Published in the Toronto Star, September 13, 2013
By Duncan McAllister, Special to the Star
What does the Italian town of Roseto have in common with a master-planned community at Islington Ave. and The Queensway in Etobicoke? Lots, says Denny Finelli.
“I used to live in the area. My grandmother still lives in the area and I have some cousins and aunts that still live in the area,” says Finelli, whose parents both hail from Roseto. “My dad was 19 when he came here, my mom was 13, so they met here even though they were from the same town. They lived across the street from each other on 10th Ave. (in Etobicoke).
“I’ve been to the home town a couple times. It’s a quaint, small town,” adds Finelli.
Over the past century, he says, migration from Roseto has dramatically reduced its population. “The story they tell me is that there used to be 7,000 people 50 years ago. Now there’s about a thousand. It’s getting smaller and smaller.”
The project’s “I” and “Q” stand for its Islington and the Queensway location. A Remington Group community designed by EI Richmond Architects Inc., IQ’s initial phase includes a 12-storey, 303-unit condominium tower, the first of seven that will eventually create 1,200 residential units. Occupancy for Phase 1 is expected this fall. The second phase is Park Towers with suites ranging from 505 sq. ft. to 860 sq. ft. and priced from the low $200,000’s to $425, 900.
“IQ is the name of the development — the whole community itself. Right now we’re in the Park Towers phase,” explains Teresa Roppo, Remington’s highrise director of sales and marketing, of the second construction stage which will see 458 units built in two 24-storey towers atop a four-storey podium.
The suites feature stainless steel appliances and marble countertops in ensuite and main washrooms. Facilities include an indoor salt-water pool, a weight room, cardio room and yoga room, plus fourth-floor outdoor terrace with lounge and fireplace seating area, gas barbecues, a bar area and covered trellis.
With access to several major transit routes, IQ is a short drive to the Gardiner Expressway, two GO train stations, and on a TTC bus route to Islington subway station. The south Etobicoke waterfront is minutes away, as is Toronto’s downtown core. East of the site is the Humber River ravine corridor.
Second-generation Rosetani Nick Policelli recently purchased a condo at IQ. The development’s location and modern, high-end interior designs attracted him. “And the elaborate parks that they’re going to put in the middle of the towers look very nice as well, so all those things combined are what interested me.”
Policelli wanted to stay in the neighbourhood that has meaning for him, and he has quite a few relatives who live nearby. “All of my immediate family like first cousins and aunts and uncles are here. My distant cousins and aunts and great aunt are here. Both of my parents were born in Roseto and my grandparents still live right across the street from IQ condos,” he said.
“So just growing up in that area, when the condos were released and announced, it was something that I wanted to purchase because it’s a familiar area but also, that area has been growing a lot. There’s been a lot of improvements as of lately, so that’s the reason why I purchased.”
News of the new development spread quickly through the tightly knit community. “In Italian we call them ‘paesani’ — they came in and then from one family, they introduced it to their daughter. And then from that it was just a whole group of them that came in and they know the neighbourhood very well,” said Remington Group’s Roppo.
“They just live on the north side of The Queensway, that’s where the little community is. They’re very familiar with the neighbourhood and they wanted to invest for their own use but also for their children to live nearby. There were quite a few of the second generation and the demographics in these towers seems to be between 25 and maybe 35. It’s a young group.”
Slowly evolving from an aging industrial sector, The Queensway is currently a mix of retail and residential and is one of the last holdouts in Toronto’s real estate development boom.
Roppo says it’s definitely an up-and-coming area. “It’s one of those neighbourhoods that, unless you’re from Etobicoke, you may not know it very well.
“There are neighbourhood shops and restaurants, Sherway Gardens is nearby as are some of the big box stores like IKEA and Costco.
“This is the key: it’s Etobicoke, it’s still part of Toronto. We call it West Toronto and it’s affordable living in comparison. If you still want to stay within the 416 area code it is very reasonably priced by comparison.”
PART TOWERS AT IQ CONDOMINIUMS
Location: Zorra St. and The Queensway
Developer: The Remington Group
Size: East tower has 24 storeys, 228 suites. West tower has 24 storeys, 230 suites
Suites: From 505 to 860 sq. ft.
Price:Low $200,000’s to $425, 900
Models: Ranging from studios to , two-bedroom plus den
Sales centre: 1061 The Queensway, Toronto, 416-253-5838, parktowersatiq.com