Units with a view of Scarborough’s Highland Creek

There’ll be no “monolithic mash” at Highland Commons, which aims to draw a mix of students and retirees with mixed housing types in a scenic setting

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Toronto’s 110-square-kilometre ravine system, the most extensive of its kind internationally, has long been a magnet for upscale real-estate. Altree Developments is expecting it to be a draw for its new condo project, set to overlook the ravine of Scarborough’s Highland Creek.


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Set on a leafy three-acre lot on the south side of Military Trail between the old and new editions of Kingston Road — the former a two-lane route lined with homes and shops, the latter a six-lane highway heading for the 401 — Highland Commons’ two eight-storey buildings will contain a total of 539 suites ranging from studios to three-bedroom townhome-style units. Occupancy is slated for 2025.

According to Altree president and CEO Zev Mandelbaum, the project was inspired by the waterfront residences of Charleston, S.C., the balmy colonial berg his grandmother calls home. “I came back with a bunch of ideas and wrote out a list of 100 or so,” Mandelbaum recalls. “Then my team got together and nixed around 85 percent of them.”


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While a fishing pond didn’t make the cut, the ample leftovers suit one of Scarborough’s oldest, wealthiest and most demographically diverse areas to a tee, Mandelbaum says. “What really struck me about Charleson was how nice it is to have students, families and older people living side by side. My parents always say that when they go on vacation, they don’t want to feel 70, they want to feel 35. When you have that mix of ages, you get to experience life from different angles, and I think that’s important. This is a community that welcomes everybody and isolates nobody.”

An outdoor pool is ringed with sun loungers and barbeque areas.
An outdoor pool is ringed with sun loungers and barbeque areas. Photo by Photo courtesy of Altree Developments

Like Charleston, the surrounding Highland Creek neighbourhood has a substantial student population owing to the presence of the 123-hectare University of Toronto Scarborough campus and the Morningside Campus of Centennial College. With that in mind, Highland Commons includes a co-working and study space with private meeting rooms, a double-height party room and a full-size outdoor basketball court. Like Charleston, Highland Creek’s tidy streets and old-fashioned ambiance appeal to retirees. For that reason, the development will offer guest suites for empty-nesters to host family members, and large balconies and a communal garden for green thumbs. Families, meanwhile, are being courted with a pet wash and run, a children’s playroom with an adjacent adult lounge, a games room, a life-size outdoor chess board, and three-bedroom units with front doors and patios at street level. “Breaking up the facade into different elements enriches pedestrian life and prevents the buildings from becoming a monolithic mash,” Mandelbaum says of Kohn Architects’ omniform exterior design. “We are embracing the concept of a village surrounded by and overlooking the forest ecosystem of Highland Creek.”


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Highland Commons’ suites will range from studios to three-bedroom townhome-style units.
Highland Commons’ suites will range from studios to three-bedroom townhome-style units. Photo by Photo courtesy of Altree Developments

This is no sleepy hamlet, however. Highland Commons is five minutes by car from the Guildwood GO Station, and will be three minutes from the Eglinton East LRT station that’s slated to open at around the same time as the condo project. A two-level fitness centre is equipped with a squash court, change rooms, cardio equipment, weights and a spin area; an outdoor pool is ringed with sun loungers and barbeque areas; and rooftop amenity space includes fire pits and lounge seating. Invisible to residents but essential to animals living in and around the creek, a water balance system ensures that Highland Commons’ water use affects neither the temperature nor the flow rate of the creek below.

Since its sales launch on Nov. 10, Building 1 sold out in a matter of days, according to Mandelbaum, and Building 2 is being prepared for public sales.


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Units at Highland Commons start in the mid-$300,000s. For more information, visit

The project’s two eight-storey buildings will contain a total of 539 suites.
The project’s two eight-storey buildings will contain a total of 539 suites. Photo by Photo courtesy of Altree Developments

Three things                                                     

Starting at the southern edge of U of T Scarborough, the 500-metre Valley Land Trail traverses a 19-metre drop into the Highland Creek Ravine via a gently sloping walkway before connecting to a City-maintained path leading all the way to Lake Ontario.

Steps east of Highland Commons along Old Kingston Road, Six Social Kitchen & Wine Bar pairs a lengthy list of wines, brews, spirits and cocktails with next-level comfort food such as lobster mac and cheese and short ribs. 360 Old Kingston Rd.

Work off the mac and cheese at the nearby Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, home to fitness facilities including a climbing wall, running track, gymnasium and various swimming and diving pools. 875 Morningside Ave.



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