Toronto and condos: it's complicated

As condos continue to change Toronto's skyline and raise new land-use issues, a realtor makes his case for condominiums on CBC Radio's Metro Morning.

It can be said that Toronto has a love/hate relationship with the scores of condominium projects that continue to crop up across the city.

To some, condos run counter to Toronto’s reputation as a "city of neighbourhoods." To others, they offer a convenient, affordable way to live downtown as prices for detached houses continue to soar.

Toronto's changing landscape

Use our interactive tool to see how the city's landscape has been altered by condo developments in recent years.

David Fleming, a blogger and realtor with Bosley Real Estate, spoke to Metro Morning host Matt Galloway on Monday about the city’s relationship with condos. Fleming, a condo dweller himself, said he understands the mixed feelings people have about condos but said they meet the city's rising demand for downtown housing.  

"The more people that want to live in the downtown core, the more condos we have to build," he said. "The only way we can build is out into the suburbs or up into the sky."

Fleming said he understands why those who live in more traditional Toronto neighbourhoods are uncomfortable seeing condo projects pop up in their neighbourhoods.

"I think long-time residents of an area like it the way it is," he said. "I’m not good very with change to be perfectly honest, so if I was living in an area for 20 years and all of a sudden at the corner where you used to have a quaint little convenience store there’s a sign that a 25-storey condo is going up, I think most people would be annoyed by that.

"People want a homogenous feel to an area," he said. "And when you have a row of century-old Victorians and you’re used to that feeling, and all of a sudden a brand new steel and glass condo is going to make its debut, it really changes the face of the area. I can understand how the residents might be upset."

Fleming said condo owners often feel they’re being looked down upon because they can’t afford a detached home.

"I think a lot of home owners hate condos because they have the luxury of living in a home, which many condo owners don’t," said Fleming. "I think condo owners hate condos because they want to live in a home."

Condo living is 'about convenience'

Fleming said told Galloway he recently helped an aunt downsize from a larger home into a condo.

"She said it’s like living in a hotel, but all of my stuff is here," said Fleming. "And that’s what condo living is all about. It’s about convenience."

Metro Morning on CBC Radio One will continue to discuss Toronto’s sometimes fraught relationship with condos in a series that continues this week.