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Union Station Food Court Opens As Next Piece In The Puzzle





Another piece of the massive redevelopment of Toronto’s Union Station has opened today, providing those transiting through the station—or those nearby who simply want to grab bite to eat—a number of new options to tackle their thirst or hunger. One level below the GO York Concourse, the Union Food Court opened for business at 7 AM. With 600 seats and 10 food retailers spread across 25,000 square feet, the new options expand upon what’s already available from the handful of retailers on the floor above, while providing the tables where people can eat more easily.

Union Station Food Court, overlooked by the GO York Concourse, TorontoThe central area of the Food Court, overlooked by the GO York Concourse, image by Craig White

Curated by retail developer Osmington, the food court includes market leaders like McDonalds, Tim Hortons, and Pizza Pizza, along with lesser known but proven local fast service food retailers Shanghai 360, Loaded Pierogi, Paramount, Sushi Shop, Roywoods, and Bangkok Buri. Scaccia will join that list in a few weeks time, while an eleventh retailer is still to be chosen by Osmington to complete the mix here.

Bangkok Buri, one of the new restaurants in the Union Station Food Court TorontoBangkok Buri, one of the new restaurants in the Union Station Food Court, image by Craig White

While the massive Union Station development as a whole is being overseen architecturally by NORR with FGMDA (undergoing a name change to Evoq) handing heritage elements, the design of the food court’s spaces is under the wing of PARTISANS. Famous for their curvaceous forms and use of textural materials to impart warmth, whimsy, and the human touch, PARTISANS’ most obvious contribution here are the cloud-like pods that hang from the ceiling. Most clearly lighting fixtures, within each pod is also hidden the HVAC equipment to keep the place comfortable, and fire sprinklers. With the actual ceiling blacked out above them, Alex Josephson of PARTISANS told us “the Pressurized Ocular Diffusers gained the station 3 feet extra ceiling space.”

Looking through a section of the Union Food Court, image by Craig WhiteLooking through a section of the Union Food Court, image by Craig White

The light coming out of the diffusers is a warm yellow-white, with some being a brighter, purer white. They are LED though, so the colour can be changed to match theme days. Union could turn many of the lights blue on Leafs game days for example, red for the Raptors or Canada Day, etc.

PARTISANS-designed fixtures and furniture are found throughout the Food CourtPARTISANS-designed fixtures and furniture are found throughout the space, image by Craig White

The diffusers are not PARTISANS only industrial design down here though: it’s all put together to create an inviting space. Chairs are all ribbed-back aluminum in three colours, while table tops may be light or dark wood. A series of bar-height tables formed wth steel and wood make the most dramatic statement. Reminiscent of the metalwork in the train shed a couple floors above, the tables feature welcoming dark wood tops which are supported by muscular steel legs wth curving corners, secured to the floor with four oversized bolts at each end. Half of the table tops feature green resin inserts pocked with electrical outlets for our increasingly army of laptop-toting commuters.

Wow and steel bar-height tables with sockets, Union Station Food Court, TorontoWow and steel bar-height tables with sockets, image by Craig White

The manufactured green counterpoints nicely with the natural wood grain… and ties in with the TD Banks’s branding of many elements within the station: if you’re charging up your computer before jumping a train home, you’ll know which financial institution to thank. If you want to charge your phone, the USB ports are just one level up, same licensing agreement providing your mobile juice.

Hallway towards the future Fresh Market area of Union Station, TorontoHallway towards the future Fresh Market area of Union Station, image by Craig White

Besides its initial access from the GO York Concourse, the Food Court will soon have access to the York East Teamway pedestrian passage (to the west, ironically), and then to the Union Station Fresh Market to the east. Osmington has not set a date for the market’s opening yet, but in the works is an area where you’ll be able to pick up items to take home to make dinner. Purveyors are still to be announced, but Osmington foresees “Thinly sliced charcuterie, farm-fresh veg, crispy baguette, and a bottle of Ontario pinot noir [that] are begging to be brought home and served up” as examples of the offerings.

Concept rendering of the Fresh Market area at Union Station by PARTISANSConcept rendering of the Fresh Market area by PARTISANS

Union Station already has other eating opportunities. Full service restaurants include Amano Pasta, Union Chicken, and within the next several weeks, Wvrst. A number of shops in the station’s ‘Front Street Promenade’ area sell such items as danishes, cinnamon buns, biscotti, smoothies, and coffee. A handful of places in the GO York Concourse include McCafe, Starbucks, Booster Juice, The Bagel Stop, and Uncle Tetsu. Union Mercado and International News carry convenience items. Further into the future, a fine dining restaurant is being built into the north side of the Great Hall.

The Food Court opens at 7 AM on weekdays and 10 AM on weekends, and will be open to 10 PM every night.

We will be back with more from Union Station as more pieces of the $800 million puzzle are revealed. In the meantime, you will find many renderings of what’s to come in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to get in on the conversation? You can join in via the associated Forum thread link (where you will also find many more shots from the food court opening), or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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UrbanToronto has a new way you can track projects through the planning process on a daily basis. Sign up for a free trial of our New Development Insider here.


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Real Estate

The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021





Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary





Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market





The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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