Room outside to run and play, room inside to accommodate toys and strollers. Active amenities like pools and ping pong. Nearby daycare and schools. Other kids in the building. These are some of the things that make for successful family living in a condo. And from all appearances, the market seems to be getting the message, moving toward more family-friendly condominium communities. Many of the more noticeable changes are coming from the communities and neighbourhoods themselves. In the city of Toronto the number of preschool-age kids is rising fastest where condo towers are going up. There’s even a name for this new generational event: the rise of CondoKids. Throughout downtown, businesses that once operated in what they considered “no kid zones” are now starting to cater to the needs of families. Fitness clubs are adding mom-and-tot Pilates and yoga sessions. At restaurants, the first sitting of the night is often for families, complete with paper placemats and cupfuls of broken crayons. Coffee shops are beginning to host regular play dates. Families are changing the way public amenities are used, too. The demand on parks, libraries and community centers is increasing. At the Toronto Public Library, typical patrons spent 20 minutes picking out a book to take home. Now, they settle in with their kids and laptops to stay for an hour or more. The library has adjusted by re-configuring its spaces, expanding children’s areas and installing more desks with nearby electrical outlets for recharging.
Parents can be inventive, too. They are learning how to do much more with much less space. They’ve become quite space savvy and are committed to some definite do’s and don’ts. “Don’t get a Jolly Jumper—some condos lack a suitable door frame, and the downstairs neighbours will complain.” “If your child doesn’t take to a toy right away, give it to Goodwill.” “Make sure a stroller folds completely down—if it doesn’t, don’t buy it.” Condo developers and property manager are adapting, too. You’ll see more features like creative recreation areas, crafts rooms, play zones and splash pads. You begin to find suites with deeper closets, more space in the living room, and areas where parents and children can meet other condo residents to play and get to know each other. With all this in mind, our top three family-friendly condos in the King West area are:
King West Condos offers many family-friendly amenities. You can enjoy the lounge with its televisions, a movie theatre, and a large game room for ping-pong, foosball, air hockey, shuffle table and more. And, as with all the properties in the King West neighborhood, there are many fun activities in the area, including visiting Centre Island, taking a stroll through the Art Gallery of Toronto or the Royal Ontario Museum, or going to the top of the CN Tower. Catch the Blue Jays or the Maple Leafs for an exciting game of baseball or hockey. And kids love the food trucks that are everywhere in the neighbourhood.
Westside Lofts, located at the intersection of King West and Bathurst Streets, is a 14 storey converted office building with 200 units. Close to Queen West, Gardiner Expressway and the harbor front, Westside Lofts offers easy access to some of the most family-friendly attractions and areas of the city. The intelligent and efficient layout of the suites gives a sense of spaciousness and the centrally located kitchen makes it perfect for friends and family. Parents will appreciate a serene master bedroom. The second or third bedrooms make for a great home office or nursery. As a family, you’ll find a lot to love at Westside Lofts.
Harbour View Estates offers some larger units and features active amenities such as a pool, games room, squash and tennis courts, as well as an outdoor patio and garden. There is daycare nearby in CityPlace and Waterfront, and families will find lots to do at outdoor parks like Canoe Landing and the Harbourfront parks. With all this, Harbour View Estates provides an excellent example of what a family-friendly condo can look like.