A hint of Hollywood is coming to Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood: new Oscar Residences will pay homage to the glamour of the silver screen with its name and Lifetime Developments’ collaboration with Canadian celebrity photographer George Pimentel.

Thirty of Pimentel’s black-and-white photos will hang in the common areas of the boutique condo at 500 Dupont. Oscar, at nine storeys with 155 suites, will be part of the street’s revitalization between Ossington and Kendal Aves. “The New Dupont” is one of Toronto’s few pre-planned neighbourhoods, following the guidelines of a regeneration study based largely on input from the local community and councillors. The plan calls for preservation of heritage buildings, providing retail and support for long-term residents, while improving walkability, adding green space and family resources. Buildings are to be of similar size and scope as existing neighbourhood buildings. The neighbourhood is a mix of industrial buildings, Victorian houses, art galleries, bookstores, galleries, coffee shops, bars and restaurants.

“You can see the new developments getting built, the transformation taking hold and it’s exciting,” says Lifetime Developments principal Brian Brown. “When the vision comes to life, it’s something you can see, experience and appreciate.” The revitalization will include 4,500 new residential units.

The neighbourhood is well-served by transit and residents will also be near the Green Line, a proposed linear park system along a hydro-electric corridor that will connect neighbourhoods and expand the open space network in midtown and west Toronto.

The neighbourhood is well-served by transit and residents will also be near the Green Line, a proposed linear park system along a hydro-electric corridor that will connect neighbourhoods and expand the open space network in midtown and west Toronto.

Oscar Residences is a black-and-white, precast and glass, stepped-back building with multiple terraces designed by Turner Fleischer Architect. It will be “really in sync with this neighbourhood and the type of person who wants to live here,” says Brown.

“It will have an intimate, rich feel. We paid a lot of attention to the front door, the lobby and amenity spaces. Not everyone can afford to own real estate, especially in the Annex, but they can buy a 500 to 800 square foot suite here, and it’s achievable.” Prices will start in the $500,000s.

Brown and Pimentel, a third-generation Toronto photographer who has become a fixture on red carpets and at star-studded events around the world, met several years ago at the Toronto launch of another Lifetime project, the Bisha Hotel. The event was attended by rock star Lenny Kravitz, who owns a design house and designed a floor of the hotel. Pimentel had been hired to shoot the event.

“I met Brian there, we talked and later, we went golfing,” says Pimentel. “I didn’t know a lot about him but he explained his company to me and said he had an idea for a new development and was thinking of showcasing my work.”

“We decided we wanted to work with George as an artist collaborator and he was excited by the opportunity,” says Brown. “George was part of the whole process, from deciding what the name of the building was going to be to working with Mason Design to determine where his art will go.”

“The fun part was the editing,” adds Pimentel. “I sent Brian a huge body of work. We had the actual photos and didn’t have room for them all, so we created space on the floor to look at all the 11-by-17- inch prints. It was old school.”

A collage of 15 celebrity images, and including a print of paparazzi snapping photos, will hang outside the elevator lobby. The images represent Pimentel’s style which is about “wanting to create a Fellini-type movie that’s about the tuxedo, the dress, the flashbulb — not about the celebrity face but the details of glamour,” he says. Still, Oscar residents will recognize famous faces including Brad Pitt, Kobe Bryant, Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper and Christoph Waltz, and Steven Spielberg, to name a few.

“Being in black-and-white, the photos have a richness to them,” says Brown. “It’s exciting to be able to showcase George’s work.”

The range of buyers interested in Oscar Residences is broad, says Brown, from young people who want to live in a neighbourhood close to downtown and post-secondary institutions with easy access to transit, to older adults who want to live in the Annex and don’t want the maintenance of an older home. Oscar is steps from the subway and also has high Cycling and Walk Scores.

Oscar was set to launch just as COVID-19 hit Canada, so the builders paused the project and revisited the design to further elevate and tailor it to emerging trends that would continue as the pandemic eases. For instance, areas to accommodate package deliveries have been expanded. Noting that fitness and health are even more important to people, Lifetime has become the first Toronto developer to partner with Freemotion Fitness to provide cardio and strength-building equipment as well as a comprehensive library of interactive fitness programs.

Clear Inc. air filtration systems will be used in common areas to provide good indoor air quality and water will be treated as soon as it comes into the building. There will be co-working spaces for resident to use their laptops and hold private video conferences. And pets will be accommodated.

“I’m one of those who bought a COVID puppy,” Brown admits. “We definitely saw a need for pet washing and a place for dogs to do their business. We wanted a dog social lounge where dogs could be off-leash, have different obstacles and a play area. It’s open-air, but protected.”

And, in keeping with the building’s name, there will be a theatre with large screen, sound system and tone-on-tone comfortable furnishings to create the type of movie-viewing experience that inspired Pimentel.

“I want people to look at my work and recall how Old Hollywood used to be, and reminisce,” says Pimentel.

“There’s nothing wrong with being a fan. I want people to look at the photos and remember those great movies and old movie theatres where you were in complete darkness and your focus was glued to the screen.”

Tracy Hanes is a GTA-based writer and a freelance contributor for the Star. Reach her via email: tracyhanes@yahoo.ca


Location: 500 Dupont St.

Developer: Lifetime Developments

Architect: Turner Fleischer Architect;

Interior design: Mason Design Studio

Artist collaborator: George Pimentel

Suites: 155 units from 340-1,314 sq. ft.; studio, one-bedrooms-plus-den, two-bedrooms-plus-den, three-bedrooms. Prices start in the low $500,000s

Amenities: Chef’s kitchen with dining area, fireplace lounge, fitness centre with Freemotion Fitness equipment and programs, theatre lounge, co-working space, outdoor courtyard, pet wash station and animal social lounge.

Tentative occupancy date: Fall 2023

Contact: oscarresidences.com

Source: The Star

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