News   Jan 14, 2022
 5.8K     7 
News   Jan 14, 2022
 977     0 
News   Jan 14, 2022
 6.2K     2 

From suburban to urban

Lenser

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
2,931
Reaction score
3,085
Location
Leslieville
I read a very recent article that Gen Y and millennials are much less willing to buy a car than their parents would. This is mainly because cars are becoming increasingly expensive and the children increasingly do not share their parent's love of the road.

I think it also has to do with the utter futility of trying to drive in a gridlocked city - cars simply can't get around as fast as they used to. The streets are choked with vehicles and trip times are steadily elongating. Yes, the price of insurance, gas and parking are all significant factors. Plus, in a city which is becoming denser in the core, there's more services and amenities available within very short distances; cars as personal autonomous transport just don't make as much sense - people opt to rent them when necessary, thereby freeing themselves of the burden of owning and maintaining a car.

Back to the suburban vs. urban. I grew up in the 'burbs of Ottawa, then Mississauga. As soon as I was in my teens I began to loathe the emptiness and cultural homogeneity of the suburbs. I have lived in small hamlets and in large cities. Put me in either category and I'll be fine - it's the bland middle ground of the suburbs that I find hellish.

My wife and I have no kids. Our friends who do have kids tend to be living in the core, however. I think it's a choice more and more people are making.
 
Last edited:

RC8

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
1,526
Reaction score
0
Location
Toronto
My wife and I are early-40s, both employed, no kids by choice. We lived in the burbs for most of our lives and then sold our house to move closer to the city. Now leasing a condo in the North York city center area, we are enjoying all the benefits of a more urban lifestyle (though I'm sure some would argue that NYCC is far from truly urban). But it is a good stepping stone for us.

My question is mostly for those who moved into the city after being raised or living in the burbs, but anyone is free to chime in. Was "urban" something you were personality-wise, or did it take some getting used to? Was it easy to shake off the more demanding aspects of city life, or did you have to work at it over time?

Have you ever tried to experience what life is like in, say, Leslieville? Riverdale? Yorkville? Summerhill? Davisville?

I personally find most suburbs and places like NYCC are too noisy, polluted, hectic, and dangerous. There's plenty of 'downtown' neighbourhoods that offer a considerably calmer, safer, more laid back alternatives with more amenities and more interesting retail. I live in Cityplace, and it's a much quieter place to live than NYCC as far as I can tell.

Don't get me wrong, NYCC is a fine place to live in, but you shouldn't assume that it's friendlier to suburban sensitivities than the streetcar suburbs. As others have correctly pointed out, it depends on how big of a role you want a car to play in your life... but this is very hard to figure out without going car-less for a while in a central zone to see what it's like.
 

bartekci

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Messages
30
Reaction score
3
Grew up in a variety of low and high-rise housing within Mississauga for most of my young life, before moving to suburbia extreme, in Cambridge

At the time, I was too young to understand distance, but there are fond memories of being in a car for some amount of time before arriving at the strip malls in 'sauga. These were a delight because as a kid, I had over a dozen small, accessible stores all around me, which I could follow my mother into. It was a weekly routine to go to these, pick up deli, cheeses and some treats from the Polish shops. At home, we lived in a dense community that was separated from much other parts of Mississauga. Looking back, the only way out was to drive or walk far distances. The upside? It was dense inside. We had plenty of friends we could play all kinds of games with.

Then, moved to Cambridge. Most amount of Tim Hortons per capita! Affordable cookie-cutter housing, perfect for that middle-class immigrant family looking for the next step. My parents purchased a house here, still surrounded by farm land. The developers hadn't fully finished this suburban project. Our young minds explored. We found a small convenience store, about a 20 minute walk. Atleast it had penny candy. Today, my parents home is surrounded by other suburban homes. You could walk for a long time before you get out of the maze that it has become. Commercial development unseen, purely residential.

Perhaps it's because I grew up in Cambridge as a teen. Full of that additional hatred we all get at that age, but Cambridge never clicked for me. I bought a car when I was old enough, and I spent many of my time driving. To work, school, friends. Everyone lived so far apart. My highschool was a long bus ride, even a 15 minute car ride. Skip a few years as life in suburbia isn't much.

Eventually, I got old enough and moved out, rented an apartment in downtown Kitchener. I think this was the final nail in the coffin for how my mind thought about suburbia. I started biking to work, even though it was 12km. I could rid myself of the car. On rainy or winter days, I'd take the bus and read a book. So much more free time! I discovered the Farmers Market, just 5 minutes from my place every Saturday. I was a regular appearance at the local video stores, coffee shops, and the rest of the Kitchener/Waterloo strip.

Finally, am now in Toronto going on 3 years with my fiancee (whom I met in Kitchener). We live in the Junction neighbourhood because it's not quite the hustle of downtown, but it has the village atmosphere (Junction strip), and easy access to the denisty of the city. We mostly TTC and bike. No car. We can't go back to suburbia.
 
Last edited:

WislaHD

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 21, 2013
Messages
9,734
Reaction score
8,739
Location
Midtown Toronto
I love midtown Toronto. It has an urban feel yet is still very residential, and is just a short TTC ride away from the real dense, urban downtown.
 

NorthYorkEd

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
493
Reaction score
94
Location
North York
Have you ever tried to experience what life is like in, say, Leslieville? Riverdale? Yorkville? Summerhill? Davisville?

We've visited, did the walkthroughs, and they are certainly nice areas, but my wife works here in NYCC and walks less than 10 mins to work (I work from home).

I personally find most suburbs and places like NYCC are too noisy, polluted, hectic, and dangerous...I live in Cityplace, and it's a much quieter place to live than NYCC as far as I can tell.

Really? I thought it would be the opposite with all the students and younger demographic in CP. We are just off Yonge, so the street is very quiet. We have never had to make a noise complaint and have never been disturbed by neighbors, except for the odd hallway conversation.

As others have correctly pointed out, it depends on how big of a role you want a car to play in your life... but this is very hard to figure out without going car-less for a while in a central zone to see what it's like.

Our goal is to get rid of the car. Sure, we enjoy the convenience of getting into our own ride and hitting the highway on weekends or doing a Costco run thru the week. But insurance, lack of commuting need, and the expense of the monthly loan plus regular maintenance every few months, has taken the car from our badge of suburban freedom to an anchor hanging around our necks. Unfortunately, we bought it fairly recently while still living in Halifax, so to sell it now means we would lose money. But the goal is to eventually sell the car, join a carshare service, and use that or rentals for weekend getaways. One step at a time :)
 

NorthYorkEd

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
493
Reaction score
94
Location
North York
I love midtown Toronto. It has an urban feel yet is still very residential, and is just a short TTC ride away from the real dense, urban downtown.

We love midtown and "uptown". The stretch of Yonge from Eglinton up to Lawrence is one of our favorite strolls.
 

NorthYorkEd

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
493
Reaction score
94
Location
North York
We can't go back to suburbia.

This is our dilemma. We love being closer to the action, but the price points are not where we would like (or need) them to be. With an eye towards eventually buying, we sometimes find ourselves looking at places with more space. But to get that at a decent price you have to go way out to the fringes of suburbia. We don't think it's worth it, but sometimes we forget ourselves.
 

NorthYorkEd

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
493
Reaction score
94
Location
North York
My nieces grew up in Oakville, in an area known as River Oaks, and before that, on Montreal's South Shore....they and their friends would use our place as a crash pad so they wouldn't have to drive to the boonies or pay the cab fare. It made for some interesting mornings.

You sound like the proverbial "cool Aunt". :)
 

WislaHD

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 21, 2013
Messages
9,734
Reaction score
8,739
Location
Midtown Toronto
We love midtown and "uptown". The stretch of Yonge from Eglinton up to Lawrence is one of our favorite strolls.

Might be farther away for you, but you should try walking through Bayview south of Eglinton one day as well.

Bayview near there today is basically how Yonge north of Eglinton looked like when I was growing up, before the area became really dense with the new condos.
 

PinkLucy

Moderator
Staff member
Member Bio
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
9,113
Reaction score
5,769
My wife and I are early-40s, both employed, no kids by choice. We lived in the burbs for most of our lives and then sold our house to move closer to the city. Now leasing a condo in the North York city center area, we are enjoying all the benefits of a more urban lifestyle (though I'm sure some would argue that NYCC is far from truly urban). But it is a good stepping stone for us.

My question is mostly for those who moved into the city after being raised or living in the burbs, but anyone is free to chime in. Was "urban" something you were personality-wise, or did it take some getting used to? Was it easy to shake off the more demanding aspects of city life, or did you have to work at it over time?

I moved downtown after living more than 25 years in rural, northern Ontario. I love it. I always had "urban needs" and came to the city at least monthly. I love not having to use my car more than a couple of times a month, being able to walk or bike or TTC pretty much anywhere I want to go, going to a Jays game because I have the time, having a theatre subscription, not having to shop online because there is more than enough retail to choose from, easy access to medical stuff, not having to travel before taking a flight and the list goes on. I don't regret it for a minute.

I have always loved Toronto; I grew up in the burbs and couldn't get downtown often enough. When I moved north, Toronto still felt like home. I'm not sure I'd love the downtown lifestyle as much in another city, and I'm not likely to find out since I can't imagine moving anywhere else.

Granted, I don't commute to work so I don't have to deal with that downside.
 
Last edited:

blahblahblah

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
149
Reaction score
0
We live in a leafy area of Etobicoke. I love the large house, good schools and parks, and my pool. I hate that there is nowhere interesting to walk out our door. And nobody is on the streets. We take steady fixes of walking the great neighbourhoods of Toronto. I especially love Queen Street-best street in the city in my opinion. It always changes. Walking from Roncesvalles to Spadina. But lots of great neighbourhoods to walk. And we love the beaches. Great walking down the boardwalk, up Glen Manor Ravine, and retail therapy as well. I think we will stray back into the city when more unencumbered. I don't think I would want to live right downtown-I think I would miss the green. We could go back to the beaches but I do hate raccoons. If money were unlimited, a small pied a terre right around Queen West, or maybe somewhere King East would be great, and a house in the beaches with a pool and electrified fence.
 

W. K. Lis

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 24, 2007
Messages
21,002
Reaction score
10,847
Location
Toronto, ON, CAN, Terra, Sol, Milky Way
My nieces grew up in Oakville, in an area known as River Oaks, and before that, on Montreal's South Shore. Strictly suburban kids. I would have them for the weekend when they were aged 7-14 to take them to the ROM, the AGO, theatre and other activities and places to which they were not much exposed out in the burbs with two working and commuting parents.

When we would set out, they would stand at the car as if they would expect me to unlock the doors and tell them to hop in. I remember their shock every time I would say we are walking or taking the subway or streetcar.

We would go to the Danforth where I would buy them clothes for their birthdays at places like Body Blue, which is very nice but most definitely not a chain store. They would refer to the Danforth as "a mall" and they would balk if they could not recognize the name of the store (e.g. Old Navy, The Gap etc.) or restaurant as something typical of a mall or a highway. (e.g. The Keg, Jack Astor's, etc.)

They couldn't get over the diversity of faces in Toronto. It truly was culture shock. (Now of course Oakville has changed.)

When one of them went to U of T, she moved into our (finished) basement, with biweekly return trips back to Oakville. She loved it. But she now has her own home in Oakville because her work is out there, as is her husband's. Otherwise, she'd be in the core. Her sister is saving up for a condo in the core.

Incidentally: When they hit drinking age, they and their friends would use our place as a crash pad so they wouldn't have to drive to the boonies or pay the cab fare. It made for some interesting mornings.

One problem I see with suburbia is the same stores seem to be in all of them. Other than the ethnic malls, there seems to be no difference. The only reason to travel to a different mall seems to be only if they are out of stock in your local mall.
 

PinkLucy

Moderator
Staff member
Member Bio
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
9,113
Reaction score
5,769
We live in a leafy area of Etobicoke. I love the large house, good schools and parks, and my pool. I hate that there is nowhere interesting to walk out our door. And nobody is on the streets. We take steady fixes of walking the great neighbourhoods of Toronto. I especially love Queen Street-best street in the city in my opinion. It always changes. Walking from Roncesvalles to Spadina. But lots of great neighbourhoods to walk. And we love the beaches. Great walking down the boardwalk, up Glen Manor Ravine, and retail therapy as well. I think we will stray back into the city when more unencumbered. I don't think I would want to live right downtown-I think I would miss the green. We could go back to the beaches but I do hate raccoons. If money were unlimited, a small pied a terre right around Queen West, or maybe somewhere King East would be great, and a house in the beaches with a pool and electrified fence.

We live near the waterfront and make good use of the trails so I don't find I miss the green. I don't think I could live right at Yonge & Bloor though.
 

Ex-Montreal Girl

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 15, 2012
Messages
888
Reaction score
198
Location
Toronto, ON
You sound like the proverbial "cool Aunt". :)

Thanks. I am. :)

We overlook the Don Valley so there is no shortage of green. In fact, if I were a decent photographer, I'd set up a tripod on my balcony to capture the daily fall colour changes and then do a stop animation for you guys. It's breathtaking.

Toronto is so much greener than Montreal, despite the gorgeous mountain in the middle. It's very striking when you fly over both cities. Because of all the ravines and the trails in the DV, you can "escape" to the woods, although the sound of traffic is never really gone.

Also, I have taken photos and videos of the dog down at the beaches, both the Beaches and Cherry, and my non-Toronto friends think I am on some sort of seashore.
 
Last edited:

Top