This summer, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty took a regulatory hammer to Canada’s housing markets, causing condo sales to plummet in Toronto, and sinking Vancouver house prices by jaw-dropping margins.

Or so the finance and real estate industries would have you believe.

To hear Canada’s banks, industry groups and even the Conference Board tell it, the slowdown that descended on many Canadian housing markets over the summer is the fault of the strict new mortgage rules Flaherty put into place this past June.

"To the surprise of no one, following the introduction of the most recent rule changes, sales activity ratcheted down," said Gregory Klump, chief economist at the Canadian Real Estate Association, in announcing a 15.1-per-cent year-on-year decline in home sales for September.

The Toronto Real Estate Board chimed in: “Some households have put their home purchase plans on hold in response to the higher cost of home ownership brought about by the recent changes to mortgage lending guidelines.”

The industry has good reason to maintain this narrative. For one, it makes it seem like falling sales volumes and prices are all "part of the plan," nothing to worry about. (Not true.) And it also deflects uncomfortable questions about the role of real estate developers, agents, banks and industry groups in creating the inflated house prices Canada has seen in recent years.

The media are happy to go along with it, because it offers a neat and simple explanation for why Canada's decade-long housing boom is coming to a halt. The only problem is, this isn’t what’s happening.

PHOTOS: THE COOLEST, CRAZIEST CONDOS GOING UP IN TORONTO

First the background: Flaherty tightened the rules for mortgages for the fourth time in as many years this past June, reducing the maximum length of a mortgage insured by the CMHC to 25 years from 30, effectively making that the maximum amortization period for most Canadians who take out mortgages. He also reduced the maximum amount you can borrow against the value of your house to 80 per cent from 85 per cent. These changes, like the previous ones, were aimed at ensuring that Canada's rising home prices weren't due to irresponsible lending and borrowing.

The be sure, this will have a cooling effect on the housing market. There are prospective home buyers who just can’t afford the extra $140 per month, on average, that the shorter mortgage periods represent. Some homebuyers have just been priced out of the market. But can that alone explain the 70-per-cent drop in condo sales in Toronto, or the nine-per-cent drop in house prices in Vancouver?

Highly unlikely. TD Bank forecast the impact of the mortgage rule changes on the housing market and found it would amount to a three per cent decrease in house prices -- far less than what Vancouver, for one, has already seen. Not to mention, we’ve had three previous rounds of mortgage rule tightening since 2008, and none of them tipped the market downward. Clearly, something else is happening here.

The housing market’s fundamentals aren’t looking good. Standing in the way is that pesky basic law of economics — supply and demand. In some Canadian markets, those two things have become entirely detached from one another.

As the CEOs of both BMO and RBC have attested, Canada’s real estate market is simply overbuilt -- particularly in Toronto, where condo construction has grown so thoroughly out of hand that there are now twice as many high-rises going up there as there are in New York City.

PHOTOS: NORTH AMERICAN CITIES WITH THE MOST HIGH-RISES UNDER CONSTRUCTION

And more, much more, construction is being planned.

In Vancouver, where residential construction has been somewhat more restrained than in Toronto in recent years, the supply-demand disconnect is reflected in prices, which have flown so high that Vancouver has nearly as many houses listed for sale over $1 million as sell in the entire United States in a month. The city's housing costs ranked as the second least affordable in the world, after Hong Kong, in a recent survey.

Across the country, house prices are now 35 per cent higher relative to income than has been the long-term trend through history, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney noted earlier this year.

Simply put, prices are too high. Canadians aren't earning enough to justify these price levels. And closely linked to this is the elephant in the room: debt.

It has never been cheaper to take on debt in Canada. With a global financial crisis busting out all around, the Bank of Canada dropped its base interest rate to one per cent in January, 2009, and it has stayed at or below that level for nearly four years now.

Some economists argue this is an excessively expansionary policy that has overheated Canada’s housing market. (Plenty of others would say that, given the damage taking place in other parts of the economy, those low rates were necessary.)

All this has had an alarming effect on household balance sheets. StatsCan recently revised its measurement of household debt to make it more in line with international norms, and found the debt-to-income ratio hovering at a record 163.4 per cent, higher than the level the U.S. had when its housing market began a years-long decline half a decade ago.

That offers more of a clue to why Canada’s housing market has peaked and appears to be on a downward trajectory. It’s basic mathematics writ small in the finances of households across the country — there’s just no more breathing room to borrow more money.

Add to that the phenomenon of foreign investors bailing on condos, at least in Toronto, and you have a pretty perfect storm for a housing slowdown.

And, if anything, the adjustments to the mortgage rules were too little, too late.

What should happen in a market like this is a re-balancing — or a correction, if you prefer. Whatever the terminology, house prices have to come down relative to incomes. Then and only then can they return to healthy, stable levels of growth.

Our finance minister agrees with this.

It’s better to have some softening in the market rather than have sudden movement,” Flaherty said this summer, talking about the new mortgage rules.

But can “softening” be achieved at this point? Or has the housing market become so out of balance that there’s simply no way to avoid a hard landing? That, of course, is the big question these days.

Yet however you slice it, this is one phenomenon that you can’t pin on last-minute regulatory changes. So blame it on excessive debt. Blame it on over-enthusiastic realtors, or homebuyers who have finally drawn a line in the sand on house prices.

Just don't blame it on Harper and Flaherty. All they did was close the barn doors after the horses had fled, and help the chickens come home to roost.

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  • Newfoundland: $2.5 Million

    This surprisingly modest house at 34 Battery Road in St. John's is a historic property dating back to the 1870s. The six-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot house overlooks St. John's Harbour and suggests that, on the Rock, even the wealthy are down-to-earth. Source: <a href="http://remax.nf.ca/">Re/Max</a>

  • Newfoundland: $2.5 Million

    This surprisingly modest house at 34 Battery Road in St. John's is a historic property dating back to the 1870s. The six-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot house overlooks St. John's Harbour and suggests that, on the Rock, even the wealthy are down-to-earth. Source: <a href="http://remax.nf.ca/">Re/Max</a>

  • Newfoundland: $2.5 Million

    This surprisingly modest house at 34 Battery Road in St. John's is a historic property dating back to the 1870s. The six-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot house overlooks St. John's Harbour and suggests that, on the Rock, even the wealthy are down-to-earth. Source: <a href="http://remax.nf.ca/">Re/Max</a>

  • Prince Edward Island: $6.9 Million

    If Anne of Green Gables were around today sh'ed probably want to switch up her seven-gabled house for this 13,000-square-foot home that overlooks the red-earth bluffs of P.E.I.'s north coast. Six bedrooms and nine bathrooms feature in this house that sits on 11 acres of land. Source: <a href="http://www.century21pei.com/">Century 21 Northumberland</a>

  • Prince Edward Island: $6.9 Million

    If Anne of Green Gables were around today sh'ed probably want to switch up her seven-gabled house for this 13,000-square-foot home that overlooks the red-earth bluffs of P.E.I.'s north coast. Six bedrooms and nine bathrooms feature in this house that sits on 11 acres of land. Source: <a href="http://www.century21pei.com/">Century 21 Northumberland</a>

  • Prince Edward Island: $6.9 Million

    If Anne of Green Gables were around today sh'ed probably want to switch up her seven-gabled house for this 13,000-square-foot home that overlooks the red-earth bluffs of P.E.I.'s north coast. Six bedrooms and nine bathrooms feature in this house that sits on 11 acres of land. Source: <a href="http://www.century21pei.com/">Century 21 Northumberland</a>

  • Prince Edward Island: $6.9 Million

    If Anne of Green Gables were around today sh'ed probably want to switch up her seven-gabled house for this 13,000-square-foot home that overlooks the red-earth bluffs of P.E.I.'s north coast. Six bedrooms and nine bathrooms feature in this house that sits on 11 acres of land. Source: <a href="http://www.century21pei.com/">Century 21 Northumberland</a>

  • New Brunswick: $2.5 Million

    You can really get some space for your money in New Brunswick. This 20-bedroom, 11-bathroom resort in Alma, N.B. — composed of three buildings including a chalet — sits on no fewer than 450 acres of land, next to Fundy National Park. There is a 40-acre man-made lake on the property, as well as four islands, picnic areas, row boats, paddle boats, tennis courts amd two garages. Source: <a href="http://www.monctonroyallepage.ca/">Royal LePage Moncton</a>

  • New Brunswick: $2.5 Million

    You can really get some space for your money in New Brunswick. This 20-bedroom, 11-bathroom resort in Alma, N.B. — composed of three buildings including a chalet — sits on no fewer than 450 acres of land, next to Fundy National Park. There is a 40-acre man-made lake on the property, as well as four islands, picnic areas, row boats, paddle boats, tennis courts amd two garages. Source: <a href="http://www.monctonroyallepage.ca/">Royal LePage Moncton</a>

  • New Brunswick: $2.5 Million

    You can really get some space for your money in New Brunswick. This 20-bedroom, 11-bathroom resort in Alma, N.B. — composed of three buildings including a chalet — sits on no fewer than 450 acres of land, next to Fundy National Park. There is a 40-acre man-made lake on the property, as well as four islands, picnic areas, row boats, paddle boats, tennis courts amd two garages. Source: <a href="http://www.monctonroyallepage.ca/">Royal LePage Moncton</a>

  • New Brunswick: $2.5 Million

    You can really get some space for your money in New Brunswick. This 20-bedroom, 11-bathroom resort in Alma, N.B. — composed of three buildings including a chalet — sits on no fewer than 450 acres of land, next to Fundy National Park. There is a 40-acre man-made lake on the property, as well as four islands, picnic areas, row boats, paddle boats, tennis courts amd two garages. Source: <a href="http://www.monctonroyallepage.ca/">Royal LePage Moncton</a>

  • Nova Scotia: $6.7 Million

    This newly-built, 6,000-square-foot house in Ketch Harbour, N.S., sits on the granite shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean and features "a series of interlocking pavilions constructed of reinforced concrete and window walls of star fire glass to capture the amazing, endless ocean views," as the realtor describes it. Only three bedrooms in this house, but what a view. Source: <a href="http://www.tradewindsrealty.com/">Tradewinds Realty</a>

  • Nova Scotia: $6.7 Million

    This newly-built, 6,000-square-foot house in Ketch Harbour, N.S., sits on the granite shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean and features "a series of interlocking pavilions constructed of reinforced concrete and window walls of star fire glass to capture the amazing, endless ocean views," as the realtor describes it. Only three bedrooms in this house, but what a view. Source: <a href="http://www.tradewindsrealty.com/">Tradewinds Realty</a>

  • Nova Scotia: $6.7 Million

    This newly-built, 6,000-square-foot house in Ketch Harbour, N.S., sits on the granite shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean and features "a series of interlocking pavilions constructed of reinforced concrete and window walls of star fire glass to capture the amazing, endless ocean views," as the realtor describes it. Only three bedrooms in this house, but what a view. Source: <a href="http://www.tradewindsrealty.com/">Tradewinds Realty</a>

  • Quebec: $18.9 Million

    The realtor selling this property suggests you may want to build a heliport to get to this 200-acre estate located in a secluded corner of Quebec's eastern townships. There are several houses on this site, the main one being built in 1927. Another building is described as a "three-season chalet" and is located next to the 120-foot dock on Lake Mephramagog. The property features multiple garages, including a 40-foot-long one. The whole place is so ritzy that a barn on the property was declared a historical site. Source: <a href="http://passerelle.centris.ca/Redirect2.aspx?CodeDest=JMONTANARO&NoMls=MT10764029&Source=WWW.REALTOR.CA&Langue=E">Centris</a>

  • Quebec: $18.9 Million

    The realtor selling this property suggests you may want to build a heliport to get to this 200-acre estate located in a secluded corner of Quebec's eastern townships. There are several houses on this site, the main one being built in 1927. Another building is described as a "three-season chalet" and is located next to the 120-foot dock on Lake Mephramagog. The property features multiple garages, including a 40-foot-long one. The whole place is so ritzy that a barn on the property was declared a historical site. Source: <a href="http://passerelle.centris.ca/Redirect2.aspx?CodeDest=JMONTANARO&NoMls=MT10764029&Source=WWW.REALTOR.CA&Langue=E">Centris</a>

  • Quebec: $18.9 Million

    The realtor selling this property suggests you may want to build a heliport to get to this 200-acre estate located in a secluded corner of Quebec's eastern townships. There are several houses on this site, the main one being built in 1927. Another building is described as a "three-season chalet" and is located next to the 120-foot dock on Lake Mephramagog. The property features multiple garages, including a 40-foot-long one. The whole place is so ritzy that a barn on the property was declared a historical site. Source: <a href="http://passerelle.centris.ca/Redirect2.aspx?CodeDest=JMONTANARO&NoMls=MT10764029&Source=WWW.REALTOR.CA&Langue=E">Centris</a>

  • Ontario: $17.9 Million

    This six-bedroom house sits on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oakville, near Toronto. Situated on 3.2 acres, it has 185 feet of waterfront and a boat house. The property features a triple car garage, a foyer of Italian limestone and a two-story living room. Security cameras can be controlled by way of a security panel. And the view from the back-yard pool can't be beat. Source: <a href="http://www.remaxaboutowne.com/">Re/Max Aboutowne</a>

  • Ontario: $17.9 Million

    This six-bedroom house sits on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oakville, near Toronto. Situated on 3.2 acres, it has 185 feet of waterfront and a boat house. The property features a triple car garage, a foyer of Italian limestone and a two-story living room. Security cameras can be controlled by way of a security panel. And the view from the back-yard pool can't be beat. Source: <a href="http://www.remaxaboutowne.com/">Re/Max Aboutowne</a>

  • Ontario: $17.9 Million

    This six-bedroom house sits on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oakville, near Toronto. Situated on 3.2 acres, it has 185 feet of waterfront and a boat house. The property features a triple car garage, a foyer of Italian limestone and a two-story living room. Security cameras can be controlled by way of a security panel. And the view from the back-yard pool can't be beat. Source: <a href="http://www.remaxaboutowne.com/">Re/Max Aboutowne</a>

  • Manitoba: $2.9 Million

    That this 6,000-square-foot house is listed at $2.9 million is a testament to the (relative) affordability of Winnipeg real estate. "On entry you are greeted by an impressive foyer, soaring ceilings, curved staircase and grand principal rooms that are perfectly suited to entertaining," the realtor fawns. The four-bedroom house features an office and a media room, among many other amenities. Source: <a href="http://agents.royallepage.ca/winnipeg">Royal LePage Dynamic</a>

  • Manitoba: $2.9 Million

    That this 6,000-square-foot house is listed at $2.9 million is a testament to the (relative) affordability of Winnipeg real estate. "On entry you are greeted by an impressive foyer, soaring ceilings, curved staircase and grand principal rooms that are perfectly suited to entertaining," the realtor fawns. The four-bedroom house features an office and a media room, among many other amenities. Source: <a href="http://agents.royallepage.ca/winnipeg">Royal LePage Dynamic</a>

  • Manitoba: $2.9 Million

    That this 6,000-square-foot house is listed at $2.9 million is a testament to the (relative) affordability of Winnipeg real estate. "On entry you are greeted by an impressive foyer, soaring ceilings, curved staircase and grand principal rooms that are perfectly suited to entertaining," the realtor fawns. The four-bedroom house features an office and a media room, among many other amenities. Source: <a href="http://agents.royallepage.ca/winnipeg">Royal LePage Dynamic</a>

  • Manitoba: $2.9 Million

    That this 6,000-square-foot house is listed at $2.9 million is a testament to the (relative) affordability of Winnipeg real estate. "On entry you are greeted by an impressive foyer, soaring ceilings, curved staircase and grand principal rooms that are perfectly suited to entertaining," the realtor fawns. The four-bedroom house features an office and a media room, among many other amenities. Source: <a href="http://agents.royallepage.ca/winnipeg">Royal LePage Dynamic</a>

  • Saskatchewan: $2.7 Million

    Four bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three outdoor decks feature in this 4,600-square-foot home in Saskatoon. The coolest feature in this house may be the split staircase to second floor. The basement media room features an ornate bar and a huge projection screen. Source: <a href="http://www.suttonsaskatoon.com/">Sutton Group Saskatoon</a>

  • Saskatchewan: $2.7 Million

    Four bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three outdoor decks feature in this 4,600-square-foot home in Saskatoon. The coolest feature in this house may be the split staircase to second floor. The basement media room features an ornate bar and a huge projection screen. Source: <a href="http://www.suttonsaskatoon.com/">Sutton Group Saskatoon</a>

  • Saskatchewan: $2.7 Million

    Four bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three outdoor decks feature in this 4,600-square-foot home in Saskatoon. The coolest feature in this house may be the split staircase to second floor. The basement media room features an ornate bar and a huge projection screen. Source: <a href="http://www.suttonsaskatoon.com/">Sutton Group Saskatoon</a>

  • Saskatchewan: $2.7 Million

    Four bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three outdoor decks feature in this 4,600-square-foot home in Saskatoon. The coolest feature in this house may be the split staircase to second floor. The basement media room features an ornate bar and a huge projection screen. Source: <a href="http://www.suttonsaskatoon.com/">Sutton Group Saskatoon</a>

  • Alberta: $12.7 Million

    This house, featured in Architectural Digest, sits in beautiful Canmore, on the edge of the Rockies, and has six bedrooms and 10 baths. The property features multiple "outdoor living rooms" (think ornate decks) to enjoy the view. For those into medieval intrigue, there is a hidden staircase running to the underground wine cellar. Source: <a href="http://www.rlfoothills.com/">Royal LePage Foothills</a>

  • Alberta: $12.7 Million

    This house, featured in Architectural Digest, sits in beautiful Canmore, on the edge of the Rockies, and has six bedrooms and 10 baths. The property features multiple "outdoor living rooms" (think ornate decks) to enjoy the view. For those into medieval intrigue, there is a hidden staircase running to the underground wine cellar. Source: <a href="http://www.rlfoothills.com/">Royal LePage Foothills</a>

  • Alberta: $12.7 Million

    This house, featured in Architectural Digest, sits in beautiful Canmore, on the edge of the Rockies, and has six bedrooms and 10 baths. The property features multiple "outdoor living rooms" (think ornate decks) to enjoy the view. For those into medieval intrigue, there is a hidden staircase running to the underground wine cellar. Source: <a href="http://www.rlfoothills.com/">Royal LePage Foothills</a>

  • British Columbia: $34 Million

    The most expensive house in Canada's priciest (and fastest-falling) real estate market features four bedrooms and six baths on 8,500 square feet, as well as a very cool boat house. But in a sign of the weakening of Vancouver's housing market, this property in ritzy West Vancouver has been on the market for some time — it featured as the most expensive house for sale in all of Canada the last time we put together this survey, in June 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.angellhasman.ca/">Angell Hasman Realty</a>

  • British Columbia: $34 Million

    The most expensive house in Canada's priciest (and fastest-falling) real estate market features four bedrooms and six baths on 8,500 square feet, as well as a very cool boat house. But in a sign of the weakening of Vancouver's housing market, this property in ritzy West Vancouver has been on the market for some time — it featured as the most expensive house for sale in all of Canada the last time we put together this survey, in June 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.angellhasman.ca/">Angell Hasman Realty</a>

  • British Columbia: $34 Million

    The most expensive house in Canada's priciest (and fastest-falling) real estate market features four bedrooms and six baths on 8,500 square feet, as well as a very cool boat house. But in a sign of the weakening of Vancouver's housing market, this property in ritzy West Vancouver has been on the market for some time — it featured as the most expensive house for sale in all of Canada the last time we put together this survey, in June 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.angellhasman.ca/">Angell Hasman Realty</a>

THE COOLEST, CRAZIEST CONDOS GOING UP IN TORONTO

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  • 12 Degrees

    This 11-story building near Toronto's Queen West, developed by BSäR Group Of Companies and Prince Bay Developments, is meant to reflect the "building-block" feel of other buildings in the neighbourhood, such as the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Ontario College of Art and Design. Expected completion date: January 2013.

  • 12 Degrees

    This 11-story building near Toronto's Queen West, developed by BSäR Group Of Companies and Prince Bay Developments, is meant to reflect the "building-block" feel of other buildings in the neighbourhood, such as the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Ontario College of Art and Design. Expected completion date: January 2013.

  • 12 Degrees

    This 11-story building near Toronto's Queen West, developed by BSäR Group Of Companies and Prince Bay Developments, is meant to reflect the "building-block" feel of other buildings in the neighbourhood, such as the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Ontario College of Art and Design. Expected completion date: January 2013.

  • West Harbour City

    Completed in 2010, this building on Toronto's western lakeshore gives the city a new Gothic touch. Developed by Plazacorp and designed by Quadrangle Architects, the 36- and 28-story condo towers are quickly becoming a city landmark.

  • West Harbour City

    Completed in 2010, this building on Toronto's western lakeshore gives the city a new Gothic touch. Developed by Plazacorp and designed by Quadrangle Architects, the 36- and 28-story condo towers are quickly becoming a city landmark.

  • Hive Lofts on the Queensway

    Designed by Teeple Architects and developed by Symmetry Developments, this six-story low-rise will change the feel of Toronto's Queensway neighbourhood. Construction expected to be completed by May, 2013.

  • Hive Lofts on the Queensway

    Designed by Teeple Architects and developed by Symmetry Developments, this six-story low-rise will change the feel of Toronto's Queensway neighbourhood. Construction expected to be completed by May, 2013.

  • TCHC Block 32

    OK so this isn't exactly a condo tower -- it's a rental building being developed by the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. The 41-story apartment building is set to be completed in late 2012, and the building makes two important points: That rental aprtment buildings can have character; and that if designed properly, buildings can look cool in winter.

  • TCHC Block 32

    OK so this isn't exactly a condo tower -- it's a rental building being developed by the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. The 41-story apartment building is set to be completed in late 2012, and the building makes two important points: That rental aprtment buildings can have character; and that if designed properly, buildings can look cool in winter.

  • 190OZ

    190OZ, to be located on Ossington Street in the city's west side, is another example of the "building block" style that is becoming popular in Toronto. Developed by Reserve Properties, the six-story building should be online in 2014.

  • 190OZ

    190OZ, to be located on Ossington Street in the city's west side, is another example of the "building block" style that is becoming popular in Toronto. Developed by Reserve Properties, the six-story building should be online in 2014.

  • King West Condominiums

    This monstrous, three-pronged condo tower isn't slated to open until mid-2013, but its shadow is already changing Toronto's landscape. Developed by Plazacorp and designed by Quadrangle Architects, the building features a 20,000-square-foot fitness club and no fewer than two bowling alleys.

  • King West Condominiums

    This monstrous, three-pronged condo tower isn't slated to open until mid-2013, but its shadow is already changing Toronto's landscape. Developed by Plazacorp and designed by Quadrangle Architects, the building features a 20,000-square-foot fitness club and no fewer than two bowling alleys.

  • King West Condominiums

    This monstrous, three-pronged condo tower isn't slated to open until mid-2013, but its shadow is already changing Toronto's landscape. Developed by Plazacorp and designed by Quadrangle Architects, the building features a 20,000-square-foot fitness club and no fewer than two bowling alleys.

  • Edge on Triangle Park

    This 15-story building from Plazacorp and architects Tact Design brings European modernism to Toronto's Liberty Village neighbourhood. The big empty spaces in the building (note the gap on the right side of the main facade) create a "shine-through" effect that gives the building more than the usual amount of lighting. Completion slated for January, 2014.

  • Edge on Triangle Park

    This 15-story building from Plazacorp and architects Tact Design brings European modernism to Toronto's Liberty Village neighbourhood. The big empty spaces in the building (note the gap on the right side of the main facade) create a "shine-through" effect that gives the building more than the usual amount of lighting. Completion slated for January, 2014.

  • Studio on Richmond

    Aspen Ridge Homes is planning this futuristic (some would even say Blade Runner-ish) building complex for Toronto's repidly gentrifying downtown east side. Once completed, the complex will feature two towers -- one 41 stories, the other 31 stories. Another project from Quadrangle Architects, this one is slated for completion in January, 2015.

  • Studio on Richmond

    Aspen Ridge Homes is planning this futuristic (some would even say Blade Runner-ish) building complex for Toronto's repidly gentrifying downtown east side. Once completed, the complex will feature two towers -- one 41 stories, the other 31 stories. Another project from Quadrangle Architects, this one is slated for completion in January, 2015.

  • Studio on Richmond

    Aspen Ridge Homes is planning this futuristic (some would even say Blade Runner-ish) building complex for Toronto's repidly gentrifying downtown east side. Once completed, the complex will feature two towers -- one 41 stories, the other 31 stories. Another project from Quadrangle Architects, this one is slated for completion in January, 2015.

  • Fashion House

    Fashion House incorporates a heritage building on Toronto's King Street West into a modern condo and retail complex. Designed by Core Architects and developed by Freed Developments, the building is one of Toronto's most unique restorations of a historical building.

  • Fashion House

    Fashion House incorporates a heritage building on Toronto's King Street West into a modern condo and retail complex. Designed by Core Architects and developed by Freed Developments, the building is one of Toronto's most unique restorations of a historical building.

  • Fashion House

    Fashion House incorporates a heritage building on Toronto's King Street West into a modern condo and retail complex. Designed by Core Architects and developed by Freed Developments, the building is one of Toronto's most unique restorations of a historical building.

  • Emerald Park

    Yes, people will be living in the curvy parts at the top, and what a downward view they'll have. This condo complex in north Toronto (401 and Yonge St.) will feature twin 42- and 43-story towers, and is slated for completion in August, 2013. It was developed by Metropia, Pure Plaza, and the architect is Roy Varacalli.

  • Emerald Park

    Yes, people will be living in the curvy parts at the top, and what a downward view they'll have. This condo complex in north Toronto (401 and Yonge St.) will feature twin 42- and 43-story towers, and is slated for completion in August, 2013. It was developed by Metropia, Pure Plaza, and the architect is Roy Varacalli.

  • Emerald Park

    Yes, people will be living in the curvy parts at the top, and what a downward view they'll have. This condo complex in north Toronto (401 and Yonge St.) will feature twin 42- and 43-story towers, and is slated for completion in August, 2013. It was developed by Metropia, Pure Plaza, and the architect is Roy Varacalli.

  • X The Condominium

    Designed by architectsAlliance for Great Gulf Homes, this building is recognizable to many Torontonians as an homage to the smoky black TD Bank tower on the city's skyline. Interesting as the building is, we're hoping the trend doesn't catch on, or the city will become a forest of black rectangles.

  • X The Condominium

    Designed by architectsAlliance for Great Gulf Homes, this building is recognizable to many Torontonians as an homage to the smoky black TD Bank tower on the city's skyline. Interesting as the building is, we're hoping the trend doesn't catch on, or the city will become a forest of black rectangles.

  • X The Condominium

    Designed by architectsAlliance for Great Gulf Homes, this building is recognizable to many Torontonians as an homage to the smoky black TD Bank tower on the city's skyline. Interesting as the building is, we're hoping the trend doesn't catch on, or the city will become a forest of black rectangles.

  • The Schoolhouse Lofts

    The Schoolhouse is an example of creative urban land use. Once known as Loretto College, the building has been transformed from a school into a five-story loft and condo complex in the heart of Toronto's Annex neighbourhood. Designed by 3rd Uncle for Empire Communities, the building opened in March, 2010.

  • The Schoolhouse Lofts

    The Schoolhouse is an example of creative urban land use. Once known as Loretto College, the building has been transformed from a school into a five-story loft and condo complex in the heart of Toronto's Annex neighbourhood. Designed by 3rd Uncle for Empire Communities, the building opened in March, 2010.

  • The Schoolhouse Lofts

    The Schoolhouse is an example of creative urban land use. Once known as Loretto College, the building has been transformed from a school into a five-story loft and condo complex in the heart of Toronto's Annex neighbourhood. Designed by 3rd Uncle for Empire Communities, the building opened in March, 2010.

  • Seventy5 Portland

    Another building from Freed Developments and Core Architects, this low-rise near King and Bathurst has garnered a lot of attention for its irregular rectangular patterns. The 10-story condo building opened in 2010.

  • Seventy5 Portland

    Another building from Freed Developments and Core Architects, this low-rise near King and Bathurst has garnered a lot of attention for its irregular rectangular patterns. The 10-story condo building opened in 2010.

  • Market Wharf

    Architect Peter Clewes' project near St. Lawrence Market on the east side of downtown has gotten a lot of attention for blending a style that evokes the surrounding historic buildings, while throwing a modernist tower -- complete with crazy, wavy balconies -- into the city skyline. Developed by Context Developments, the building opened in 2012.

  • Market Wharf

    Architect Peter Clewes' project near St. Lawrence Market on the east side of downtown has gotten a lot of attention for blending a style that evokes the surrounding historic buildings, while throwing a modernist tower -- complete with crazy, wavy balconies -- into the city skyline. Developed by Context Developments, the building opened in 2012. (Photo: Tact Design)

  • Market Wharf

    Architect Peter Clewes' project near St. Lawrence Market on the east side of downtown has gotten a lot of attention for blending a style that evokes the surrounding historic buildings, while throwing a modernist tower -- complete with crazy, wavy balconies -- into the city skyline. Developed by Context Developments, the building opened in 2012. (Photo: Tact Design)

  • Theatre Park

    One of the coolest aspects of this very noticeable building is how not noticeable at all it is at ground level -- it appears to be just another small building on King Street West. Designed by architectsAlliance for Lamb Developments, the building is slated for completion in 2013.

  • Theatre Park

    One of the coolest aspects of this very noticeable building is how not noticeable at all it is at ground level -- it appears to be just another small building on King Street West. Designed by architectsAlliance for Lamb Developments, the building is slated for completion in 2013.

  • Theatre Park

    One of the coolest aspects of this very noticeable building is how not noticeable at all it is at ground level -- it appears to be just another small building on King Street West. Designed by architectsAlliance for Lamb Developments, the building is slated for completion in 2013.

  • The Printing Factory

    Another example of creative land use, this time in Leslieville on the city's east side. Architects Chandler Graham and Montgomery Sisam redesigned this defunct factory into modern lofts for Beaverbrook Homes, adding a tower that rises from the centre of the old print shop. The condo complex opened in 2010.

  • The Printing Factory

    Another example of creative land use, this time in Leslieville on the city's east side. Architects Chandler Graham and Montgomery Sisam redesigned this defunct factory into modern lofts for Beaverbrook Homes, adding a tower that rises from the centre of the old print shop. The condo complex opened in 2010.

  • Picasso

    This may well become the most iconic of Toronto's new generation of "building block" condos, rising above Richmond Street West, near similarly lego-shaped buildings like OCAD. Teeple Architects designed this for Monarch and the Goldman Group, and the building is slated to finish construction in January, 2015.

  • Picasso

    This may well become the most iconic of Toronto's new generation of "building block" condos, rising above Richmond Street West, near similarly lego-shaped buildings like OCAD. Teeple Architects designed this for Monarch and the Goldman Group, and the building is slated to finish construction in January, 2015.

  • Pier 27

    Four 14-story buildings, connected by skywalks, are at the heart of what may be the most bold and unique condo development in Canada -- Pier 27, which is currently under construction and is already changing the face of Toronto's grimy eastern lakeshore. Designed by architectsAlliance for Cityzen and Fernnbrook Homes. Watch for this building to win awards.

  • Pier 27

    Four 14-story buildings, connected by skywalks, are at the heart of what may be the most bold and unique condo development in Canada -- Pier 27, which is currently under construction and is already changing the face of Toronto's grimy eastern lakeshore. Designed by architectsAlliance for Cityzen and Fernnbrook Homes. Watch for this building to win awards.

  • Pier 27

    Four 14-story buildings, connected by skywalks, are at the heart of what may be the most bold and unique condo development in Canada -- Pier 27, which is currently under construction and is already changing the face of Toronto's grimy eastern lakeshore. Designed by architectsAlliance for Cityzen and Fernnbrook Homes. Watch for this building to win awards.

  • The L-Tower

    Designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Liebeskind, this 58-story condo tower will rise above the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on Front Street. Being so close to the business district, the building's unique shape (it grows wider at the top, leaning out onto the street) will alter the city skyline permanently. The original design for the building called for a large open hole at the base of the "L" shape, but more recent illustrations suggest that part of the plan has been scaled back.

  • L-Tower

    Designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Liebeskind, this 58-story condo tower will rise above the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on Front Street. Being so close to the business district, the building's unique shape (it grows wider at the top, leaning out onto the street) will alter the city skyline permanently. The original design for the building called for a large open hole at the base of the "L" shape, but more recent illustrations suggest that part of the plan has been scaled back.

  • L-Tower

    Designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Liebeskind, this 58-story condo tower will rise above the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on Front Street. Being so close to the business district, the building's unique shape (it grows wider at the top, leaning out onto the street) will alter the city skyline permanently. The original design for the building called for a large open hole at the base of the "L" shape, but more recent illustrations suggest that part of the plan has been scaled back.

  • L-Tower

    Designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Liebeskind, this 58-story condo tower will rise above the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on Front Street. Being so close to the business district, the building's unique shape (it grows wider at the top, leaning out onto the street) will alter the city skyline permanently. The original design for the building called for a large open hole at the base of the "L" shape, but more recent illustrations suggest that part of the plan has been scaled back.

  • Absolute World

    The Absolute Towers at Mississauga's Square One (also known as the "Marilyn Monroe" towers) are arguably the most celebrated new buildings in the Toronto area, having won an award for "Best Tall Building in the Americas" for 2012. Designed by MAD Architects for Cityzen and Fernbrook Homes, the twin buildings were completed in late 2011. So it appears that Mississauga's long struggle to climb out of Toronto's shadow may have borne some fruit at last.

NORTH AMERICAN CITIES WITH THE MOST HIGH-RISES UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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  • 8 [tie]: Richmond, British Columbia - 12 highrises

    As of Oct. 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.emporis.com/">Emporis</a> Photo: The Canadian Press

  • 8 [tie]: Ottawa, Ontario - 12 highrises

    As of Oct. 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.emporis.com/">Emporis</a> Photo: Alamy

  • 8 [tie]: Boston, Massachusetts - 12 highrises

    As of Oct. 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.emporis.com/">Emporis</a> Photo: Alamy

  • 7: Miami, Florida - 13 highrises

    As of Oct. 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.emporis.com/">Emporis</a> Photo: Shutterstock

  • 6: Calgary, Alberta - 13 highrises

    As of Oct. 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.emporis.com/">Emporis</a> Photo: Alamy

  • 5: Chicago, Illinois - 17 highrises

    As of Oct. 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.emporis.com/">Emporis</a> Photo: Shutterstock

  • 4: Montreal, Quebec - 20 highrises

    As of Oct. 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.emporis.com/">Emporis</a> Photo: Alamy

  • 3: Vancouver, British Columbia - 21 highrises

    As of Oct. 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.emporis.com/">Emporis</a> Photo: Alamy

  • 2: New York City - 72 highrises

    As of Oct. 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.emporis.com/">Emporis</a> Photo: Shutterstock

  • 1: Toronto - 147 highrises

    As of Oct. 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.emporis.com/">Emporis</a> Photo: The Canadian Press