What I Wear To Work: Mitch Parker, Real Estate Specialist

MitchParker

Name

Mitch Parker

Occupation

Real Estate Specialist

Wardrobe Essentials

Call it old fashioned but I think every guy should have a black, well fitted, modern looking suit. Once you have that, it’s easy to build a great wardrobe of dress shirts, socks, ties, and accessories that work well together.

For day-to- day, a grey blazer (not just the top half of a suit), a crisp white dress shirt, and dark blue jeans can get you through most situations looking stylish.

Favourite Item in Your Closet

Lately I’m all about fun socks. To me, it’s one area I can really show my personality. I own pairs that have champagne bottles on them, ones that are bright blue with giraffes wearing ties, one with dollar signs printed on them, and all sorts of pairs with stripes and various patterns.

Uniform

If you opened my closet right now you’d find a lot of blazers and suits. Since my clients base varies from young professionals to athletes, to the very wealthy, I have to be able to match the outfit to the situation. The other day I started off in a custom tailored suit for client meetings and ended it in sneakers and a t-shirt staging an upcoming listing.

Regardless of what I’m in – I think the importance is in the details. A pocket square, a nice watch, clean and polished shoes, etc. Nothing over the top but it’s those details that people notice and appreciate.

Mitch Parker is a Real Estate specialist based in Toronto. After completing a business program in Ottawa with a specialization in Finance, Mitch entered the world of real estate; working on various investments ranging from home flips to rental properties to private equity placements with large scale Canadian developers.

His education combined with his experience in both investing and residential renovations provides insight that most people can’t provide. Additionally, Mitch is frequently used in the media as an expert in the real estate industry, having been featured in the Toronto Sun, CTV’s Canada AM, Rogers TV, Sirius XM Canada radio, City Life magazine, Active Life magazine, Notable.ca, Huffington Post Canada, and many more.

 

Novellahoods: A tour of the Upper Beaches

After over three years of living in Toronto, I feel like I’m pretty savvy when it comes to getting around the heart of the city. But being a west-ender, I’ve never really had many opportunities to cross over to the far-eastern side of Toronto. This whole time, the DVP has seemed to me like the Great Wall of China. What the hell is on the other side? I imagined tumbleweeds. Or maybe factories, or subdivisions for as far as they eye could see. It was all very mysterious.

But last night I finally got the chance to explore the Great Unknown that lies beyond the Don Valley: the neighbourbood of the Upper Beaches. ~TRUMPET SOUNDS~

Streetcar Developments hosted the tour — they’re the guys who build snazzy living spaces all over the city, condominiums that promote a tight-knit community amongst residents and within their neighbourhoods. It’s a really nice company who does really nice work, and their most recent project, The Southwood, is going to continue that track record right in the heart of the Upper Beaches.

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Our tour began at the sales office for The Southwood, where some bubbly was poured and we were introduced to the concept for the condominium, which will be ready for occupancy in spring 2017. Chatting with one of the Streetcar reps, I found out that they’re building on the Upper Beaches turf because the neighbourhood is gaining a lot of momentum — especially amongst the city’s young professionals.

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RoFo? Is that u?

After downing my champagne and deciding to start saving up for one of The Southwood’s south-facing one-bedrooms (SO. PRETTY.), our tour led us out of the sales office and we headed east down Kingston Road, the main street where all the magic happens.

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Yellow House was our next stop, a charming little gallery-slash-framing studio owned and operated by an OCAD grad. Within seconds of talking to her I realized there’s a huge artistic presence in this pocket of the city, and gazing at the walls of her gallery I took in some pretty incredible work. I made a mental note to take my next artistic excursion out this way.

Up next was The Art of Cheese. This place really gave me a feel of how tight-knit the Upper Beaches community is. The owner, Bill Miller (a.k.a. “The Grand Fromage”) is a retiree who opened this tiny shop as his passion project, and he could talk for literally hours about the magic of cheese. After feeding us some beautiful San De Oro cheese and local red wine (I nearly died of happiness in this moment) he divulged all the secrets of his craft. Like, the mind-blowing fact that cheese is supposed to be eaten at room temperature — if it’s too cold, you’re only tasting 40% of its flavour. (WHAAAAT.)

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The Grand Fromage in his element

After being charmed by Bill and his cheese (and his fromage-shaped foam hat), we headed to our next stop: Collected Joy. This beautiful odds-and-ends boutique is owned by Sharon Smyl, a former marketing director who worked with Minto Group and Starbucks. She lives right around the corner from the shop, and most of the brands she carries are local.

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I adored Collected Joy. Sharon kept describing things as “exquisite” and I was just in awe of her style. Maybe I’ll get her to design my new condo at The Southwood. One day…

Second-last stop was at The Stone Pizza, where my fellow media people and I had an impromptu pizza photo shoot. The pies were, as Sharon would say, exquisite. Who would have thought to put apple slices on a pizza? And who would have thought it would taste SO GOOD?

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Finally, we found ourselves at The Beech Tree restaurant and bar. This cosy, beautifully decorated spot is like the “Cheers” of the Upper Beach. The owner, like a lot of the shop owners in the area, used to work at a desk crunching numbers all day and abandoned that job to pursue his passion. The Beech Tree blew me away — literally everything is made in-house. Not one ingredient enters the store in a bottle or package. The mayonnaise, the syrups, everything is handcrafted from scratch in their little kitchen. Swoon. Oh, and the gnocchi can attest to the quality. I was almost reduced to tears while eating this. In a very good way.

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(I couldn’t get a good photo of the gnocchi because it was dim and my photography skills are not on point)

On the walk to our ride home, we were pleasantly surprised by one final Upper Beaches experience. Farmacia Juice Bar‘s tiny cooler-on-wheels rolled up to the sidewalk and served up some scrumptious house-made juices, smoothies and freezies. As if I hadn’t fallen in love with the neighbourhood already, the owner told us that a few weeks prior, when their cart was stolen, the community banded together to find it and bring it back. It’s like the whole Upper Beaches ‘hood is #squadgoals.

So, my dear west-of-the-DVP-ers, here is my advice to you: if you’re getting bored of downtown and want to make a little escape from the city without going too far, go to the Upper Beaches. It’s not as swanky-snotty as the — er, Lower Beaches? — but it’s equally as beautiful and full of boutiques that will steal your heart. I’d live here. And maybe one day I will. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in a charming small town that’s hidden in a huge city?

On Our Radar: Sam Mizrahi

When I say, “Toronto’s construction boom” you say, “Sucks!” Who doesn’t hate it? The torn-up streets, the blocked-off sidewalks, all the shiny new towers cropping up in every corner of the city — the whole ordeal, which according to the government is all a part of advancing Toronto, is becoming increasingly uncool with its residents. And the early morning noise of construction and the terrible traffic aren’t even the worst part of it. For many of us, the ultimate downside of this advancement is to watch so much of our city’s history being swallowed by the “bigger, better, more” mentality.

Surprise, there is one person who gets it and that’s Sam Mizrahi. He’s one of the most important developers in the city, who is responsible for bringing forth the likes of 181 Davenport, 133 Hazelton and now The One, the famous/infamous residential retail project at Yonge and Bloor. He gets it. And at the same time, he’s got his two cents to say about all the drama surrounding the wealth of development that’s going on in Toronto. We sat down with the entrepreneur and real estate visionary to listen to his side of the story, which offers some shocks, some reason and a lot more heart than most people might assume. Because if anyone’s contributing to the look and feel of this city, it’s him — he whose ultimate goal is to place a shiny, new label on Toronto for the rest of the world to see and admire. A label that reads “World Class.”

Read our interview with Mizrahi and find out why he’s On Our Radar.

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 On why he builds in the first place:

SM: I want each development we create to really serve the community we’re building in. One of the value systems that’s very important to me when working on each development is how it will benefit the surrounding community. We want the value to go beyond the building to serve the real needs of the people in that neighbourhood. For us, that’s how we measure our success. So all of the developments we’ve done to date not only enhance the landscape from an architectural standpoint, but they also add lots of value to the communities.

On the developer’s struggle of preserving Toronto’s history:

SM: I’m an old soul, and I’m one that champions old world architecture. If you look at our projects, they’re all in that DNA. And I agree that it’s vital that we respect and maintain the city’s history, but just because something’s old doesn’t make it historical or heritage. I believe there are times for that, but I don’t think it pertains to this corner [of Yonge and Bloor]. It’s one of the most important corners in Canada, it’s the most important corner in Toronto, and we need to use that space to create something, an iconic piece of architecture that will put Toronto on the map internationally as we mature as a city every decade. And it requires something of this stature, of what I’m proposing here, in order to do that. So I agree with a lot of the comments, and I think they’re correct in a lot of ways — like that we need to look at how we can incorporate the city’s heritage and history into new developments. But you know this corner doesn’t partake to that. Even the owners didn’t feel that there was any historical merit to it. So it’s something I think is important, but doesn’t pertain to this corner of the city.

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On preserving the history of Stollery’s at One Bloor West:

SM: That was inspired over a year ago, before anybody even thought about the heritage or history of the building, and it was something that was very paramount to me and to the family. They had it for over 100 years, and I wanted to have something that contributed a memory of the family, a monument that was meaningful to them. Back in October, when I purchased it, I made a promise that no matter what happens, we’re going to create a monument to the history and legacy of Stollery’s. We’ll be incorporating limestone pieces into some of the arches and stuff like that, and we’ll be working with the stakeholders and the family to really emphasize that history for centuries to come.

On what his plans are for One Bloor West:

SM: We want this to be an iconic building that’ll bring Toronto onto the international stage, not only in terms of architecture, but also in terms of high street retail. It’ll have that “wow” factor similar to what you experience in New York, Chicago, London, San Francisco, bringing together international retailers and the community in an area that this city hasn’t seen before. Bloor St. is high street retail, but it needs this kind of space, this square-footage, this format, to provide a true Fifth Avenue type of experience.

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On loving Toronto:

SM: What makes me love this city is that we’re a mosaic of cultures. We’re literally like the UN. We have a real international culture in Toronto. I love that. I love the fact that we get along so well together in the city. I think we’re so blessed and very fortunate that we have one of the best cities in the world to be living in. At the same time we have the best healthcare system, education system, social system, and that’s coupled with some of the best lifestyle requirements. I’m really proud of the fact that we live in an incredibly safe, clean, well-organized city with a mix of different cultures. We’re truly an international city, and very few cities can say that the way Toronto can. We have arts, we have theatre, we have music, we have all the factors that makes a city an international one and an incredible place to live. I’m very proud to be living here and to be a part of the community and the fabric of helping shape it.

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