Canadian city enters real estate reality TV genre

Following in the footsteps of famed reality TV real estate shows, like Million Dollar Listing, Selling Sunset and Buying Beverly Hills, Toronto has entered the genre with Luxe Listings Toronto (now on Prime Video). The show, starring Peter Torkan, Paige Torkan and Brett Starke, takes us inside luxury homes, ranging from condos in downtown Toronto, to houses in the city’s Bridal Path neighbourhood and in Oakville, Ont.

“We did not want to become famous, our intention was to showcase Toronto to the world, the real estate, how beautiful this city is,” Peter told Yahoo Canada. “How can we serve other people in our team? How can we elevate them? How can we help them to take their business to the next level? So it wasn’t about us whatsoever.”

Amazon MGM Studios

Watch Luxe Listings Toronto on Prime Video with a 30-day free trail, then $9.99/month

$10 at Prime Video

“We wanted to give back by being role models, if possible, because we started from zero,” Paige added. “We wanted to show to the world that it’s possible for the younger generation and they can start from anywhere they want and be whoever they want to be in life.”

The Torkans are a husband-wife duo making up Team Torkan at The Agency in Toronto (fans of reality shows will be familiar with The Agency from its founder Mauricio Umansky, from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Buying Beverly Hills). Starke, on the other hand, leads The Starke Group and is dubbed the “King of King Street.”

Luxe Listings Toronto (Amazon MGM Studios)Luxe Listings Toronto (Amazon MGM Studios)

Luxe Listings Toronto (Amazon MGM Studios)

While much of the series is about seeing the multimillion-dollar properties, it’s also a glimpse into the personal lives of these real estate professionals. For Starke, that includes showing a spat he had with his brother, Scott, who’s also part of The Starke Group team, after an error led to the loss of a listing.

“I find that, especially in Canada and especially in real estate, there’s so much small business, there’s so much family business, and a lot of people are going to work with their best friends, or their family members, or their loved ones,” Starke said. “And the same scenarios that you get into on a management versus employee situation, you’re going to get in those situations with your family as well.”

“It’s going to be amplified because now that there’s money involved. There’s other people’s homes, there’s expectations. So I think what we really showcase [is] there’s always going to be challenges every single day. … One of the things we say at our company and my team hears me say this all the time is, ‘The only easy day was yesterday.’ So there’s going to be another challenge tomorrow, it’s going to be a harder challenge than the one you had yesterday. How are you going to adapt with those challenges? How are you going to overcome through those challenges? And if you can do it with your family, even better.”

Amazon MGM Studios

Watch Luxe Listings Toronto on Prime Video with a 30-day free trail, then $9.99/month

$10 at Prime Video

Starke also says something in the show that is quite rare for people in Toronto, that he “loves” dating in city. In the show, we see him go on a date that starts with a helicopter ride to Niagara, Ont.

“I think Toronto pulls the best of what Canada has to offer, that can be culturally, that can be financially, that can be health, that can be looks, that could be your entrepreneurship, it could be anything and I find that the best people, with the best attitudes, the best mindset, and honestly the best looking people in Canada, live in Toronto,” Starke says. “I think because of that, we have the best dating scene in the country, hands down.”

Luxe Listings Toronto (Amazon MGM Studios)Luxe Listings Toronto (Amazon MGM Studios)

Luxe Listings Toronto (Amazon MGM Studios)

While we wait to see how Starke’s dating life goes, in terms of what these real estate professionals think makes Toronto a great investment for people looking to add to their luxury real estate portfolio, Starke stressed that he believes many people weren’t aware that the properties being showcased on Luxe Listings Toronto existed in the city.

“I think where people thought maybe they have to go to Vancouver, now they have an opportunity to see the best of Toronto and we’re going to put it on the map in terms of luxury,” he said.

“What makes Toronto very unique, I think, even during a tough market, is resilience,” Paige Torkan added. “That makes Toronto a very demanding market for real estate and also safe for investment.”

Peter said that when he started selling real estate in Toronto, the lots on the Bridal Path were going for about $2 million, today that same lot sits at $15 million.

“There is lot of wealth in the city and there’s a lot more coming in,” he said. “So Toronto, I call it as steady as she goes, yes it might hit a little bit of bumps in the road, but it’s always towards upwards. “

“We are not New York’s little baby brother anymore. It’s big changes happening in Toronto.”

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