Homes on lucrative land with new street names fly off the shelf

Sometimes, it isn’t in the name.

As three new street designations near Goldhawk Trail and Alton Towers Circuit were set for approval by Scarborough Community Council on Tuesday, 75 single-unit homes were already sold two days after the naming applications were sent out.

The proposed street names, requested by Treasure Hill Home Corp. vice-president Joran Weiner, are Peony Crescent, Porcelain Terrace and Serenity Court.

Those names were “intended to recognize the local Asian community,” according to a city staff report, but Weiner said the names held no particular significance.

“We put forward about 25 different names that seemed to flow from Goldhawk Trail,” he said, adding that a feng shui expert was consulted. “There was nothing behind it, but I think the report had to say that.”

That led to the motion to approve the names, and some unexpected problems.

Some people cannot pronounce ‘peony.’ Some people look at it as ‘phony,’ which is a bad name.

— Chin Lee

Concerns over the pronunciation of Peony Crescent forced Scarborough-Rouge River councillor Chin Lee (Ward 41) to amend the name to Curling Crescent in recognition of Alvin Curling, a prominent Liberal who represented the riding provincially until 2005.

“Some people cannot pronounce ‘peony.’ Some people look at it as ‘phony,’ which is a bad name,” Lee said. “Some people lobbied for it to change.”

According to the staff report, the request to name the three streets was approved by Lee, police and fire services, and the Scarborough Preservation Panel.

Emergency Medical Services raised concerns that Peony Street in Markham and Serenity Lane in Brampton may overlap with the proposed names and cause confusion when responding to calls.

The streets in question, though, will have different street type designations, the staff report states.

And while the city has policies restricting the use of people’s names in streets, Lee hopes the amended motion will receive final approval at city council to “ensure [Curling] feels honoured.”

“I hope that the residents in the area support this because we have to get an exemption from the city policy,” Lee said.

According to Weiner, Treasure Hill purchased four hectares of land, adjacent to Agnes Macphail Public School near McCowan Road and Steeles Avenue East after the Toronto District School Board deemed it surplus to requirements. The 75 homes then sold, fetching between $600,000 and $800,000.

“They sold unbelievably well, and there was a lot of demand for them,” Weiner said in a phone interview Wednesday. “We’re very, very happy and I think those people who purchased them are very happy.”

His company will be involved in the construction of the houses, expected to be completed within 18 months. The lots range between 35 and 45 feet wide.

Weiner called the deal on the land “very rare,” especially with the provincial Places to Grow Act legislated in 2005. The act restricts development of land around the Green Belt.

Even with the act in place, Weiner was not surprised at the rate the houses sold.

“When you’re in an established residential community, houses fly off the shelf because all the services that people want are already there like libraries, commercial plazas, schools and transit,” he said. “It is very rare, it doesn’t happen very often … but the demand was ridiculous.”

An online registration process turned up 200 applicants.

“If we didn’t do the appointment-only way, we probably would’ve sold it in a day,” Weiner said, noting that it would have otherwise overwhelmed the sales office.