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On the map: 'Why buy a piece of art when you can live in one?’

August 24, 2022
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In 1929, the year of Frank Gehry’s birth, Toronto was in the midst of an Art Deco development boom that saw three downtown high-rises — the Sterling Tower, the Royal York Hotel and Commerce Court North — become the city’s tallest buildings in remarkably quick succession. At 34 storeys, the latter remained the tallest tower in the British Commonwealth for three decades.

Ninety-three years later, in the midst of a condo development boom, Canada’s most famous architect is getting in on the action in the downtown neighbourhood where he grew up. “As I looked at my hometown city in its development over the past years, it’s kind of looking like everywhere else, and that freaked me out,” says Gehry. “I know this might sound overly conservative, but I always did think that we Canadians had a different vibe. Maybe this is too much to ask for in a world that is changing faster than any of us can imagine.”

Gehry’s first new build in Canada, the towering Forma condo project currently in pre-construction at King Street West and Ed Mirvish Way, “will be an instant landmark, not just in Toronto, not just in Canada, but worldwide,” says Mitchell Cohen, chief operating officer of Westdale Properties, which joined co-developers Great Gulf Group and Dream Unlimited in launching sales of the 864 suites in Forma’s 73-storey East Tower in June. “Living in Frank’s homecoming masterpiece is about as compelling as it gets,” he continues, adding that most of the tower’s units have already been sold, with the few remaining hitting the market soon after Labour Day. “Why buy a piece of art when you can live in one?”

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