What’s in a [building] name?

What’s in a [building] name?

By Condo Culture

What’s in a name?

Have you ever wondered what goes into naming new development projects across the Region and beyond? Ever wondered what’s behind the name of buildings locally? Maybe you’ve heard one and said, what is that? I could have come up with something way better!

Throughout our time, we’ve seen some developments come up with some really great building names and others that are down right cringe-worthy. While there are still relatively few condos in our market compared to larger cities like Toronto or Vancouver, there are some great examples of some really thoughtful names that are rooted in meaning or local history that will stand the test of time and others that, well, may only get funnier or more awkward with time. But like anything, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this can definitely be true of building names as well.

Have an idea of your own that you think would be awesome? We’d love to hear from you!

We’ve always loved the process behind naming a project. It can be super fun to really try and nail the identity of a project through its name and develop something that will become a staple of our community. Something that people will resonate with and people who live there will refer to it as for years to come.

But it also comes with a responsibility not to embarrass the heck out of future residents when they invite family and friends over. Not many people would choose to buy a unit or in a building solely based on the name, but just like a weird street name (you know what we’re talking about if you live on one), it’s definitely one of those things that can make you think twice or at least shake your head.

So how do you come up with a good name for a new residential development? In our view you ideally want to choose a name that is timeless and remains as authentic as possible to the location, neighbourhood, history or what makes the buildings unique and special. Too often, especially in larger markets like Toronto where it seems like good and original names are starting to run thin, branding becomes superfluous and a loose connection to the property or people living there. Or, in the most embarrassing of cases, trying to stretch reality and be something they are not. Hilarious examples that hit our hall of naming shame are Malibu, Celebrity Place, Bohemian Embassy, Upside Down Condos, Giraffe or Neptune. Yep, those are all real building names. Do any of us really want to live on Neptune or in Malibu, Toronto? ;)

Locally, you won’t see examples quite as cringeworthy as the naming tends to error more on the conservative side but in some cases this results in names that sure may be a little more timeless, but at times a little too boring nonetheless. Buildings that are literally the address come to mind. Easy to understand and likely to stand the test of time, but yawn!

133 Park-exterior-2

133 Park

133 Park Street, Waterloo

This one wouldn’t be so bad but it came after 144 Park directly across the street. We’re all for timelessness but the gorgeous exterior of this building could have thrived with a little more originality.

the 42-extension-2

The 42

42 Bridgeport Road E, Waterloo

Located at 42 Bridgeport Road East in Waterloo, this was one of the first condo projects outside of the Bauer Lofts to really reignite condo development across the city and for that reason we love it. But with its pioneer status and the awesome 2 storey lofts at the top of the building (if you haven’t seen one you need to check them out), we wish it had a name to match its inherent cool factor!


One28 Condos

128 King Street North, Waterloo

Yep you guessed it, the address of this building is 128 King Street North. It’s almost like the developer of this one knew it wasn’t original enough when they decided to combine alpha and numeric characters to make the name. Not super original but at least it’s not as hilarious as the next ones on our list!


FIT on Lancaster

361 Lancaster Street West, Kitchener

Maybe you will get more fit if you live here? Or maybe you need to be fit to live here? We’re not quite sure but it’s never really resonated with us. How about you? Maybe we need to get ourselves back to the gym and be more fit to understand ;)

Let’s check out some of our favourites!

Charlie West-exterior-Aug202137 (1)

Charlie West

60 Charles Street West, Kitchener

Playing off its location on Charles Street West, we love the playfulness of this name effortlessly tying in its location. It doesn’t hurt that we love the building too. With unbelievable views overlooking Victoria Park, this one is not one to be overlooked if you’re looking for a new place to call home in Downtown Kitchener.



51 David Street, Kitchener

With its location literally across the street from Victoria Park, this project could have had a ton of options to overtly name it after the park. But rather than fall victim to that unoriginality, the developer decided to name it after a long term resident of the park, Otis the swan. We just love the legend that is Otis and the cute factor and humour that is inherent in this approach while remaining true to itself and its location right in Victoria Park.

Station Park - New development in Kitchener Waterloo

Station Park

5 Wellington Street, Kitchener & 15 Wellington Street, Kitchener

Ok, we admit it. We may be a little biased on this one. Station Park’s name combines the projects focus on publicly accessible space and proximity to the railway lines that have served this community from an industrial perspective for years and will increasingly become this areas connection to Toronto via GO Train service to Union Station. This project has a massive park area planned for the centre of the development that connects to another street front park area alongside King Street. There’s also a huge rooftop terrace planned behind buildings 3 and 4 that will be like an elevated park in the sky for residents. Park space combined with rail lines and the future multi-model GO Train and transit station right across the road make this one a perfect fit.

one victoria-exterior-4

1 Victoria

1 Victoria Street South, Kitchener

You thought we disliked all names that were addresses right? Not true! There are some great ones and times where this makes a ton of sense, especially with an iconic address like 1 Victoria. But what you may not know is that the address of this property originally wasn’t on Victoria Street at all. It was actually on King. What do you think? Would it have the same ring to it if it was something along the lines of 413 King? We doubt it!

KaufmanLofts Sign2.jpg

Kaufman Lofts

404 King Street West, Kitchener & 410 King Street West, Kitchener

There’s nothing more timeless and authentic than naming a building after its original use. This is done with loft conversions all the time and when done right, it’s what makes these names some of our favourites. The Kaufman Lofts is a great example of this locally. Kaufman Footwear and Kaufman Rubber Company is a big part of our history locally and having this recognized through a factory loft conversion as beautiful as the Kaufman Lofts, could’t feel more suiting in our opinion! Other great examples of this are the Arrow Lofts on Benton Street in Kitchener and the Seagram’s Lofts on Father David Bauer Drive in Waterloo.

Have other faves or ones that you’ve always thought were funny that didn’t make the list? Drop us a line and let us know. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Have a great weekend everyone.

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