King Cobra of the condo business Charles Hanes has been selling Toronto real estate for over thirty years. More than twenty of those years he spent as a “seller’s agent” before he began to feel guilty about pushing real estate on people who might not need or want it, and became a “buyer’s agent”. He knows all the tricks that developers use to get people to invest against their own best interests.
Editor at Large for the National Post and Distinguished Professor at Ryerson University, Diane Francis claims that “there’s all this hot money swirling around the world trying to find a place to land,” and much of it is landing in the Canadian condo market. Diane’s latest book is Who Owns Canada Now, an analysis of where the wealth is located in Canada, and what influence that’s having on the country.
David Fleming is a Toronto realtor who turned consumer advocate after having a nightmarish experience investing in a pre-construction condo. Highly opinionated and polarizing, he writes the best-known real estate blog in Toronto: www.torontorealtyblog.com
Cathy Strati is a condo owner who is also vice-president of a commercial real estate firm. So Cathy knew all the right questions to ask when buying her condo yet still ended up owning a unit rife with issues - like being fitted with a different shower and fridge than the ones she believed she was sold; having the lock to her unit break three times, locking her inside; and needing floor repairs so extensive she’s had to pack up all her belongings on more than one occasion.
Trinity-Spadina MPP Rosario Marchese has been fighting for years to introduce amendments to Ontario’s Condominium Act that would include: good faith language, so that what consumers see in the showroom is what they get when they purchase a condo; a condo review board; and condo declarations with clear language.
Chief City Planner of Toronto Jennifer Keesmaat is that rare creature – an outspoken city official. She’s candid about the challenges the city faces as the number of condo towers sky-rockets, along with the city’s population. In the job only since early 2013, Keesmaat is a powerful force in the city and in the documentary. She has a different vision of the city than as a sea of tall towers and Keesmaat is assembling the tools to take back power from the development industry. Keesmaat made her name as private-sector consultant. She’s worked on planning issues in municipalities across Canada – from Vancouver to Halifax and several stops in between.
Former activist and political journalist turned city councillor Adam Vaughan represents Ward 20, the Trinity-Spadina area of Toronto. It includes CityPlace, the largest residential development in Toronto history, as well as other major new condo developments. Vaughan is a passionate and articulate critic of both the condo industry development and of the city’s role in condo development. He is in the unfortunate position of trying to negotiate for better buildings when often he isn’t even sure those towers should be built.