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Torontonians-Your preferred condominium location?

Torontonians-Your preferred condominium location?

Mar 19th, 2006, 05:21 PM
  #1  
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Torontonians-Your preferred condominium location?

Looking for a condominium for our daughter who will be completing law school at York and then working in Toronto...what is your preferred location..Yonge and Bloor? Entertainment district? Yonge and Eglinton? Comments or ideas?
horatio is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:18 AM
  #2  
 
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If she doesn't plan to have a car, Yonge and Eglinton, of those 3, would be the best for getting to York via public transit. Yonge and Eg has lots of restaurants, grocery stores, young people, etc. and is right on the subway line; but she'd have to take a bus west to the Spadina subway line (stop is Eglinton West) and the subway there north to Downsview stop and then a bus ride to the school.

There are lots of condos in the Yonge/Finch area or Yonge/Sheppard area also on the subway line but which still involve bussing it to the Spadina line to get to the Downsview stop.

This may mean nothing if she plans to drive to school - if she does plan to drive, Yonge and Bloor is a super location and would be my first choice.
SallyCanuck is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 10:48 AM
  #3  
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Thank you so much for responding..I didn't put much detail as I did not know if someone would respond! She would take either subway line and then at the top take the express bus to York for the next 2 years..after that, hoping that she works in Toronto she would walk or take the subway..she would not have a vehicle. I was thinking maybe Yonge and Eglinton would be less congested but the realtors tell me there is not much up there below 400,000. How would the Wellington/Blue Jays Way area be..I mean, if you are figuring safety? Or how would the Wellesley/Yonge area be? I get the feeling the landscaping of the city has changed, i.e., areas are being cleaned up and condos are popping up all over.
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Mar 20th, 2006, 11:06 AM
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Horatio, I'm assuming your daughter is only needing a one, possibly two bedroom condo. Anywhere along the subway line will be more expensive but very worth it in terms of convenience. But I would question the $400K price for Yonge/Eg - that is way too high for even a two bedroom. Wellington/Blue Jays Way is too far south and a long haul to York. I would probably go no further south than St. Clair and check out the Davisville area as well as Yonge and Eg.
starfish1 is offline  
Mar 20th, 2006, 01:20 PM
  #5  
BAK
 
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No easy answers.

Skip Yonge - Wellesley unless she's gay. Otherwise,no advantages and lots of disadvantages.

Toronto is vastly overbuilt with condos now, and therefore, from an investment point of view, shop carefully. I think the key will be to think about future resale value.

Looking further into the future -- where does she want to work? What kind of a law firm? I've done a fair bit of consulting for law firms over the year. The big time firms are all downtown, between Church and University, from the lake north to, maybe, Dundas Street.

If she wants to work for a smaller firm, there are law firms all around the city, in Pickering, Markham, etc. the biggest firms in Mississauga, west of the city, have aound 30 lawyers max, to give you an idea of size.

And then there's the question of where she's going to Article.

Downtown, probably?

As for getting to York... it's a million miles from anywhere, so once she starts the long trek, what's another fifteen minutes?

If she plans to stay in Toronto after school, and work for a big firm, her 14 hour week days and six or seven hour weekend days suggest that she might like to be able to walk home, and clear her head, or grab a five buck cab.

So, I'm in favor of putting her downtown.

It is really easy to look at realestate maps, and get suckered. Distances downtown are sometimes father than it looks; south of the Gardiner Expressway and railway tracks is farther than you might think from downtown, especially if you get over near Exhibition Place (Tip Toop condos, the converted Molson brewery, or the so-called Liberty Village area, north of Exhibition Place)

So, narrowing things down, assuming an ideal world, assuming adequate financing, etc...

Within walking distances of the Queen, King, Union, St. Andrews, Osgoode, St. Patrick subway stations.

Once she's on the subway, the adventure to York begins for a couple of years. For Atricling, with lick, she's within walking distance. For years as a junior, she's within walking distance.

Perhaps surprisingly for people outside Toronto, driving from downtown is not as bad as you might think. If she ends up practisiing outside the core, she may be lucky and be on the subway line, or otherwise she can escape from downtown by car, going against perhaps 60 per of the traffic.

One of my clients lives near the subway line int hewest end, and she just takes the subway to a station and switches to a bus and ends up at her firm in Mississauga easily enough, and is happy to have invested car money and insurance money in her mortgage instead. (Rents a car when needed)

Be careful of projected completion dates -- I believe some projects are being delayed on purpose.

There are some very small condos available downtown for under $200,000. While that's a lot of money, especially in other cities, it provides safe, warm, confortable, well-located accomodation.

I assume you know enough to pay attention to condo maintenance fee levels. If money matters, hoit a balance between good services and overpriced lavishness.

And if you can buy a parking spot, do so. Just rent it out if she has no car. It will gain in value faster than the apartment itself.

If it was me, One King West would be really cool, well located, convenient, and when I was looking at their prompotion, not as expensive as I might have thought.

BAK

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Mar 20th, 2006, 01:49 PM
  #6  
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Wow..thanks for all the helpful comments and advice. I think the plan, looking forward would be to work in the downtown core and eventually(6 years?) move out to the GTA..We were thinking of a 2 bedroom as I don't think she really wants to live alone..around $300,000....a realtor has shown me around and her(realtor) preferred buildings are 30 Hayden, 24 Wellesley(nice building..west of Yonge), 85 and 55 bloor Street east..was told the condos on bay are not managed very well...is she ignoring areas? And then I was thinking that maybe Yonge and St. Clair area would be less congested and safe..
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Mar 20th, 2006, 01:50 PM
  #7  
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Oh yes..what, Bak are the disadvantages of the Yonge/Wellesley area..just curious as I live in Oakville and don't frequent the area that much
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Mar 20th, 2006, 04:20 PM
  #8  
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The Yonge asnd Wellsley disadvantages are really conparative to the positive advantages north, at Bloor and Yonge or Eglington and Yonge, or farther down the street.

Think of Yonge and Wellesly as Kerr Street. Yes, there are stores, but not very good ones. Restaurants, but only a couple of decent ones. Not including some lousy Indian buffet I was at recently.

Used furniture stores, if you want that kind of stuff. Discount hair products and hunting knives.

West is government buildings, mostly. East you get into the Gay Ghetto, which guarantees some fine food. Toronto's most famous Second Cup, with the famous steps, is there. But again, a relatively narrow social focus.

It's OK, but nothing special.

Other neighborhoods are something special.

Come into the big city on the Go Train, and take the Yonge subway up to the College Station. Then just walk up to Bloor, looking down the sidestreets as you proceed north, deciding which areas you'd send a young, smart, woman to.

Notice how the street life changes as you get two or three blocks north of College / Carleton (same street, name changes as it crosses Yonge).

By the time you get to Bloor, you'll have had a nice walk, and got a good idea of the core of the city.

Walk west to Belair, and get on the subway at the St. George stop, and head back to the Union Station. Wonderful way to spend most of a Saturday.

BAK

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Mar 20th, 2006, 04:37 PM
  #9  
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I used to have an office at 45 Charles Street East, which is pretty close to 30 hayden, and I had an office for years in Yorkville, on Hazelton at Scollard.

This is a fine area, and a few blocks really does make a difference.

The Bloor Street East addresses are nice buildings. One of them, at least, has a lot of investor-owned units in it that get rented out as hotel suites.

It's an older neighborhood (in the ages of the residents) than in the new condos downtown, and a richer neighborhood. Rosedale to the west, Yorkville to the West.

The other night i was in the neighborhood with an old friend, and said that if i could choose anywhere to live and cost did not matter, it would be either the condos across the street fromthe Four Seasons, or the Manulife Center apartments, upstairs over Indigo. So you won't get much in the way of negatives from me about this area.

Except if she ends up on Bay Street, she'll be riding the subway twice a day and wouldn't have to do that if farther downtown.

If she's going to live with someone -- some of the newer condos are designed for two-people non-couple living, and it's worth chacking out the floor plans comparing newer buildings with o9lder one. The non-couple places have ensuite baths with each bedroom, and often an extra little study or den so one person has a comfortable place to be while the other is entertaining.

Yonge and St. Clair -- I can't think of any advantages for a young lawyer working long hours, unless she spots an apartment layout that she just loves.

AGain, try a walkaround on a Saturday.

And, further to the walkaround idea.

Walk up from the College subway to the Wellesley station some night around 11. I wouldn't give it a second thought, but I'm a big guy and a long-time city dweller. Just see if you are conmfortable.

About safety in general -- it really is an amazingly safe city, and smart women with a $10 for a cab are really unlikely to have any serious problems.

That said, I'd stay away from anywhaer west of Jarvis and Dundas, at least until three or four blocks south, all the way up to Bloor, over to Sherbourne.
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Mar 20th, 2006, 06:13 PM
  #10  
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BAK..you are wonderful to help me so...are you saying then that, in the evening,the walk from College to Wellesley along Yonge is slightly "scary"? This realtor actually rents off of Wellesley and swears by it...one realtor was trying to push 18 Yorkville but it is too pricey..Thanks
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Mar 20th, 2006, 06:20 PM
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I would suggest looking at Merton Street near Yonge and Davisville as it is a great area just south of Eglinton and north of St. Clair. There are lots of affordable new condos and lots have city views. The area is one of the safest in the city and there is a great running/biking trail that runs behind the condos. The area is full of young professionals and she'd be able to walk to everything (except York, of course).
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Mar 21st, 2006, 02:49 AM
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Bay and College is a great area as well. Also look into Queen WEst and King west..
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Mar 21st, 2006, 04:20 AM
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Yes, I think I will drive into Toronto and check out the Yonge and Davisville area this Sunday...as for walking along Yonge up to College from Wellesley(or the reverse) at night....I get the picture..that is why I was suprised the realtor had pushed Wellesley either east or west of Yonge..I also tried to pull up 1 King Street..but nothing is for sale there..maybe in time. there appears to be a lot available around Cityplace but that is at Front and Spadina...a distance, maybe.
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Mar 21st, 2006, 06:23 AM
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There are several generations of Bay Street condos. There are those built in, I think the early 80s, like Polo Club. They seem to be getting rather tired, and some of the layouts (with triangular floor plans and microscopic "sunrooms") don't seem great.

There are a few buildings that were constructed in the late 1990s. I owned an apartment at Opera Place (Bay, south of Wellesley) for 5 years and did well when I sold it. The building was completed in 1998 and is in good shape. It has a next door neighbour (909, I think) that is similar in style. The apartments are fairly large and almost all have balconies. Make sure you buy one with a parking spot. I always felt safe walking around in the neighbourhood and found it very convenient, but Bay Street itself lacks character. There is also one on the NE corner of Yonge and College.

There are a couple of very new ones (1121 Bay), as well. I'm not sure what it's like.

Watch out for some of the converted buildings (8 Wellesley St East, I think, is one). I knew someone who lived there and the building seemed to be falling apart (part of the exterior wall slid off one day and landed on a car). Make sure you look closely at the maintenance fees, AGM minutes and budget - you might see a problem lurking.
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Mar 21st, 2006, 06:41 AM
  #15  
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Re>...are you saying then that, in the evening,the walk from College to Wellesley along Yonge is slightly "scary"? <

I'm just saying, go for a walk, and get a feel for it. My prediction is you'll see significant differences in comfort level once you get north past the Courtyard Marriott and then things will changes again four or five blocks south of Bloor. Among other things, note the restaurants and bars and the amount of sidewalk traffic.

Now compare this to Bloor Street either side of Yonge for a few blocks, and down around the Chapters at John and Richjmond, south along John past King, with the theatres and restaurants.

Note the number of people sleeping in doorways, and decide if this matters to you. There's a selection of downtown street-sleepers pretty much everywhere, though.

None of this to say that the streets are full of victims of streetcrime. This is an astoundingly safe city.

BAK
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Mar 21st, 2006, 09:36 AM
  #16  
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Hello, Horatio! I laughed when I read BAK's comment about York..."It's a million miles away from anywnere!". So true. In addition to doing your "walk about" in the areas that you are considering you & your daughter shd do the subway/bus commute up to York. But do it on a weekday which is when she will have to get way the heck up there for classes & then back home sometimes late @ night. Have you considered holding off on the downtown condo purchase until after your daughter graduates form Law School & is articling downtown? For the next 2 years all she will be doing is studying so I wld be thinking about being as close to York as possible. Alternatively, she cld transfer to U of T Law School & live downtown in the condo that you want to purchase unless there is a compelling reason to go to York. It sounds as if she is transferring to York for her final 2 years. (Or, you cld buy her a car if she is going to live in that condo downtown for the next 2 years while finishing Law School @ York!!)
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Mar 21st, 2006, 10:05 AM
  #17  
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She is up at the graduate housing at York and absolutely refuses to live there another year..coming from Western it has been a shock. Osgoode as a school, she absolutely loves, so a transfer is not in the plans. I mean, she could even live at home and commute. To rent in downtown Toronto means she would have to spend(we, I mean) at least $1000 a month for something decent..why not put that to a condo, I guess. She realizes how much time she will spend commuting but is willing to do it. Bak..are you saying that the area just south of Bloor around Hayden is alright but further south is not? How would you categorize the area around 33 University? Sorry for the questions but you all have been more helpful that the realtors.
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Mar 21st, 2006, 04:52 PM
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I like wow's idea. I think buying a car makes a lot of sense. I'd be willing to bet it would not take as long to drive from Oakville as it would to take public transit from downtown.
Even sitting on the 401 in traffic, listening to music would be better than sitting on crowded subways and buses.

And what would your daughter do with herself if she had a couple of hours between classes. Too far to go anywhere from York. but with a car, she could go somewhere.

But as far as areas, my mom lived for many years near Davisville and Yonge and it was great. I much prefer this area to the downtown areas. I think it's safer and not as many street sleepers. At least that's the way it was. But still convenient and just that much closer to the north!!

Good luck with your decision.
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 01:34 AM
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33 University and nearby is fine. The financial district and the entertainment district (e.g. Queen Street south to Front Street, and from Yonge in the East to Spadina or a few blocks further west) are fine from a safety perspective. Between Yonge (to the west) and Parliament (to the east) from about Adelaide (to the south) north to about Wellesley would not be my first choice of a place for my daughter to live, although "unsafe" is too strong a word. A bit seedy, a bit dodgy maybe. There are some shelters, missions, prostitution and drug-dealing. I have felt less comfortable walking around in these areas than I did west of Yonge. On the other hand, they're rather busy neighbourhoods, with a large student population (Ryerson is in this area), so there are almost always people on the streets. I feel safer when there are people around.

There are some nice, newish condos on King Street East and the surrounding area. They would be within walking distance to downtown law offices, are a few blocks from St. Lawrence Market and probably would have good access to freeways. I have friends who live in this neighbourhood and quite like it for its convenience. It's not as sterile as the Bay Street corridor - lots of shops and restaurants.

There are some interesting condos in the entertainment district, but some of them are going to be really loud. They're also likely to be full of 20 somethings (either renting or living in condos purchased by their parents). Fun for your daughter but perhaps not so good from an owner's perspective/resale perspective. I've been to a few parties in some of these buildings and they sometimes the hallways get like messy dorms. At least one of the buildings (Qwest) has units rented out like hotel units, which I also think might not be a good idea from a resale perspective.

I used to commute on public transit to U of T law school from my parents house NE of Yonge and Eglinton. A brutal trip (walk, then bus, then subway, then walk or another bus). On the plus side, thinking of your daughter's future commute downtown, if you get on the subway at Yonge and Eglinton, you're the last person to get on the subway from a centre platform. Thereafter, until you get downtown, people get on from the other side of the car (side platforms). Which means that you can lean up against the door and carve out a little breathing room for yourself.

Even better, if you live at St. Clair West, every other subway in the morning turns around at this stop and heads back downtown, so about 50% of the time the train is empty when you get on.

Although I preferred living in downtown Toronto (I also lived, as mentioned above, NE of Yonge and Eglinton; at St. Clair West; and in the Beaches), I would also recommend the area around St. Clair West as a possibility if you can find a good condo. It's a quick trip downtown (about 20 minutes by subway), but you still feel like you've escaped downtown and there is some green space nearby. There's a great Loblaws attached to the subway station, so late night shopping on the way home from the office or school is easy. The area east of Bathurst is safe and quiet without being dead. If your daughter wanted to commute by public transit, she'd be on the western arm of the Yonge subway line, which would be convenient, and if she drove to school, she'd be that much closer.
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 06:30 AM
  #20  
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RE> Bak..are you saying that the area just south of Bloor around Hayden is alright but further south is not?<

Yes, I'm pretty much saying that.

Getting off the subway at Bloor and walking south beats getting off the subway at Wellesley at 11 pm.

Take a look, too, at the subway routes. She can walk over to St. George from Hayden on a nice day, and catch the York-bound train.

Or the other way on a nice evening. Or change to a Bloor east-west train. To get to Wellesley, it's another bunch of stops down university and back up underneath Yonge Street.

33 Univesity: I know a woman who lives there, and she thinks it is a fine location. I live west of there, and pass by on my way to the grocery store and the St. Lawrence Market. She'd have her choice of the Union Station stop, and be near the GO train to go visit her family. Or she could walk up University a couple of blocks, to the St. Andrews station.

Articling... she's within five minutes by foot of dozen biggest law firms in Canada.

But as I think about this...

If she was my daughter, and I had the money, I'd be in favor of a downtown condo near the law firms and a car to get to and from school for the next couple of years.

A car would cost a lot more than a TTC pass (about $100 a month) but I can imagine learning to really, really hate the ride to York on the TTC.

With a car, she could at least be comfortable, and plan her own schedule.

BACKGROUND: I was supposed to go to the Arctic Campus of York, after attending Glendon College, which is in civilization, and decided it was not a place I wanted to travel to, or live at.

I understand there's a big difference between Osgoode and the UofT Law School, and future lawyers either take to one or the other, but not both.

Too bad that they have not reversed their thinking. I walked past the UofT law school one day last week, and it sure is more convenient.

In the same neighborhood as 33 University, there's a building on Simcoe near Richmond, and another, the Jefferson, I think, on John Street south of King Street. Both walkable to subways, both safe neighborhoods, (leaving aside the shootings) and both claose to the downtown law firms.

BAK
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