Tag Archives: St. Clair and Caledonia Park Rd.

Meet Roya – Minto’s Sustainable Design Professional

With Earth Week upon us, it’s inspiring to hear about the people that are making a difference in moving towards sustainable living. Minto has an entire Sustainability Team dedicated to incorporating ‘Green Living’ strategies into all of the work we do. We sat down with a lovely member of the Sustainability Team, Roya Khaleeli, to find out more about her work as a Sustainable Design Professional.Roya Minto Sustainability

Roya has been at Minto for just over three years now. She didn’t always work in sustainability though – she started out as a mechanical engineer, working in the automotive industry. But reading the book “Natural Capitalism” (by Paul Hawken) motivated Roya to change her career path. “I was inspired by the idea that there could be a different way of doing business which enables doing good by doing well,” she tells us. After getting her Masters in Sweden in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability, Roya worked as a Sustainability Consultant in London, UK, for over four years. When she came back to Toronto, Roya started her role with Minto’s Sustainability Team. It was a 10 year journey, but she says she’s lucky in terms of timing because there are many more jobs in sustainability now than there was when she started looking into it in 2002.

Roya’s role is focused primarily in the GTA where she works on embedding sustainable design practices into Minto’s communities.  She collaborates with the design teams early on in each project to develop the strategy, which considers the particular market, the local green requirements, relevant third party building standards and opportunities for innovation. “It is critical that we approach our work in a way that is congruent with profitable business,” she says. Having involvement early on in the development process ensures that the green strategies are delivered while still remaining competitive in the marketplace.

Minto Sustainability

Once the strategy is approved, part of her work is to train site staff to ensure the value is communicated to home buyers. “While some features deliver utility cost savings, others provide greater comfort, improved health or community connections,” she explains. “We also believe there are some features that can only be included through the quality of the construction process. Having a well-made air tight envelope is almost impossible to add after the home has been built as compared to granite countertops which can be added at any point.”

So far, Roya’s favorite project has been Minto Southshore. “It was a complex product to build and we set progressive targets for air tightness and we learned a lot in the process.” The team faced the challenge head on and Minto Southshore is what Roya describes as, “a beautiful space that allows home owners to live with a lesser impact on the environment, without even being aware of it. This is one of the main reasons I get so excited about my job.” Minto Southshore built upon the learning gained from Minto Caledonia Towns on the Park project, and Minto Longbranch will now be following in the footsteps of Minto Southshore.

Minto Southshore

As sustainable living is becoming more important in land development, we asked Roya what Green Living trends she sees will become prevalent in home building in the future.  With the growing popularity of electric vehicles, she sees having electric vehicle charging stations on site as becoming more common. Minto already provides the basic infrastructure to support the future installation of electric vehicle charging stations at 775 King, and within the other five high rise projects that have launched since. Beyond improving energy performance, the target of Net Zero Energy buildings and greater water efficiency, another issue she sees becoming significant is a focus on design for better communities. With the introduction of standards such as LEED for Neighbourhood Development and BREEAM Communities (in the UK) she sees attention being directed towards designing communities to be more walkable, encouraging healthy lifestyles, and with greater access to services. On a more personal note, Roya would like to see “more community garden and food growing spaces included within projects; however, this requires demand from the market” which she hopes to see in the near future.

MInto 775 King Exterior Bike Parking

In her spare time, Roya has a number of hobbies that keep her busy. She is an avid tennis player, and just began taking tango lessons. Family is important to her, and she likes nothing better than enjoying really good food with great company. She also supports Habitat for Humanity where she volunteers once a month to build homes in the Toronto area, continuing her commitment to sustainable living.

Interested in learning more about Minto’s commitment to Green? Check out our Sustainability page, or learn more about each project’s Green Features on our Green Living pages on each project’s website.

A May update from Caledonia Towns

Move in day is fast approaching at Caledonia. Pre-delivery inspections (PDIs) started last week and are continuing throughout the month. We’re at the finishing stage in all the units. That means painting, cleaning and installing kitchens and bathrooms. All of the decking is well underway and at the west entrance the team is busy with brickwork and patios.

Landscaping will be the next big project and will be starting soon. Along with the landscaping, we’ll be constructing the garbage shed and the bike shed.

Back in March, we toured the Caledonia Towns model home designed by Ida Cristello from our design team. They’re working on a second model home now and we’ll bring you a virtual tour soon, so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, have a look at the photos below to see how the site is shaping up.

 

 

Inside the Caledonia Towns model home

Ida Cristello and her design team recently finished the Caledonia Towns model home. We’ve had lots of visitors come by for their tours already and whether you’re one of them or you’re considering a visit, we wanted to go through some of the design elements and inspiration behind the model.

Layout & furnishings

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Sofa and cowhide bench: Homesense

The idea was to create a space that anyone could envision themselves living in. We wanted to show the flexibility of the layout and finishes and how they could work for singles, couples, young families, or empty nesters. The space needed to reflect the vibe of the neighbourhood – centrally located and young, but sophisticated as well.

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Leaning mirror: Homesense
Pendant light: Prima Lighting

The living/dining area is a favourite for our design team. People end up leaving with the feeling that the space is much bigger then they originally thought. Large windows and 9 foot ceilings make the room feel spacious and light-filled. Carrying the flooring material through from the living and dining rooms into the kitchen means end users can determine their own room dimensions and how they want to use the space.

pendant lamp

The light fixture adds a touch of glam while keeping things light and fun with round crystal droplets and an organza drum shade.

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Mirrored side table: Homesense
Bed linens: Homesense and Ikea
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Bed linens: Homesense and Ikea

One thing we want to stress is that no compromise was made on the scale of the furniture. The couch, entertainment unit, occasional chairs, rugs, beds, and dressers are all full sized. Mirrored and glass surfaces reflect light and keep things feeling airy. This technique is reflected (pun not intended) in the mirrored nightstands in the master bedroom, the glass dining table and coffee table and the full sized mirror in the dining room.

You might be surprised about where some of the furniture and decor elements came from. IkeaHomesensePrima Lighting, Canadian Tire, Lowe’s, and the Home Depot were all sources of great finds. Most people overlook big box hardware stores, but keep your eyes open and you can really achieve a high end look with a few key items.

Finishes

finishes

We used laminate flooring from the Torlys Lexington series in Cobblestone Oak. It’s a natural blend of soft brown-grey taupes which allowed us to play off these colours in the furniture and accessories.

Granite counter tops in the kitchen and bathroom are durable and always look great. We chose Grigio Sardo for the kitchen and Nero Impala in the master ensuite.

The kitchen was designed around entertaining. The island is great for pastry preparation and perfect for laying out a spread of charcuterie and cheese boards – a nod to the cultural history of the neighbourhood. For the model home we kept the walls light and bright with Wedding White by ICI Dulux Paints.

Thanks to Ida and her team for putting everything together so beautifully. Head over to our Facebook page for more photos of the space and click here to register or book your own model home tour.

DIY wine in Corso Italia

Last December we mapped out some places to discover in the Caledonia Towns neighbourhood. Macedo Wine made the list and we recently spoke with the founder’s daughter Daisy Macedo to learn about what’s involved in making wine at home.

Macedo Wine includes three family owned and operated locations and three different business streams. One is importing grapes for people who make wine in their own homes (more on that later). Another is what’s called ferment on premise, where customers choose from a list of grapes that are turned into wine at one of the shops where the process is supervised by an expert wine maker. Essentially, it’s made to order wine. After the five to six week fermentation, customers can pick up the wine in pails and bottle it at home, or the bottling can be done on site where they have an automatic corker. The most recent venture is their own brand of bottles wines from Portugal, Italy, Argentina and Ontario.

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If you’re not up to doing it at home, Macedo offers a ferment on premise service.

David Macedo has been in the wine industry for about 30 years. When he immigrated from Portugal, he and his brothers openend a supermarket. Because making wine was such an important family tradition, they started importing grapes and never looked back. The demand from Toronto’s Italian and Portuguese population was huge. About five years ago Daisy and her sisters and cousin came on board. Other family members pitch in from time to time as well.

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Owner David Macedo with cases of grapes.

The scope of the family business changed again about two years ago when they got a winery license. Daisy explained that a winery license is completely different from a fermenting license. The winery license allowed the Macedos to import wine and package and sell it under their own brand name, Evolution Wines. But you won’t find it at the LCBO. The wines are only available from their boutique on Dufferin just north of Dupont.

Joining the roster shortly is a red wine from the Beira interior in Portugal. It’s produced on granitic soils in the Cova da Beira on the slopes of the Serra Da Estrela mountain range.

Portugal's Beira interior produces
Portugal’s Beira interior produces Trincadeira, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca grapes.

Importing wines is a great way for the Macedos to share their passion. They also offer wine tasting seminars. Evolution wines are available in bottles, as well as 4, 8 or 16 litre boxes.

But we were most interested in learning about what is involved in making wine at home. Macedo Wine imports grapes from California in September and October. Customers pick them up in crates at the Caledonia Park Rd. location and destem and press them either on site or at home. As with ferment on premise, the wine is ready after five to six weeks, but it’s recommended to wait another three to six months before drinking it.

Like with beer production, yeast is needed for the fermentation process, but there is naturally occurring yeast on the grape so you don’t usually have to add it. The first stage of fermentaion is about a week, and the second stage is three to four weeks. After that you have the option of adding clarifiers and stabilizers.

Clarifiers are used to help clear sediment and debris out of the wine. Clay-based bentonite is a common one, but you can also use gelatin, or even egg yolk. Instead of adding something to the wine, you can do what is called racking, where the wine is transferred to a new container every couple of weeks, leaving the sediment behind. Stabilizers like potassium sorbate prevent bacteria from developing in the wine after fermentation.

That’s about all there is to basic wine making. You can can take it further by testing the acidity and other characteristics and making adjustments, but typical home wine makers don’t usually go there because you need specialized equipment.

The process is very simple on the one hand and time consuming and nuanced on the other. The vast majority of Macedo Wine customers who take the full DIY route tend to be from Portuguese or Italian families who have been making their own wine for generations. Increasingly, the Canadian-born offspring of European immigrants are opting to ferment on premise because the process takes so much time, equipment and care.

But at the same time, there are Canadians who are trying their hand at wine making for the first time. We chalk it up to an overarching trend in all things DIY.

We were also curious about the reputation homemade wines have for being less good than what you get at the store. Daisy explained that homemade wine can be really mediocre, but it can also be very good. People have their recipes that they’ve been following for years and they’re convinced that’s how it should be done. When you’re making wine at home, you don’t have the equipment to test its characteristics and make minor adjustments accordingly. 

Whether or not your wine is objectively good, when you make it yourself it’s the best wine in the world. The end result might be a little rough around the edges, but it’s full of love.

A big thank you goes out to Daisy Macedo for helping us out with this post!

Visit Daisy or one of the other Macedos at 50 Caledonia Park Road, 1381 Dufferin Street or 30 Ossington Avenue and call 416 535 0416 to arrange a tasting.

An update from Caledonia Towns

We visited Caledonia Towns on the Park this week to happily see the interiors really taking shape. Framing, drywalling and taping are all done on blocks A and B, and we’re getting very close at block C. At block B, tiling, trimming and priming are underway. Finishes are the fun part and we just installed the first granite counter tops in the kitchens. Most of the focus on site right now is on the interiors, which is just as well considering the cold and wet weather. With our brand new sales centre opening next week, having the interiors in tip top shape is a priority.

Once the drywall is primed, we can move forward with the finishes like tiling, finishing the ceilings, trimming, and finally painting. Flooring is one one the last elements to go in.

Next week we’re starting on the window wells as well as two exterior structures: a garbage shed and a bicycle shed. For now, here are some of the photos we took at this week’s site visit.

Everyone’s favourite: kitchens & bathrooms.

And the finishing touches that make a construction site a home.

We’ll update you once the sales centre is open and the model home is ready for touring, so watch this space.

An update from Caledonia Towns

Happy new year! Yesterday we made a snowy visit to our Caledonia Towns site at Caledonia Park Rd. and St. Clair. Our construction team has been very busy and the homes are looking great. Right now our crews are at the drywall and taping stage at block A. Framing inspection at block B has been passed and we’re ready for insulation. At block C the mechanicals are being roughed in. A base coat of asphalt has already been put down throughout the site. Here’s what the Caledonia Towns looked like when we stopped by yesterday.

Electrical rough-in underway.

Deliveries.
Balconies on the second storey.

Back view.

Caledonia Towns: Meet me in Corso Italia

Caledonia Towns on the Park is open for site tours (call 647 255 3465 to book yours!) and looking fantastic. We thought this would be a good time to have a look at some of our favourite local amenities in Corso Italia.

1. Caledonia Towns on the Park

2 & 3. Streetcar stops
We love having easy access to transit.

4. Joseph Piccininni Community Recreation Centre
With both an outdoor and indoor pool, a full gym and tons of activities for children and adults, this place makes an amazing anchor for the neighbourhood.

5. Earlscourt Park
This park offers a nice chunk of green space in the middle of the city. There’s also a skating rink in the winter, and the park houses the Joseph Piccininni Centre.

6. Centro Trattoria & Formaggi
Find your favourite Italian pasta brands, cheeses and even catering at this Italian food emporium that’s been a Corso Italia staple for over 30 years.

7. Novecento
A corner cafe featuring the same desserts and amazing coffee you would find in Italy.

8. El Rancherito
Serving up deliciously authentic Columbian food; this hidden gem is one to try.

9. Carleton Village Junior and Senior Public School

Having a school within walking or biking distance is great for families.

10. Macedo Wine
One of two places on Caledonia Park Road why you’ll find everything you need to make your own wine.

11. Wadsworth Park
Toronto has more parks than you might think. Find them all mapped out here.

12. The Big Ragu
An Italian restaurant should be a place to linger and spend an evening and The Big Ragu is perfect for that. They even hosts dinner parties inspired by the 90’s movie Big Night.

13. Carbella Salon & Spa
Carbella offers a full menu of treatments including hair, make-up and nails just a block from home.

14. TD bank
Banking should be all about convenience.

15. Hacienda Mexicano Grill
For those times when you feel like Mexican.

16. La Paloma Gelateria & Cafe
Authentic Sicilian gelato with with enough variety to indulge all summer long.

Do you have a favourite Corso Italia joint? Let us know on twitter!