D Day is one day away. The condo is getting sparse and there’s not much left but essentials, mostly food, toiletries and clothing for one more day.The bunk bed has been replaced with the original double size mattress and with the exception of a little artwork on the fridge, it’s almost as though we were never here.

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My son wanted to leave the window marker masterpieces on his bedroom window for the “next family” that moved in 🙂

Waking up this morning, I considered the last question my mom asked me at the cottage before saying “Drive safely.” It was more of an assumption than a question I suppose. “So, you must be looking forward to moving back home.” Not a question, right? I shared the scorecard with her. So far we are evenly split.

Daddy & Brother #2 – yes, looking forward to moving back home.
Mommy & Brother #1 (birth order, not preference, I promise) – no, they want to stay.
But that only tallies four, right? Brother #3 is evenly split. He tends to go with the flow and is quite happy wherever he is, provided we’re together.

My extended family seem to be split as well, which started a minor debate at the cottage last night. My Dad of course, is on side. Contrary to my mom, he thinks our urban, smaller scale condo lifestyle is completely realistic and sustainable. I explained to my mom that of course we could live there and that this was completely “do-able.” We also talked about average size homes in other places over the world.  We are in fact spoiled and the cultural norm in Europe and Asia is to live vertically. The lego size swimming pools we see in Canada and the US during take off and landings in airplanes are a rarity in other parts of the globe.  So let’s talk about size?  What is average? (Always a fun conversation for girls!)

According to Apartment Therapy, Americans enjoy the largest homes in the world, with the most square footage and usable floor space. Australia’s homes came in second. And British homes are last, averaging 818 square feet for a two-person household. However, as mentioned above, in some of the most dense urban centers in Asia, micro apartments are the trend. It’s not uncommon for renters to live in less than 400 square feet. Busy business travelers can even rent 7-square-foot apartment “pods” — spaces just big enough to crawl in and sleep — for around $40 a month. In Hong Kong, there has been an instance where apartments as small as 344 sq ft have been broken down into 24 separate homes. Not something I consider healthy or sustainable in any regard.

But what about Toronto? How do we compare? Are Toronto condos “shrinking out families?” This reporter thinks so. The average size of a new condo is now 797 square feet, according to RealNet Canada Inc. Between 2005 and 2010 the average size was between 875 and 925 square feet. We will have to continue to look for ways to make larger family size units available and affordable. It’s not something we can do alone however. The government will have to play a part.     So… back to my family condo.

What does one do on their last day before they move? Pack, right? That was pretty much done with all of our recent scurrying back and forth, so instead I opted for something a little more fun.  Something I really wanted to do. I wanted to learn more about the community. I wanted to see more. Who and what makes it run so well? Ryan, the Property Manager was kind enough to offer a visit anytime, so I took him up on it before our ETD: tomorrow.

Firstly, I was curious about the community “numbers.” (Other than the suite count, all numbers are approximate.)

Number of suites: 282

Number of residents: 705

Number of cars: 294 permanent, 30 visitors

Number of pets: 54

Parcels/day: 15-19

Parking permits / week: 40-43

The Property Manager (PM) Ryan, attributes the success of the building to the entire team. He proudly shares that he’s fortunate to work with a fantastic resident community, Board of Directors and superintendent.  The residents are actively involved in the community, the Board has a vast and tremendous knowledge base that really facilitate the building operations & decision making, and the super sounds like a tech-savvy combination of MacGyver & Inpector Gadget that’s just a click or phone call away.

They’re an extremely caring community, with thoughtful detail paid to both the physical and the emotional well being and safety of the residents and surrounding environment. They’ve even invited their Councillor Josh Matlow to their community upon occasion to address concerns and work on solutions to issues such as local traffic congestion.

Ryan himself, has a degree in architecture and commerce, which when you think about it, is an excellent background for what his responsibilities are.  He realizes that a building is a complex, ever changing thing and he’s extremely sensitive to what’s involved. This sensitivity also extends to the people that live and work in the building. And although recent recommended revisions to the condo act include certification of all Property Managers in the province, I have to admit that the ones I’ve had the privilege of working with in our own communities have been nothing short of excellent. Even before changing legislation, approximately 97% of DPM’s managers are already certified.

While he’s familiar with Toronto, Ryan feels really fortunate to work midtown, where the community’s located. He pointed out on our walk, that the area is so popular, even the TDSB has posted a notice that the school district is at capacity, and living in the area no longer guarantees placement of a student.

In recent years, media has covered parents that falsify addresses in the hopes of getting their children into preferred school, particularly those described in this article, as “blessed by geography,” where it’s common for Real Estate agents used to walk around with the Fraser Institute report or standardized EQAO test scores.

We also talked about the infrastructure itself and improvements that have been made to the community. From “lipstick and rouge” aesthetic improvements such as repainting common areas, replacing guest towels that have reached their maturity to more substantial items such as booster pumps and release valves that are behind-the-scenes yet vital enhancements that help to maintain the value and longevity of the community itself. It requires constant care and attention.

Ryan also gave me the privilege to see the “guts” of the building. This was a thrill.

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He lastly, satisfied my final request which was to see the view from the rooftop. Something I really wanted to do. Alone. With safety top of mind, I knew it was definitely a solo endeavor… without three wrestling boys. Let me suffice it to say that it was magical. I felt as though the sky was within reach and I had my own “earth” peeking down on me through the spherical rooftop opening. It met every expectation and was utterly spectacular. Thank you Ryan 🙂

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