Today, Day 24 of my Gratitude Challenge, I am giving thanks for our neighbourhood. Toronto, like any city, has its problems, many of which I complain about regularly: major traffic, rude and aggressive drivers, and a shitty transit system. And all of this is being made worse by our pathetic excuse for a mayor (which I'm guessing you've heard something about by now!).
But there are awesome things about this city too: The diversity, the food (honestly I have yet to find another city that can match us for the breadth and quality of ethic food restaurants and grocery stores), and the neighbourhoods. In fact, people often refer to Toronto as a city of neighbourhoods. It has a vast array of ethnic enclaves, but also communities created by geography, like ours, that are diverse and unique.
When we moved here, it was not at all trendy. Most of our friends had never heard of, or been to the area, and there is STILL little agreement on its name. Sometimes its called Christie Pits, because of the huge, famous park in the south east area. Our real estate agent recently told me it is considered part of Wychwood, but really it isn't. Wychwood starts a block north and is much more trendy and expensive. That being said, a house (a smaller semi) on our street recently sold for well over $600,000, and just south of our street houses are starting to sell for $750,000 or much more, depending on their size and condition. This is a huge jump from when we moved here almost 8 years ago.
But while all of our friends at the time chose swankier neighbourhoods, we chose this one, frankly, because it is the closest thing we could afford to where we were renting: the Annex, which is the neighbourhood closest to the University of Toronto and is prohibitively expensive for most mere mortals. We now could not be happier with our choice. It's central, has several awesome community centres and recreational facilities, our kids' awesome school and daycare (which are in the same building), several great grocery stores, and an increasing number of great restaurants and funky cafes. It is relatively close to public transit (a 4 minute bus ride to the subway) and walking distance from 2 major streets with tons of amenities (Bloor and St. Clair).
What makes me love this area, however, is the people. We have great neighbours and have become part of a fabulous community of families through the girls' school and daycare. I feel so lucky to be party of this wonderful community.
This weekend's going to be busy. I work tomorrow and we have the usual activities for the girls: swimming, soccer, fit kids and Hebrew School, along with 2 birthday parties. It's going to be fun. Have a good one.