September 7, 2017

Globe and Mail – Home Of The Week

Star-gazing – above and below

Home of the Week, 80 John St. Penthouse 04.

Home of the Week, 80 John St. Penthouse 04


ASKING PRICE: $2,498,000

TAXES: $13,801.96 (2017)

MAINTENANCE FEE: $2,231.62 a month

UNIT SIZE: 2,559 sq. ft.

LISTING AGENTS: Dylan Donovan and Kristen Duern, sales representatives, Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd. brokerage

The tower rises above the TIFF Lightbox theatre.

The tower rises above the TIFF Bell Lightbox theatre.

Sitting atop of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Festival Tower has always been wrapped in celebrity allure. Everyone who lives in the building seems to have a story of a “sighting.”

For Silvana Simioni, who owns Penthouse 04, she recalls that one time her sister saw Keith Urban in the lobby. And Ms. Simioni’s real estate agent, Kristen Duern, says she has heard that Jake Gyllenhaal has rented a unit in the glass tower.

It’s no wonder that the tower becomes one of the stakeout points for fans during the Toronto International Film Festival.

“There is this feeling in the air around here when TIFF happens,” said Ms. Duern. “It’s so much excitement and so lively.”

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The back story

The balcony view from the Festival Tower penthouse.

The balcony view from the Festival Tower penthouse.


In 2014, Ms. Simioni was on the hunt for a new condo for her and her two kids with a million-dollar-plus budget.

At one point, her agent brought her to a two-bedroom unit in Festival Tower. She was impressed, but then her agent suggested they also take a peek at one of the penthouse suites that was also vacant.

“And I thought: ‘This is pretty spectacular,'” said Ms. Simioni. “I had never seen anything like it.”

The central living space of Penthouse 4 at 80 John St.

The central living space of Penthouse 4 at 80 John St.

Even though she ended up looking at other luxury penthouses, she ultimately returned to 80 John St.

“What really did it for me was that I loved the building.”

Festival Tower, which was developed by Daniels Corp. with the backing of Canadian filmmaker Ivan Reitman, features 378 units – eight of which are penthouses. It has all of the regular amenities owners have come to expect, such as an indoor pool, gym and 24-hour concierge service.

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In addition to that, it comes with some other amenities that are tailor-made for film lovers, including a 55-seat private cinema that owners can rent out, as well as a three-year membership to the TIFF Bell Lightbox and entry to three movies during the festival and inclusion to some VIP events.

All of these perks certainly appealed to Ms. Simioni but what sealed the deal for her was something that wasn’t advertised on the condo’s website.

“There is something about the feel and the friendliness of the people who live here,” she said. “There isn’t any pretentiousness.”

So she bought it, becoming the suite’s second owner since it was completed in 2007. Originally, her intent was to live there with her kids but then things changed and she never actually moved into the unit, instead letting her sister live there before renting it out.

The kitchen boasts Miele appliances and a breakfast nook.

The kitchen boasts Miele appliances and a breakfast nook.


The unit is situated on the 45th floor and consists of three bedrooms, three full bathrooms and one powder room. It also has a closed-off kitchen with Miele appliances and a breakfast nook that currently houses a table that seats six people.

“This kitchen is great for parties cause you can close the door and the living-dining room space is big enough that you don’t feel like you need the kitchen space,” Ms. Simioni said. “That way you can make a mess in there.”

The penthouse also has two balconies – one to the east and one along the southern edge – each with two access doors.

The master suite features two walk-in closets and two ensuite bathrooms.

The master suite features two walk-in closets and two bathrooms.

And the master suite includes two full bathrooms (one with a bidet and a jacuzzi tub, the other with a shower) and two walk-in closets, as well as access to the southern balcony.

“You feel like you’re in a world of your own,” said Ms. Simioni on the bedroom’s balcony. “Even though, you’re in middle of it all – steps away from everything – up here, it can be so quiet.”

One of the master bedroom's two walk-in closets.

One of the master bedroom’s two walk-in closets.

Over the term of her ownership, Ms. Simioni has made some improvements on the unit, mainly on the closet spaces, where she has added custom mill-work to give the storage spaces some organization.

She has also added in a number of media cabinets, including two with built-in fireplaces, as well as a massive one that hide a Murphy bed in the unit’s smallest bedroom. Other additions include motorized shades throughout and some new light fixtures.

“Since my original intent was to live here, I put in the money in to make it look nice and homey,” Ms. Simioni said.

The two balconies can be accessed from different doors, including one in this bedroom.

The two balconies can be accessed from different doors, including one in this bedroom.


Even though her family didn’t live there, Ms. Simioni and her agent, Ms. Duern, think this penthouse offers an opportunity for another family.

“I think this unit appeals not just to people already living in the city but also to people moving in from the suburbs,” Ms. Duern said. “Not just because you have some outdoor space with the balconies, but also because you get over 2,500 square feet and three bedrooms.”

Favourite features

The 686 sq.ft. living room / dining room area offers spectacular views.

The 686 sq. ft. living-dining area offers spectacular views.


Both Ms. Simioni and Ms. Duern say their favourite space is living-dining room area, which is bigger than some condos at 686 sq. ft.

“It’s even bigger than most downtown homeowner’s living-dining room spaces,” Ms. Duern added.

That room also features huge windows along the eastern and southern walls, providing views of the financial district, CN Tower, Rogers Centre and Lake Ontario.

The view south from the Festival Tower.

The view south from the Festival Tower.

“I find that as soon as you walk in here, the view just captivates you,” said Ms. Duern. “And while you’re in the heart of everything, once you come up here with the view of the lake, it’s calming.”

Even after three years of owning the space, Ms. Simioni says the views still impress her.

“At night time, this view is pretty spectacular with all of the lights,” she said. “And I love the fact that you can see Toronto from every room.”