Do you think that because you’re pregnant or raising a kid it means you have to move to the ‘burbs? Not so fast. Between condo communities, family-centered activities, quiet green spaces, and at-your-doorstep transportation, city-living can offer your family the perfect kind of convenience, and a very cool blend of urban and wholesome.
I should know.
I didn’t grow up climbing trees and frolicking with puppies on the farm. I grew up in downtown Toronto. When I was four years old, I loved taking taxis, riding the streetcar, and going to movie theatres. I loved hanging out in Kensington and going to the CNE to watch the air show. And I still do.
Yep. I am city girl, forever enamoured with Toronto and all it has to offer.
That’s why it still gets me every time I hear someone say, “Well, we’re looking for a place outside of the city, because we’re having kids.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve felt the pull and I’ve even moved. I’ve lived north of Toronto in York region, and I’ve also lived on the outskirts of the west-end (technically not a suburb, but still). And every time, the city has won me back as the best place for my life to unfold — especially as a mom.
Ever since I was a kid, I’d look forward to going to the Royal Ontario Museum, or the Art Gallery of Ontario. I loved walking into the free galleries that peppered the Annex, Spadina, and downtown — and Baby Girl loves it too.
We make up stories about the paintings we see and learn about so many local artists. The fact that that so much culture is so easily accessible is a huge bonus for sparking imagination, encouraging a love of history and story-telling, and just engaging with your kid in a place that’s not an indoor playground. Now there are events like Nuit Blanche, TIFF Kids at the Bell Lightbox, FanExpo, and even art crawls, like this one sponsored by Garrison Point in Liberty Village, that make culture and community come together right outside your front door.
One of the things that really got me when I lived north of Toronto was the feeling that I had to get into my car to go anywhere, including the corner store.
I love the feeling of stepping out and having everything at my front door. I love the fact that driving is just ‘an option’ depending on what adventure we have planned.
Whether we’re going grocery shopping, to the CNE, to the park, or to a fancy dinner, my kid and I can get there on two feet — it’s not just about amenities. It’s about accessibility. Liberty Village and the surrounding areas are great examples of neighbourhoods that offer proximity to everything.
I loved getting to know my neighhours when I was a kid, and my kid loves knowing her neighbours and interacting with her community.
In my experience, communities can be even tighter-knit in the city, especially in condo buildings that share cool amenities like a pool or fitness area, integrated retail or shopping, or green areas like the ones at Garrison Point.
We know everyone at our park, and in our shops — and we make play dates just the same as anyone in the suburbs would.
A community exists anywhere people take an interest in their lives, and value the quality of life that others share with them; it doesn’t matter where you live.
For a long time I thought that giving my little girl a backyard and removing her from my busy, buzzy life was what defined ‘quality’ but then I realized that I was in fact, keeping her at arm's length.
‘Mummy’s working’ became a dreaded excuse that I hated to say and she hated to hear. I spent between 1- 3 hours on the road away from her, in addition to my work day, and I felt torn, frustrated, and perpetually stressed out about the commute and being late for meetings.
Toronto is where 90% of my clients live, and being situated in the heart of my client base is a huge relief for me. I actually spend more time with my kid, and if we’re commuting, it’s to go to a cottage or on a special day trip or vacation.
Aside from that, my kid is now IN my life. She knows where I’m going and why, and feels proud, relaxed, and way more confident when I say ‘Mummy has to work now.’
If you’re thinking of moving out of the core because it’ll give your kid a better tomorrow, take another look around you with fresh eyes. The grass is always greener in the suburbs, and sometimes that may gleam like emeralds when there’s noisy construction or a traffic jam. But remember, those things happen everywhere.
As my kid said the other day:
“Mummy, I love Tonto (Toronto) City. It smells like happiness and I know everyone. Also I get to ride the train because I’m a princess. Here is where I’m going to be a famous superhero. AAAAAAAAND ACTION.”
Now you can be part of the action too. At 11am on Friday, September 20th, Garrison Point will be hosting a Twitter Party to get your view on the best place to raise your kids. They’ll be giving away $25 gift cards to William’s Landing Restaurant in Liberty Village to 4 lucky participants, so join the conversation by following @ThePointTO!