A new approach to mid-rise living in Etobicoke

Westshore community brings fresh twist on townhomes for all demographics
Monday, November 6, 2023
By Rebecca Melnyk

A new spin on the stacked townhome concept is promised to boost missing middle housing typologies in the Greater Toronto Area. Minto Communities is currently building its Westshore community in South Etobicoke for homeowners who desire something different than high-rise living, but more affordable than a single-family dwelling.

Vince Santino, vice president of development at Minto Group, says the 9.8-acre site in the Long Branch neighbourhood will bring 509 units in total. There will be a mix of traditional and stacked townhomes, similar to the developer’s Longbranch community adjacent to the west, but other more accessible options.

A collection of hybrid multi-unit townhomes will rise during the project’s first phase. Each one features five storeys: a two-storey lower unit with a garden patio at grade, a middle one-storey flat with a balcony, and a two-storey stacked townhome on top with a rooftop terrace.

A range of one to three bedrooms, between 472 and 1,282 square feet, bring condo-style amenities without the height.

“Not everyone wants to live in a 20- to 30-storey concrete building up in the sky,” says Santino. “What makes these urban stacks a little different is we have elevators that service that third floor of the stack. The elevator continues onto the fifth floor of the unit above.”

Other condo-like features include underground parking and a common internal corridor. They were designed alongside architecture firm BDP Quadrangle.

Richard Witt, principal at BDP Quadrangle, stated in an earlier press release, that the units are based off a shared grid size, which allows for a degree of versatility in unit combinations. “A central corridor at alternating floors, served by a central elevator core, provides access to the units, essentially giving us more space to dedicate towards units, keeping the homeowner at the forefront of our design,” he said.

The specific combination of ground units, elevators and choice is unique to the townhome market and fitting for seniors who wish to age in place, especially as Ontario’s older demographic is projected to almost double, from 2.5 million in 2019 to 4.6 million by 2046.

Families are also looking for ground-oriented homes with a neighbourhood feel, for which there exists a shortfall in the GTA. The Westshore community is helping to fill the gap as the provincial government continues its pursuit to build 1.5 million homes by 2032.

“A big part of achieving that is the industry providing more options with a lot more density,” says Santino. “It is becoming very difficult to find single-family low-rise greenfield land to purchase and build on. As an industry we’ve had to adjust.”

Blending density into the surrounding area is also top of mind. A park that was created for Minto’s Longbranch community will extend outwards into Westshore with access to splash pads, BBQ areas, the TTC, Long Branch storefronts and lakefront trails.

“Being on Lakeshore, we’re certainly seeing a lot of gentrification in the area and a lot of people who have grown up in Long Branch want to stay there,” says Santino. “The neighbourhood itself has always catered to families, and people who may want to downsize and retire and continue to live there. It has a lot going for it.”

With future projects in mind, Minto is looking for opportunities where it can continue to apply the same type of townhome concept or similar ideas. A key goal overall is to create complete communities, and by doing so, attracting all types of buyers and demographics.



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