On May 2, 2022, Canada’s premiere “restoration economy” real estate redeveloper, Windmill Developments, announced that they are transforming a gas station and garage into a bike-centric, mid-rise development in The Beaches neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario.
The 8-story, 57-suite boutique community, called Courcelette, is designed to embrace outdoor living and facilitate a sense of community among residents.
Taking inspiration from its proximity to green space and Lake Ontario, Courcelette intends to meet the highest green standards and “embrace happiness as an amenity”. The community will follow the One Planet Living framework, which comprises ten principles, including measurements around active transportation, health, and happiness.
“Courcelette is a fantastic case in sustainable development, one where we are reimagining a gas station and car-centric business into a sustainable, bike-centric community,” says Jonathan Westeinde, the CEO and Founder of Windmill Developments.
“Not only that, but a lot of thought was put into the design and amenities, where we asked ourselves how we could make happiness an amenity in an intimate building in a unique corner of the city,” he added.
In line with the One Planet Living framework’s happiness principle, Courcelette’s design will encourage active and social lifestyles that promote good health and well-being.
This is seen through thoughtfully placed and programmed amenity spaces, which are designed to facilitate opportunities for people to get to know one another.
The interiors, designed by TACT Design, take cues from the surrounding neighbourhood and the building’s proximity to green space and the lake.
The building features rich, yet simple, stone- and wood-like materials to create a calm and comfortable oasis.
The community-centric amenities are designed to facilitate socialization and optimal outdoor living. The lobby features small nooks and seating for residents to work or socialize.
Adjacent to the lobby, and connected through glazing, is a gathering room, which can be used as an extension of residents living and dining rooms to have dinners, meetings, or social events.
The ground level gym includes a light-filled yoga space, cardio equipment and weights. On the seventh floor, small internal amenities support large outdoor common terraces with barbecues, dining, seating, and a fire pit, all with spectacular views of Lake Ontario.
“Courcelette is designed to encourage people to get to know each other. We paid close attention to how the spaces will be used and how people will interact, optimizing them for livability and comfort,” says Michael Krus, Principal, TACT Design. “Using simple, natural materials, we’re creating a feeling of elegance akin to the English countryside, making Courcelette a calm space for residents to come home to.”
With architecture by RAW Design, the building is grounded in its local roots, with masonry cladding that knits the building seamlessly into the community. The textures and materiality are respectful to the surrounding neighbourhood, naturally integrating it into the evolving fabric. The building features neighbourhood-focused retail on the ground level and every suite has a balcony.
“Courcelette has been designed to complement the neighbourhood character along Kingston Road, one that has grown and evolved in the last several years,” says Roland Colthoff, Director, RAW Design.
“The building is respectful of its surroundings, becoming a piece of the puzzle in the beaches community that people are eager to be a part of,” he continued.
As with all Windmill projects, Courcelette will be highly sustainable, targeting a LEED Platinum certification and aiming to meet the Toronto Green Standards, Tier 2. The building features a high-performance envelope and a geo-thermal system for heating and cooling.
It will also have electric vehicle chargers and infrastructure. In addition to one bike parking space per suite, the building has a dedicated bike entrance and a bike repair/wash station. Residents, tenants, and the neighbouring community will have access to a car share program.
Located at Kingston and Courcelette Roads in the Upper Beaches area of Toronto’s East End, Courcelette is minutes away from Lake Ontario, the beach, and steps from Blantye Park. An extensive trail system is right at the building’s doorstep.
Courcelette will receive funding from the One Planet Living Fund, an impact real estate investment fund developed by Windmill and Epic Investment Services.
The Fund was designed to accelerate the implementation of impact investing principles in real estate while generating market returns. By launching The Fund, Windmill and Epic are hoping to popularize the adoption of the One Planet Living framework across Canada and North America with an initial focus in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and Ottawa.
Images courtesy of Windmill Development.