My husband and I have been thinking about moving. We currently own a little house in the city. It’s not located in the best area of town but we do have a nice, little pocket of neighbours with lots of kids around. We’re a short distance from Downtown and very close to a new hotspot growing strong in Toronto – the Junction – the latest result of gentrification.
Only 5-10 years ago, the Junction was a pretty shady area, but it has bloomed into a neighbourhood that boasts expensive cafes, organic veggie markets and yoga studios. You can be sure, the rich folk have arrived. (I did hear a rumour that this area still has the highest concentration of pedophiles in Toronto. I hope this isn’t true.)
The Junction was where we hoped to move. Our daughter attends school there already…it’s our way of getting one foot into the neghbourhood, I guess. The thing is, to move there we pretty much have to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, AND be willing to live in an old home, that will have no closets, and will likely need to be renovated. Of course, it’ll have tonnes of character! But, I’m well aware that a big part of my inflated mortgage payment will be going towards the fact that I’ll be close to the cafes, the organic market and the yoga studios.
I like this. I want to be walking distance from these places. I want to live around people who choose to bike ride over driving and who are diverse and open-minded. I just can’t afford it.
What we can afford is a house in the suburbs. Probably a new development. But I fear the suburbs. I fear the hundreds of cookie-cutter homes littering the landscape. I fear the lack of sidewalks since you need to drive to get anywhere. I fear the stripmalls. I really fear the loss of my soul. But most of all? I fear the little 5 year old I saw coming out of a car yesterday in Mississauga – was she really wearing a long, blonde weave and little plastic heals!?!
Perhaps the answer lies in a small town. Neither the city nor the suburbs. Somewhere close to a lake? It sounds kind of dreamy, no? It’s true that the crowded noise of the city has been more annoying than enchanting as of late. The pretenciousness of “coffee art” and downtown hipsters is not lost on me. I am well aware of how much posing one has to do to keep up with their fellow city dwellers. However, I don’t think I’m ready to let it go. Certainly not to trade in for a big house and 3 car garage where I’ll watch TV all day and go to Mandarin for dinner.
It angers me that we have to make this choice. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between. A place where a decent home is still available yet you don’t have to give up a more grassroots lifestyle.
In my heart I dream of living on an island, waking to the smell of salty air. I know, I know, don’t we all.But it isn’t luxury I’m after, I promise you. I’m not naïve. And I know there is more to life than location.
So here we are. Back at square one. Any suggestions?
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