Toronto, and most big cities, have traditionally been home to singles and couples who enjoy city life and the convenience that it offers them. In the past, singles and couples who decided to have families would move out of the urban environment to the suburbs where they could afford bigger housing and more land. However, the tide is slowly turning as greater numbers of families are deciding to stay put and to raise their children in the city. As single family housing is not only scarce in the city, but also prohibitively expensive for the average person, condos have started to see a rise in the number of children who live there.
The number one reason most families cite for remaining the in the city is the shorter commute to work. Increasingly people are foregoing the long drive in to simply remain close-by. Another big reason for remaining in the city is lifestyle – people aren’t willing to give up the lifestyle they lead when living within walking distance to so many services. If you are considering staying in the city with your family, there are things to keep in mind so that you have an easier time of dealing with the changes that children will bring.
Just as you would when shopping for a home elsewhere – check-out the neighbourhood and surrounding services first. If you want to send your child to a particular school, makes sure that the school will accept children from the neighbourhood in which you plan to live so that you don’t have any surprises later on. Look to see whether there are green spaces or parks nearby where children can play and find out whether there are day care services close by as well.
When it comes to the actual condo, look for complexes that offer:
Party rooms where you can host play dates and birthday parties
Games room for teenagers
Fitness amenities such as pools and/or gyms so that children can burn their extra energy
Green spaces with playgrounds for their littlest residents
Day care centres
Inside your unit you’ll need to ensure:
Versatile spaces that can serve double duty, ie: dining room that can be used as a homework/crafts area
A networking room where all computers can be hooked up for strict monitoring of internet usage
An open concept that maximizes space for moving around
Some condo townhouses have even opted to start reducing their monthly maintenance fee for families, which is a very attractive incentive for people to stay in the city with their kids.
Once you do find the right condo for your needs, remember that children can be noisy and to ensure friendly relations with your neighbours, keeping noise levels low is essential. A good tip is to lay down carpet on heavily used areas and in children’s rooms to muffle footsteps. Investing in some good over-the-ear headphones for them to use when gaming or watching TV/movies is another good idea.
Despite the perception of what family living might be like in a condo, there are success stories everywhere. As long as you are prepared to give up space for the convenience of a shorter commute, proximity to a large number of services and the improved lifestyle that these elements will bring, you are ready to raise a family in Toronto’s urban core.