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Meet One of the Waterfront’s First New Residents: Dr. Yair Lenga

Jul 31, 2014

Dr. Yair Lenga is one of the first new residents in Toronto's West Don Lands neighbourhood.

Last spring, residents began moving in to River City, the first private residential development in the West Don Lands. We went out to meet one of them, Dr. Yair Lenga and take a look at his new home in one of Toronto’s hottest new neighbourhoods.

By Tari Stork

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Yair Lenga, one of the first new residents to move into Urban Capital’s River City 1. Yair generously agreed to meet with me to talk about why he chose River City and the rapidly emerging new West Don Lands community as a home.

Located at the corner of King Street East and Lower River Street, River City is the first private sector development project in the West Don Lands. Winner of BILD’s Best Design Award, River City is a four-phase LEED Gold development, which when complete will offer 1,100 loft-style condominiums, family-friendly townhouses and ground floor retail.  

River City 1 as viewed from the intersection of King Street East and Lower River Street.

Phase 1 of River City, viewed from the intersection of King Street East and Lower River Street.

Phase 1, where Yair lives, is made up of two buildings, each with soaring lobbies that are connected via a three-storey, enclosed bridge. The buildings have striking black exteriors and contemporary stylings that reflect the unique industrial heritage of the area and River City’s site and surroundings. Yair’s one-bedroom-plus-den suite has striking 270-degree views of the city, the Don River and trails and Corktown Common, the neighbourhood’s signature park.

When I arrived, Yair greeted me with a warm and engaging smile and introduced me to Shaina, his friendly British Lab who also gave me a warm greeting.

Tari Stork (TS):  Yair, thank you for agreeing to speak with me. Please tell me a bit about yourself…

Yair Lenga (YL): I’m a periodontist and native Torontonian. I’ve lived here all my life and I now practice here. I have a strong love of architecture.  In fact, I studied architecture before I pursued dentistry, so when I was looking for a new home I wanted something with great architecture and easy transportation options because I also have a practice in Ajax. I also wanted a place where I could walk out my door and take Shaina for a walk.

TS:          Why did you choose to buy in this area?

YR:         When I was living in the St. Clair area, I felt removed from the urban experience. Growing up I spent a lot of time at the waterfront in the summer because it’s always been one of my favourite spots, and for the past several years I’ve spent most of my time in the Queen Street East area. I love the energy, the shops, the people, so when I decided to look for a new home it just made sense to look here.  

I had also heard a lot about what was happening in the area and was extremely impressed by Waterfront Toronto’s plans – every detail was carefully and thoughtfully planned and designed. There’s a great vibe in this neighbourhood – lots of young, urban professionals, the heritage of Corktown, and a really nice community feel that’s only getting better as new shops and restaurants move in. I had the feeling that with all of the changes underway, “this is going to be the place to live”.

Great transportation options at my doorstep were a big draw. There’s lots of ways in and out of the neighbourhood. Transit is at my door and I can hop on my bike and be on the trails within a minute or downtown in 10. With a practice in Ajax being a five-minute drive from major highways was also really appealing.

Waterfront Toronto’s amazing new parks in this neighbourhood also made the area really appealing. I didn’t have any greenspace in my last location so I wanted a neighbourhood with good facilities for Shaina and I to hang out. Having Corktown Common just outside my door was a huge incentive. We spend a lot of time there and enjoy every minute.

TS:          Why did you choose River City?

YR:         There were a bunch of reasons.  As I mentioned, the location was a very big draw, but the architecture of River City was, too. River City’s contemporary design really appealed to me – the clean lines, the colours, materials, etc. I wasn’t seeing anything like it anywhere in the city and I don’t think there is going to be anything else like it. It was also the first project underway with Waterfront Toronto in the area and I wanted to get in early. I came opening weekend and bought my unit that day.

TS:          Why did you choose this unit?

YR:         I think it’s the jewel of the development. The design teamed adhered to “form follows function” and it’s not a typical “cookie cutter” unit.  Every square inch of my suite is well designed – there’s no wasted space. It’s open concept, so it’s designed for how modern people live.  I have a very good size balcony so I’ve also got outdoor space and don’t have to go to the park to get outside.

I also chose this unit because it has three walls of glass with amazing views. The striking views of the city and the Don Valley Parkway are quintessentially Toronto and I can look out and see a streetcar going by, people walking, biking, or canoeing down the Don River. When Corktown Common is finished it will come right up to my building, so my views will always be stunning - and unobstructed.

I’ve lived here five months and I’m really happy with my choice. I love this city. Having watched it grow and evolve, it feels like we’re in the “Age of Toronto” and living in River City is a reflection of my taste, interests and passions. I expect to be here for a long time enjoying the neighbourhood as it grows and evolves.

A view of the interior of Dr. Lenga's apartment in River City 1.

Yair’s living room has an expansive 270-degree view that overlooks Corktown Common, the Don River and surrounding neighbourhoods.

I started working on the West Don Lands project in 2010, when the area still resembled the abandoned brownfield site it had been for so long. I was excited by the plans for the area and one of my fondest memories of that time is when we broke ground on Corktown Common. Fast forward four and one-half years and Corktown Common is a spectacular new green space and the West Don Lands is Toronto’s hottest new neighbourhood.

It was great to meet Yair and discover that Waterfront Toronto’s plans and vision are what inspired him to look at the area, and the energy, architecture, parks and amenities convinced him to make River City his home. Welcome to the neighbourhood, Yair!

post contributor

  • Tari Stork

    Tari Stork was a communications manager at Waterfront Toronto. Her favourite things are rocks, trees, water and mid-century architecture. When not spending time renovating her humble abode, you’ll find her laughing at her cats or hitting the road to check out off-the-beaten-path restos and architectural salvage spots.