When Donald Trump came to Toronto last spring to officially open the long-awaited Trump International Hotel & Tower in the city’s downtown core, he declared the project would gift Toronto with "a level of quality the likes of which few places have ever seen."

Seven months later, a glass pane came flying off the building, one of Canada’s tallest, damaging several cars parked in the street below.

In retrospect, it’s a perfect parable for what has happened to Toronto’s Trump Tower.

In planning for at least a decade, construction on the 65-story tower with 118 condos and 261 condo-hotel suites wrapped up in January of 2012. It marked the arrival of an iconic international brand to Canada’s largest city, as well as an attention-grabbing new addition to Toronto’s recognizable skyline.

PHOTOS: THE COOLEST CONDO TOWERS GOING UP IN TORONTO

But less than a year after it opened to the public, the project is drowning in a sea of weak revenue, unhappy customers, and even an investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission.

According to sources who spoke to the Toronto Star, hotel occupancy at the Trump Tower is a meagre 10 to 50 per cent, and rooms are fetching about half as much per night as forecast ($300 versus a projected $600).

That’s bad news for the Trump Tower’s small investors — people who bought condo-hotel suites as investments with the intention of flipping them quickly to another buyer in Toronto’s (at the time) red-hot real estate market.

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trump tower toronto

Those poor occupancy rates, combined with the recent downturn in Toronto’s residential real estate market, mean the flipping isn’t going so well. The situation came to a head this month, when Talon International, the developer behind the project, sued seven investors, demanding they make their final payments on the units they agreed to buy.

(Talon International licenced the Trump brand from Donald Trump, who owns a minority stake in the project. The Donald’s hotel management firm, the Trump Hotel Collection, is contracted to operate the building.)

But getting the buyers to pony up may not be so easy. Some of those who talked to the Star say that, with the project under financial pressure, they can’t get mortgages to cover the rest of what they owe.

“One mortgage company asked me, ‘How could I give you a mortgage on a property that is losing money every single day?” an unidentified buyer, described as a “blue-collar worker,” told the Star.

With a looming closing date of November 29, 2012, and banks refusing financing, investors are faced with either having to either come up with substantial amounts of cash to close or resort to secondary financial institutions which will only provide partial financing for this project as a commercial investment at prohibitively high interest rates,” a law firm representing a group of buyers said in a press statement.

The firm said buyers are losing money at a rate of $175 per day per unit, because maintenance fees are larger than revenue.

Buyers “went from a position where they thought this was a safe investment with huge returns to a position where they had substantial losses,” Javad Heydary, a lawyer representing some of the buyers, told the Globe and Mail.

The conflict between the developer and the buyers has now resulted in a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Talon by some of the small investors.

And in what may be the worst news yet for the Trump Tower, the Ontario Securities Commission has started asking questions as to how the project was sold, at the urging of lawyers representing a group of buyers.

The OSC is reportedly looking into whether Talon broke an agreement it had with the securities regulator, which allowed it to avoid strict standards for attracting investors by selling the Trump Tower units as residential, rather than commercial, properties. (Hotel-condos are considered commercial properties generally.)

What that means is Talon wasn’t allowed to pitch the hotel-condo units as investment properties, only as residential properties. But according to news reports, buyers say they were told it was an investment.

“Sales staff had actual spreadsheets. They could tell you the rate of return unit by unit, floor by floor,” an unidentified buyer told the Toronto Star.

Disgruntled buyers are urging the OSC to launch a full-scale investigation.

Amid all the acrimony, Talon has delayed the closing date for Trump Tower sales to December 13, from an earlier deadline of Nov. 29. However, it seems likely that many buyers will not make their final payments, and the matter stands to be resolved before the courts.

But the gripes of unhappy investors apparently aren't dampening the mood at Talon International, where CEO Val Levitan argues the project will ultimately prove to be a success.

Occupancy is the wrong thing to focus on,” he said of the project’s poor performance in a Globe and Mail interview. “What’s important to focus on is the customer appreciation for the product. If the customer appreciates the product, then we are convinced we can get the rates that we are aiming for.”

And if the project does go south, it won't be much of a shock to Donald Trump himself, whose real estate ventures have seen their share of ups and downs: Trump's companies have declared bankruptcy four times in the past two decades — in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009.

THE COOLEST CONDO TOWERS 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.