Fairy Tale In A Downtown Condo

Toronto is known as the condo capital of North America. The year 2010 underlined this position - number of large condominium projects was finished and condos take still bigger portion of monthly real estate sales.

Toronto Dowtown by Fabian Fischer
Toronto Dowtown by Fabian Fischer

New condominium towers are mushrooming downtown and the MLS offers rich selection of units for any type of buyer. Some people say, they would never exchange their house for a condo. Yes, living in a condo or a loft is different experience, than living in a house, both suit different kind of personalities. Who are the typical people, living in a downtown condo?

Burgin and Michael knew each other for a year and then married in front of a Justice-of-the-Peace in 2006 in South Africa. They later had a traditional Italian wedding in Toronto in 2008.

Michael worked as a manager of a business when he first came to Canada. Now he works for the City of Toronto. Burgin has been a theatre performer with CanStage, she has worked for Theatre New Brunswick and Manitoba Theatre. She has also played the role of "Evita" in a musical. Among being a journalist, she is also a professional music theatre performer. She has performed in "Evil Dead" as well.

"It was great because I was in the city for nine months," says Burgin. "That was with Drayton Entertainment. I've done movies for YTV, done a movie with Paris Hilton. I've been a working artist, definitely downtown is more inspiring than anywhere north of here which is where I grew up."

Dream in the park canstage by makeshiftlove
Dream In The Park, CanStage by "makeshiftlove"

Burgin and Michael currently live in the CityPlace condos in the heart of downtown Toronto. They bought the condos pre-construction and waited three years for it to be built. They moved in the very beginning of April, 2010.

"It was approaching exam time and it was kind of difficult," says Burgin. "We started packing from my parents' house. We did it really early and Michael was great. He did everything in one day. We got married in 2008, we bought our condo in 2007. I was working for CanStage at the time." While waiting for their downtown condo, Burgin and Michael saved money living with Burgin's parents. They remember staying with parents as a great time.

"I'm very grateful we ended up spending those three years at home. My Dad got to know him. My Dad and my Mom, he's just as much a son as my brothers are. My Dad has a soft spot for the women in his life like me and my Mom and it was a good thing he got to know Michael."

Burgin and Michael have been living in their condominium now for about nine to 10 months.

grocery day by Janine
Grocery day by Janine

"We love it," Burgin says. "Everything was always downtown for me when I was living at my parents. Now everything is up there. It is amazing to be downtown. My friends are downtown. Going up to York is an hour and half commute. But I love the skyline, can walk outside to anywhere I need to go, I can walk to the grocery store, the library. The winter does not bother me at all. I had not ever worn a heavy jacket before; as long as you're outfitted it is fine. I love the lights at night; I know we don't get many stars out here, but to see the skyscrapers and the buildings. I never knew the CN Tower was lit in so many colours. At Christmas it was red and green." Burgin says downtown living is something that she thinks is geared towards a younger demographic.

"Could you raise a family here? Yeah you could."

Burgin notes some of the pitfalls of living downtown.

"The downfall of living in a condo though is the price that you pay for a 1,000 square foot condo you could get a semi-detached house if you go further north or further east," she does say this. "I think it is something that everyone would want to experience at one time in their life."

Burgin says her Mom is even thinking of living in a condo downtown. "It depends on whether they've done it or they haven't done it. Everyone I meet they say at one time in their life they have wanted to live in a downtown condo. My uncle and aunt's house caught on fire not due to their negligence. They always wanted to live downtown and the insurance put them in a downtown condo and they found it to be a good experience."

Burgin and Michael pay about $450 in condo fees a month. Their condominium has a north view.

"We have some heritage buildings just in the distance. We are on the sixth floor so it's so high. We have a good view of the skyline because nothing will ever obstruct our view. We have a mini-park behind us too and we see everyone with their dogs. No one can really see up. It's perfect."

Burgin has advice for those looking for a downtown condo.

"You should shop around. We bought ours pre-construction. You are saving that way, but it already depreciates when you get in. You don't know what you're getting. Nine times out of ten it's always smaller than you think it is."

Burgin has an interior design background and she was going to study that. "You don't know physically what it's going to look like."

Burgin also advises: "Really know who is living in that area and what kind of people are living in that building. A lot of people in the building are young and renters or young married couples with their first condo. We fit in great. Their building a daycare centre right in front of us. There are a couple of older people living in the building and they must be kicking themselves for moving in. There are parties on Friday and Saturday nights."

For Burgin, she finds the noise-level in her condo good. Burgin and Michael have plans for the future.

"What Michael and I, our plan is, we've been here about nine, 10 months and we say to ourselves that we're going to start looking this summer for another pre-construction development. Definitely something a little bit bigger and put a down payment for a new development and then move in there or sell or rent this place out as another investment in the works. Getting another condo will pay off for us," says Burgin.

Toronto neighbourhood
Toronto neighbourhood

For now, they live their downtown condo dream. It is an ideal place for a young couple – great location, little maintenance, full of life. When the time comes, and their family becomes larger, they plan to start looking for some lovely house in a calm Toronto neighbourhood.  

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