LOOKING UP: Spotlight on Waterworks Toronto

At the upcoming Waterworks, it could be said that Toronto’s “Industrial Evolution” has indeed arrived. And for Woodcliffe Landmark Properties and MOD Developments, that isn’t just any off-the-cuff marketing slogan. Rather, it’s more of an apt illustration for what’s happening at 505 Richmond, where they are transforming the 1930’s era public utilities building that currently stands on the site into contemporary city condos.

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Waterworks Launch event. Photo via Waterworks Toronto.

This is not your typical King West pre-construction development either. Rather than height or glitz or glass—characteristics that have often come to define the area—the focus here is on artfully blending heritage industrial architecture with cool, head-on modernism to create a building that will redefine the genre.

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Waterworks rises just beyond St. Andrews Park, Toronto. Rendering via Waterworks Toronto.

Woodcliffe and MOD have called the suites at Waterworks “conspicuously awesome”, crediting them as “ideal life spaces for urban adventurers and downtown devotees alike.” They’ve certainly brought on the right team to realize this vision. Toronto-based firm Diamond + Schmitt are on architectural duties, while the celebrated multi-disciplinary practice Cecconi Simone takes over interior design honours. The planned result will see current, cosmopolitan features and finishes showcased in each suite, as well as plethora of amenities which could be called definitively deluxe.

The real prize at Waterworks though? It probably won’t be the soon-to-be expanded St. Andrew’s Park, or the landscapes designed by Janet Rosenberg & Studio, or even the gigantic new YMCA going in… And trust us, those will all be “yuuuge” (as the new neighbouring President-elect might deem them).

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The Waterworks project development plan.

No, the true showstopper here looks to be the conversion of the current Waterworks industrial garage into a world-class food hall designed to rival Amsterdam’s iconic Foodhallen or Manhattan’s Chelsea Market. Think a mix of vendors, sit-down restaurants, and hungry crowds congregated under a restored roof of long skylights and refurbished bricked windows. It’s a fitting nod to the site’s historic origins as St. Andrew’s Market.

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Open to the public, the community will have easy access to the Waterworks Food Hall, which will be designed to recall the site’s original use as one of Toronto’s historic food markets. Via Waterworks Toronto.

Sure, some may scoff that the last thing Toronto needs is another condo. But think of it like this… Aren’t those the very same folks likely to remark that the first thing the city could use (at long last) is a proper enclosed urban food court? Well, here it is!

In all, Waterworks aims to not only honour the echoes and craftsmanship of Toronto’s past, but replicate them for today’s lifestyle expectations. It’s an ambitious plan, no doubt, and that plan is definitely reflected through the numbers for the project below.


$4,000,000 … What sale prices top out at.

$375,000 … What sale prices start at.

54,000 sq. ft. … Space for a new YMCA, which will house a 25-metre swimming pool, track, gymnasium, fitness studios, conditioning room and community rooms over two floors.

20,000 sq. ft. … Total floor area of attached European food hall.

40,000 … What King West’s population is expected to expand to over next 3.5 years when construction finishes.

3,000 sq. ft. … Largest units.

450 sq. ft. … Smallest units.

290 … Overall number of units.

84 … Amount of different floor plans for one- to three-bedroom suites.

15 … Number of units which will be affordable housing run by Artscape for artists and their families.

2020 … Year that everything should be open.

2017 … Year that construction will begin for this new development.

1932 … Year of construction of the original Waterworks building.

1857 … Year the site was inaugurated as St. Andrew’s Market, once the city’s third largest public market

25% … Planned expansion of St. Andrew’s Playground between Woodcliffe Landmark Properties and the City of Toronto.

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Waterworks project model. Via Waterworks Toronto.

Feature image via Waterworks Toronto.