Friday, July 13, 2012

Condo kids

Toronto's Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday apparently doesn't think that downtown condos should be for kids.

Too bad.

Yes, I'm currently a suburban mom of 3, but once upon a time I was a condo-dwelling urban mom. My husband was a medical resident working 80+ hours/week, so living within walking distance of the hospitals was a necessity. For a year, I was also able to work downtown when my oldest child was a baby.

It worked well for our young family. Most of the time, we walked to work and to the daycare, so transportation costs were minimal. There wasn't much space to spare, but we used the building's recreation centre well, doing endless laps around the track with the stroller, and then letting our daughter run around once she learned to walk. Instead of a basement and backyard, we had the YMCA Family Development Centre up the street, which offered plenty of toys and a place to hang out with other moms. Having everything close by allowed us to work without relying on a nanny. It also allowed us to go out and have fun with the baby, without having to constantly get in a car. We'd stroll through the Eaton Centre, jog around Queen's Park, and go for long walks all around downtown Toronto. One of my favorite memories is from the time that we walked to the Taste of Little Italy street festival, where our toddler entertained the crowd when she danced to a South American street band. We had a chance to raise her for 3 years in a wonderful, diverse area. No, she didn't play in the streets - urban condo kids quickly learn that they need to hold hands with an adult the moment they walk out the door.

At that stage of our lives, we wouldn't have been able to afford the time or money to live in the suburbs. A single detached house within the City of Toronto is just not affordable for many families, and living in a quiet residential area means that public transit is less of an option. Living in our old condo allowed us to be able to start our family. Today, we are able to make the suburbs work for us - with 3 kids, it's nice to have a larger home, and we are lucky to have careers that allow us to work close to home. If we didn't have that option, though, the commute would be horrible. Family-friendly condos just make sense.


C. Laundry said...

Agreed! Well said.

Tova said...

You seem to have a narrow definition of "family".