While High Park’s famous pink cherry blossoms last for a fleeting six to 10 days each spring, residents of Southport in Swansea will be able to enjoy their splendour year-round.
State Building Group, developer of the two-tower, 650-unit Southport condo adjacent to Toronto’s High Park, commissioned Canadian fine art photographer Neil Dankoff to document the park’s breathtaking blossoms during peak bloom that began earlier this month. His distinctive, richly saturated colour images will adorn the Southport in Swansea lobby and amenity spaces when the building is completed. A limited series of Dankoff’s Sakura images will be awarded through a lottery draw to purchasers at occupancy and prints will be available to other residents to purchase.
Dankoff travels the globe for his photos and was recently commissioned by Hotel X, in Toronto, to capture more than 800 images from around the world over three years — the largest fine art photography transaction in Canadian history. He owns and operates Kandy Gallery in four locations across North America, including one in Toronto. He also owns The Neil Dankoff Photography competition, an online international competition that provides up-and-coming photographers with the opportunity for gallery exposure.
Southport is a “very exciting project for us,” says Tamar Zagdanski, State Building Group’s marketing and sales manager, who describes the Swansea neighbourhood as “a little gem in the city, surrounded by amenities and in a well-established community with a library, town hall and amazing schools.” Southport will be walking distance to Bloor West Village with its boutique shops and businesses, and more than 25 restaurants and cafes.
The mixed-use development will be just north of Lake Ontario, walking distance to Sir Casimir Gzowski Park, and the west Toronto stretch of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and boardwalk. It’s 10 minutes from Sunnyside Beach and Sunnyside Bike Park, the Boulevard Club, Humber Bay Arch Bridge, Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat, Argonaut Rowing Club and more. One of the site’s main appeals is its proximity to High Park’s nearly 400 acres including trails, off-leash dog park, outdoor amphitheatre, playgrounds, sports facilities, zoo and Grenadier Pond.
Suites, with prices starting in the low $700,000s, will be 477 to 815 square feet with many two-bedroom, two-bathroom units. Tomas Pearce has created three choices of clean, contemporary design packages.
Zagdanski says the team gave a lot of thought about how they could emphasize the beauty of the neighbourhood; a mutual contact suggested hiring Dankoff to capture the cherry blossoms. “Neil’s work is so impressive and really brings out the beauty of nature.”
The High Park cherry blooms began with a gift of 2,000 Japanese Somei-Yoshino Sakura in 1959 from Japan’s ambassador to Canada, to thank Toronto citizens for their support of Japanese-Canadian refugees after the Second World War. Many of the trees were planted along the High Park Trail and around Grenadier Pond, where the most impressive grove stands. The planting of new Sakura trees in High Park has been continued by the city in conjunction with the Consulate General of Japan.
Dankoff is a native Montrealer who studied film and communications at McGill University before moving to Toronto in 1998. “I’d never been to High Park before getting this commission,” he admits. “I live in the St. Clair and Spadina area, but I’ve since taken my dog walking in High Park and gone to twice to see the cherry trees.
“I photographed cherry blossoms in Japan five years ago and was blown away by them.”
Dankoff uses a Phase One medium format camera and combines multiple images of various exposures and focal points that he seamlessly combines to create his signature photographic art.
“I always wanted to make large, large prints for homes and offices,” Dankoff explains. “I wanted to create large, sharp, vibrant images of nature. If I photograph an incredible vista, I want to display it big.”
Nature has also informed Southport at Swansea’s design. Richmond Architects designed the 27- and 30-storey towers, joined by a podium, to play off elements of water, including white precast concrete strips that flare to resemble a sail. Interior spaces, created by Tomas Pearce, will feature hints of blue. The lobby has a reflective ceiling feature inspired by light playing off water.
Building amenities are geared to a range of buyers. There will be an indoor kids’ play area and learning centre, two outdoor play areas including a playground, co-working and private meeting spaces, plus a green-screen room for social media posts. Outdoor amenities will cover 10,000 sq. ft. with barbecue stations, plus dining and loung areas.
Southport in Swansea
Location: 34 Southport St., Toronto
Developer: State Building Group
Architect: Richmond Architect; Interior Designer: Tomas Pearce
Suites: 477-815 sq. ft. in one, one bedroom plus den, two and two-bedroom with den layouts, priced from the low $700,000s. Highlights include 9-foot or 10-foot ceilings in principal rooms, laminate and porcelain tile flooring; kitchens with granite or engineered stone countertops, European appliance package.
Building amenities: Club Southport with outdoor pool and change rooms, grilling stations and outdoor dining area/lounge; family lounge, kids’ rec room, learning centre, outdoor play area and playground; pet spa; parcel storage; green-screen studio, co-working space, meeting rooms; multiple lounges; yoga studio; concierge.
Tentative occupancy: Spring 2026