How Leaside is Perfecting the ‘15-Minute City’ in Toronto
Despite the name, “15-minute cities” aren’t simply focused on time.
They’re about lifestyle, sustainability, convenience and community. They’re about happy and healthy neighbourhoods — the 15-minute target is simply a way to build them.
Such a philosophy is behind The Residences of Upper East Village: keeping people close to everything they need, want, and love. Leaside, where the development is destined for, offers this opportunity for couples and young families who have matured out of several twenty-something communities strewn throughout Toronto.
Think of Leaside as Trinity-Bellwoods, but for grownups. The majority of Millennials are either approaching their ‘30s or are already well into them by now, and they want something more.
But one thing they definitely don’t want is to compromise on the quality, character, and vibrancy of their daily lives.
What Are They and Why Are They Popular
The 15-minute city concept is basic: people should be able to fulfill their daily needs within 15 minutes of their home.
The urban design principles have been around for generations with many names and versions over the years, from “pedestrian-friendly” to “walkable,” and from “living local” to “complete communities.” And now, the spotlight is on them again.
In Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo was re-elected this year with a cleaner, greener vision for the City of Light, including fewer cars, more people and bikes, and everything being close together. Closer to home, just last year, Ottawa announced desires to become the most livable mid-size city in North America. How? In 15-minute increments, with ideas borrowed from Oslo, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Portland.
And this summer, the Government of Ontario launched its own version of complete communities — centred around transit developments — learning from the successes of Vancouver, London, Sydney, Tokyo, Washington and California’s Bay Area.
Proponents say complete communities are taxpayer-friendly, economy-boosting, greener, healthier and happier. Countless studies have tied long commutes and car-based lifestyles with stress, depression, high blood pressure and obesity. Spending three hours a day in a car is a lonely, repetitive life.
And around these parts, we already have complete communities, anyway. Toronto’s most exciting neighbourhoods are filled with cafes, restaurants, shops, parks, cultural and art spaces, offices and homes — all jumbled up together, or a short streetcar away.
Those are 15-minute cities, and now, there’s a new one rising in the east.
Leaside: And the Living is Easy
In Toronto’s upper east corner, Leaside beckons as one of the most desirable areas in the city.
Long respected as one of this urban centre’s top vicinities, and one of the best neighbourhoods in which to raise a family, the area is only improving with the promise of the game-changing Eglinton LRT. The new transit extension will link a long line of eastern neighbourhoods to Yonge, drawing exciting new investments to the region.
So what does daily life look like in Leaside?
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Catching the game in a pub, reconnecting with old friends at a wine bar, going for a long hike with the dog, picking up fresh flowers on a whim, grabbing a Sunday morning espresso — it’s the 15-minute concept in action, where daily life is easy and seamless.
And entirely accessible.
When you want a good deal, big box stores and Costco cover your needs (thanks Laird). When you want to be surprised and delighted, colourful boutiques serve up unique experiences (thanks Bayview). A lush park system lets you escape the city and feel worlds away, and top-notch schools bring peace of mind for your family’s future.
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Upper East Village offers its residents the “village” experience of coziness, charm and community, but keeps the “city” experience of connection and convenience. Partnering up, starting a family, seeking greener pastures, dreaming of the future: this is a snapshot of Millennial life today.
The real estate mantra we’ve all heard a million times — “location, location, location” — is evolving into “15-minute cities,” a glimpse of the good life.
But the idea remains the same: love where you live.