Condo Living

November 3, 2023 Published by Toronto and Area Chapter - By James Russell

Profile: 35 Mariner Terrace

From the Fall 2023 issue of CCI Toronto Condovoice Magazine.

Sailing On A Sea Of Good Governance

Docked on Mariner Terrace, the majestic Barca Volate ("Flying Boat") is a 20 metre tall, black steel sculpture of an ocean-going schooner, lovingly crafted by Chilean artist Francisco Francisco Gazitúa. With its bow pointed east, the schooner sails masterly through both placid and turbulent seas with skill and grace, perfectly symbolising the good governance, exemplary leadership and unwavering commitment to excellence exhibited by 35 Mariner Terrace's Board of Directors.

Thirty-five Mariner Terrace is a sprawling community within City Place, a development perched on former railway lands bordered by Bathurst on the west, Lake Shore to the south, Front Street to the north and the Rogers Centre to the east. Not many Torontonians realise that our entire harbourfront from the ferry docks to Front Street was built atop a hundred feet or so of bottom muck dredged from Lake Ontario. Front Street is so accurately named because the lake's waters once lapped at that downtown street's southern curb.

Completed in 2005, 35 Mariner Terrace is one of three corporations and five addresses: 9 Spadina Ave., 3 and 10 Navy Wharf, 5 Mariner Terrace, and a group of six townhouses that comprise the Harbour View Estate's community. Thirty-five Mariner Terrace's gleaming, forty-five physical floors, houses five-hundred and fifteen one, and two-bedroom suites and eight penthouses. Philippe Benayon, the Board's Vice-President, accurately describes it as, "a little city".

In addition to the building's coveted location and expansive three hundred and-sixty degree view of the GTA and Lake Ontario, the residents of 35 Mariner Terrace share a two-thousand eight-hundred square metre Super Club complex with its sister buildings. The complex contains an impressive list of amenities that includes: fitness, weights, rowing and spin area, billiards, table tennis, a cyber café, virtual golf, theatre, party rooms, guest suites, running track, full-sized basketball court, squash courts, a twenty-five metre pool with an adjacent Jacuzzi and, unique to any North American condominium complex, a two-lane bowling alley!

Outdoors, Harbour View Estate features a full-size tennis court, six barbecues, an off-leash area for dogs, seven water features, a children's playground, and an expansive picnic area whose quiet serenity would gratify even the likes of Mr. Thoreau.

"The (Super Club) amenities are a huge draw," says their Board's President, Cathy Connally who lived previously in a Queen St. West building bereft of even the usual perks, “A lot of people live here because of that (the Super Club's facilities)." Back in the early 2000s, Cathy was so impressed by Harbour View Estate's amazing range of activities, facilities, and central location that she purchased her unit when 35 Mariner Terrace was just ink lines on paper. On move-in day, Cathy and her other pioneering mariners received a 'welcome' gym bag full of goodies, which included, along with other items, the keys to their units and a DVD documenting Barca Volate's construction. For Director Michael Stach, it was "location, affordability and service" that drew him from his former residence in High Park to 35 Mariner Terrace. "There's nothing like this in the downtown area," he says.

"We have a lot of families," says Cathy of the building's demographic mix, which she attributes to the close proximity of three schools, one public, one Catholic and a Montessori - all just a short walk from 35 Mariner Terrace. Another draw for families and singles is Harbour View Estate's active social calendar, which includes celebrating the usual year's events as well as their wildly popular annual BBQ, which, pre-pandemic, was attracting more than six hundred residents. "We will hold another one in mid-September and those (numbers) will be at least the same," says Cathy.

Over the past few years, when traditional Trick-or-Treating activities were banned or discouraged throughout Toronto, members of the corporation's security patrol delivered candy, door-to-door, to the building's resident ghosts, goblins and the occasional hatchet killer splattered with red corn syrup. A spooky task for security staff but not nearly as stressful as what 35 Mariner Terrace's newly-formed Board faced the day the builder turned the corporation over to them.

"We had no board experience, so we had to put a lot of faith in our PM," says Philippe, a member of 35 Mariner Terrace's first Board, when recounting the corporation's beginnings. The business of engineering reports, reserve fund studies, performance audits, the need to address structural deficiencies, and drafting of bylaws and rules are formidable challenges for any new Board, yet the five directors of 35 Mariner Terrace successfully navigated every storm. "But it was tough. There were monthly three, four-hour meetings (at the Board's beginnings)," says Philippe who then adds, "The learning curve was steep, very steep. You don't know what it takes to maintain a building of this size that is connected to three other buildings of this size."

Helmed by their able captain, Cathy Connally, 35 Mariner Terrace's five-member crew is made up of Michael Stach, Director; Peter Makowchik, Treasurer and a member of the original Board; Michael McCleary, Secretary; and Vice President Philippe Benayon. "What's nice about having (original members) Philippe and Peter on the Board is their past knowledge (of the corporation's history)," says Cathy.

During their monthly board meetings, the expertise, experience and love of their community that each member brings to the meetings facilitates the Board's detailed analysis and efficient decision-making related to often complicated issues. "I'm proud of how we (the Board members) work together," says Cathy with the joy of any captain of a well-run luxury liner proudly exhibiting the bow-to-stern stout and grace of 35 Mariner Terrace's profile. "We are very proactive about taking care of things that could go wrong and not waiting for things to go wrong," says Cathy. "We're not just fixing problems here, we're projecting problems (that may come in the future)," adds Michael. Ever aware of the importance of communication, the Board uses the electronic screens in the building's elevators to inform residents about activities and issues in their building and neighbourhood.

The Board of 35 Mariner Terrace is represented on Harbour View Estate's Shared Services Committee, a group made up of two representatives from each of the three corporations. The Committee is tasked with matters affecting the underground garage, landscaping, yards, tennis courts, their Super Club, and the Estates' fire systems. The Shared Services Committee also provides the three corporations, "with improved buying power" says Philippe, a cost-saving well-appreciated by both the Board and Anila Cvilo, 35 Mariner Terrace's energetic and knowledgeable Property Manager. Having nearly a decade of management experience, Anila has well-earned the Board's confidence as from day-one she has been instrumental in keeping the corporation on course and even-keeled. "I have been lucky to work with this Board," says Anila who convinced Bell Canada to sponsor 35 Mariner Terrace's wildly popular Ice Cream Social event. The ice cream cones and cups, handed out by a friendly 'ice cream barista' in a bright white truck, are a welcome relief for residents sweltering through Toronto's notoriously muggy summer.

The building's 24-hour concierge service, cleaning and internal security are contracted out by the Board of 35 Mariner Terrace. A separate security team, some on foot and some in golf carts, patrol the sprawling grounds and avenues of Harbour View Estates.

As with any building that has reached the Age of Majority, 35 Mariner Terrace has begun to show its age, necessitating recent renovations that included:

  • Replacing all the dated faux wood foyer panels with huge ceramic tile to make entering and exiting the elevator a more ascetically pleasing experience for residents and visitors alike.
  • A half-million dollar, much-needed, renovation of their elevators which took some lifts out of service for months at a time.
  • A major refurbishment of the hallways in their three-level underground parking garage.

With those projects completed, the Board has in the plans:

  • The replacement of their interconnected fire system so that an opened fire door, water pressure drop or actual blaze in one of her sister buildings does not set the warning bells ringing at 35 Mariner Terrace.
  • A renovation of their two-level lobby and concierge's station.
  • And a complete restoration of the impressive fountain at the entrance after it was discovered that water was leaking through the subsurface membrane into the underground garage.

Large, visible projects, are of course the ones that residents and visitors notice but, "We (the Board) do a lot of stuff that residents don't see," says Philippe, but as every Board of a well-run corporation like 35 Mariner Terrace knows, the ability to manage a million-dollar corporation so seamlessly that residents remain blissfully unaware of the work and planning that goes on 'behind the velvet curtain' is a skill mastered by only the most efficient and fiscally responsible Boards.

"I think it's one of the nicest pieces of art and I'm glad that they (the builders) did it. I love it," Michael says of Barca Volate. Although sculptor Francisco Gazitua constructed his flying boat to give it an upward trajectory as if it were about to take flight over an angry ocean wave, 35 Mariner Terrace sails steadily on a placid sea of good management and fiscal responsibility that even the strongest easterly gale, sudden economic upheaval, giant, vindictive whale or jagged, stealth iceberg will never sink their "little city".

James Russell
Newsletters et Cetera


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