The inside-out condo

The inside-out condo

The sunny atrium at this west-end condo is like an indoor park for residents

Nathan Cyprys

Three decades after fleeing Toronto for the suburbs, Ieva Fraser and her husband, Malcolm, decided to buy a downtown condo and enjoy their retirement in the city. From the outside, High Park Lofts, a midrise building at the crook of Roncesvalles and Dundas, is grey and ordinary. Inside is a different story. The cheerful atrium stretches seven storeys toward a pitched glass roof that floods the lobby with light year round. The ground floor is filled with lush greenery and café tables, giving the space a vibe somewhere between a cathedral and a greenhouse.

If a condo is a neighbourhood, then High Park Lofts’ atrium is its local park. The place fills up daily with readers, loungers, snoozers and residents meeting up. There’s a library, as well as regular concerts. And for extreme caffeine freaks, there’s a coffee chat group that congregates once a week.

Many condo residents also get an indoor balcony overlooking the atrium. They use these spaces as reading nooks or home offices, so they can work from home in quiet communion with their neighbours. One woman even uses her balcony as an artist’s loft, taking advantage of the natural light from the roof. The building’s clever use of space allows residents to interact regularly, sparking a cozy neighbourhood collective that meets often for dinner parties: every year, there’s a buck-a-shuck oyster fest, a Mexican fiesta, a winter wonderland dance and a harvest feast made with produce from the condo’s community garden.


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