City’s developer, Elad Canada, believes Emerald City is the right place for thousands of other couples and families, too. The community will eventually comprise nine condominium buildings in three blocks of three buildings, containing approximately 2,700 units; five rental buildings; and a series of townhomes.
The seventh condominium, The Peak, will be a 33-storey condo with four townhomes at the base and amenities including an indoor pool and sauna, terrace, party room and a dog wash. Sales have just begun with occupancy planned for 2020.
“Elad is focused on master-planned communities,” says Dror Duchovny, director of sales and marketing. “They give us the ability to create something on a large scale and with that scale comes the ability to enhance and invest in the community.
“We can reshape the neighbourhood.”
At Emerald City, Elad Canada invested in building a 50,000-square-foot community centre, which includes a YMCA daycare, that has been turned over to the City of Toronto to operate. An additional aquatic centre, also built by Elad, opens this summer.
As well as ground-floor retail space in the condos — a dental clinic and a Tim Hortons are among the small businesses operating there — distinctive, multi-coloured conical sculptures by Canadian artist Douglas Coupland serve as a signature for the community.
“It’s great to support local artists in creating something new and beautiful for the community,” Duchovny says.
Duchovny says the demographics of the neighbourhood have “changed substantially” since Elad Canada purchased the property in 2002.
“We have a very diverse purchasing base that includes young families, young professionals and empty nesters,” he explains. “With the subway, the mall and the highway (Hwy. 401) nearby, it is a very strategic location.”
Leo deSorcy, program manager for urban design in North York, notes the Emerald City site itself has undergone a metamorphosis.
“The neighbourhood was built in the 1960s and ’70s and there wasn’t a lot of change for a long time,” he says. “Together with community working groups, we went through a series of exercises with the architects over an 18-month period to come up with a plan for redevelopment.
“Originally, the site was very car-oriented, but Elad has added a layer of walkability,” says deSorcy.
“In addition, the official plan criteria for what makes a good neighbourhood came together here in a satisfying way. There is access to services; the community centre is a focal point for meeting others; and there is a mix of people and a connective network of public streets.”
“My sense from the public meetings and from being out and about in the community is that Elad seems to be building a really diverse, happy community,” adds deSorcy.
“People are using the facilities, they’re out and about and there’s a sense of safety. It’s clear that when you do things right, the outcome is really good.”
The Peak at Emerald City
Address: 32 Forest Manor Rd., North York
Builder: Emerald City Developments V (C3) Inc., a subsidiary of Elad Canada.
Size: 33 storeys with 368 condo suites ranging from 475 square feet to 928 square feet; four townhomes from 1,636 square feet to 1,699 square feet
Floor plans: Condos with 1 bedroom, 1 bedroom plus den, 2 bedrooms and 2 bedrooms plus den. Two-storey townhomes have three bedrooms
Prices: Starting in the high $ 200,000
Projected completion: January 2020
Contact: emeraldcitylife.ca, 416-492-0001, email@example.com . Sales centre on Sheppard Ave., across from Fairview Mall.