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Health and wellness with a little exercise

Health and wellness with a little exercise

If you’ve caught up in the pickleball craze, it may be time to consider living in a luxury apartment. With the growing popularity of paddleboarding, courts are the latest amenity to be featured in recent GTA developments.

“Pickleball was a natural for us,” says Gary Eisen, co-founder and principal at Curated Properties, the developer of 8 Temple at the west end of Toronto’s Liberty Village, where the forward-thinking outdoor playground has stunning views of Lake Ontario.

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In a departure from the norm, exquisitely designed common areas adorn the rooftop, a space usually reserved for penthouse apartments that will now boast a world-class kitchen with pizza oven, a big-screen entertainment area, a CrossFit training area, as well as relaxing wooden saunas. To pickleball.

“Initially, the demographics were skewed towards older people – over 50 – because people were so immersed in playing tennis, but in recent studies, the growth has been stimulated by a younger demographic who enjoy the social aspect of it,” Eisen added. That court is expected to be among the first of its kind.

Health and wellness remain the guiding focus behind amenity design when it comes to luxury apartment living, evident in features such as saunas, meditation rooms and plunge pools, along with high-quality fitness centres. What’s new is the community sports and socialization component.

“There is definitely a relaxing, spa-like element to wellness, but also a sense of play, fun and sport,” says Stephen Parr, development director at Urban Capital. “Sports are the foundation of our identity – we all have some kind of competitive spirit and a desire to challenge ourselves physically.”

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M6 Condos, part of the M City development near Mississauga’s city centre, will feature a multi-purpose sports court for basketball, badminton and baseball, as well as a jogging track, outdoor pool, putting green and bocce ball court. Image from the supplier

Urban Capital and Rogers Real Estate Development’s M6 Condos, part of the M City project near Mississauga’s city centre, will feature a multi-purpose sports court for basketball, badminton and pickleball, as well as a podium running track and an outdoor pool. With a lap lane, putting green and bocce ball court. M1 Condos, located near Square One, offers an outdoor skating rink, and Barr expects it will see many residents suiting up for their first skate in the city this winter.

The focus is on helping people stay active by creating a resort-style experience just steps away from where they live. “I don’t think we’re doing anything new and mainstream. I think it’s more about how the public is starting to think about what it means to be healthy and well,” Barr says.

Popular amenities also include spaces that reflect family-centered apartment living. The more people work from home, the more developers will add co-working spaces like the zen-like offices planned for Reside on Richmond by Originate. The more people stay in their apartments as their families grow, the more indoor and outdoor children’s areas like the room filled with fun chairs in The Riv by Broccolini grow.

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The overarching goal is to create spaces that stand the test of time, Barr says. M6 Condos will boast an outdoor space for children and a playground with seating for parents, as well as a quieter indoor space with individual workstations and tables for arts and crafts. Family theater rooms are evolving to include larger flat screens and a more sophisticated party atmosphere.

“What I learned is that the theater room is already being used,” Barr says. “Some of the best case studies I’ve seen are where residents use it as a venue for kids’ birthday parties and the kids vote on what they want to watch.”

At 8 Temple, the rooftop lounge’s stunning outdoor screen, which can be viewed from both inside and outside, can take Super Bowl parties to the next level, Eisen says.

The Reside on Richmond will feature a simulation room where residents can experience their best hockey shots. Image from the supplier

Sports simulators — which once declined in popularity due to their tendency to crash — are making a comeback thanks to new iterations of the technology. The Reside on Richmond will have a simulator room where residents can try out their best hockey shots, and Gupta Group’s Yonge City Square project, next to the Don Valley Golf Course, will have a stylish entertainment lounge with a golf simulator and a bar.

“Our whole philosophy is that our projects are forward-thinking and community-focused, with great momentum and a whole-of-life focus,” Eisen says. “We try to be in tune with what people enjoy today.”

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For Barr, the latest trend in amenities is about treating sports as a casual way to get out, have fun and enjoy a sense of camaraderie. “Instead of just inviting friends over to your apartment balcony to sit and have a glass of wine, you can do it with a paddle in your hand,” he says. “That’s what I expect will come through and resonate with residents.”

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