Monday, March 27, 2006

Dear People of Toronto:

Stop paying too much for bad-quality houses just because they're staged nicely or happen to be within a 15-minute walk to the subway.

Let's be honest: you have a car anyway - you'll be happier in the 'burbs.
You don't want that house - it may be nicely decorated, but it has a crappy basement and no backyard.

Stop paying $30,000 over asking for a paint job worth a couple hundred dollars.

Please. Because you're making it difficult for me to buy a house. And I'm tired of tripping over all of you every time I go to an open house.


Kat said...

It's the very things you are complaining about that drive people just like you to the "'burbs". Seriously. Everyone is in the same boat in that they don't want to overpay for a home that looks nice on the surface but in actuality needs a lot of work. The more you look, the further out of town you end up. I'm just sayin' is seem very judgemental of those who make the decision to live outside of Toronto (car and all).

Unknown said...

What makes you say I'm judgemental of people living in the burbs?

All I said is that, if they have a car, why DON'T they live in the burbs? They could certainly get more for their money there.

I don't have a car and I don't want one because I hate driving (among other reasons). Therefore, it's ridiculous for me to consider living outside of Toronto.

Therefore, I just wish that the people who CAN live outside the city should do it so they can stop driving up the price of the only houses that I can consider.

I don't think that's judgemental at all.

Kat said...

Fair enough, but just because somebody has a car, doesn't mean that they don't want the same convenience of living in Toronto as you do. Often people have cars not because they want to commute, but because they need them for other obligations. Everyone has the right to purchase a home where they want to, assuming they can afford it. While it would be nice if the housing market had more available at better prices where you are looking, that just isn't a reality. Technically, you could live outside the city and take buses/GO Train/etc, but you don't want to and that's totally cool. But that's how most people feel and therefore the demand is higher and the choices are limited. Just something you have to accept if you are limiting your options to Toronto.

Anonymous said...

I definitely don't want to get in the middle of this, but I think it's posts like this one that create the impression that you scorn the suburbs.

If you know anything about me, it's that I hated leaving Toronto to move to Oakville. But I had to be realistic about what I wanted vs. what I could afford. You're now facing the same dilemma. Your choices will likely be:
1. Pay more than you can afford for the house you want in Toronto (we all know someone who did that)
2. Pay what you can afford in Toronto and settle for less than what you want in a house
3. Bite the bullet and live outside of Toronto
The housing market is what it is. I know you're just thinking out loud, but it's surprising that you're just figuring out now how insane the Toronto housing market is. I guess you never had to think about it until now.

Anyway, don't mind Kat. She's got some kind of growth in her belly that makes her particularly feisty these days.


Unknown said...

Do I have to be logical and fair about everything I want? NOPE! Greedy Cathy! YAY!

I STILL want people stop bidding on my houses.

And I think they heard me. Tonight, I didn't even bother to bid on a place that was pretty good because I was POSITIVE it would go for way above my range.

And then? NO offers came in!
Goodness, I must be a startlingly bad judge of what's good.

So, I've now kept my agent busy put in an 11th-Hour offer. But they might reject it because they were counting on more.

Who knows?

If they don't accept it, though, they will face my unending disdain.

Ya, take THAT!

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong (but I'm not), you were raised in the sticks for more than half of your life here on earth. You're not some sex and the city type gal, you really are a small town hick, who in fact does not own downtown Toronto.

Unknown said...

That's a really good argument. I mean, I did spend 20 years on the farm. So it follows that I should not own a house in Toronto where I've been living for the past 10 years.

Another thoughtful point about not owning Toronto; because I don't own the city I should certainly not want people to prevent me from getting the house I want.

I'm so glad you made those excellent points. I would never have thought to make those arguments.

I mean, give me years and it would never have crossed my mind to consider those lines of reasoning.

Anonymous said...

I am not saying that you or anyone else, for whatever reason, should not own a house in Toronto, frankly I couldn't care less where you choose to live. I have read a few blogs that you have posted and it appears that you do have a distain for people who commute from the "burbs" using "YOUR" subway, people who use "YOUR" gym, people who put offers on "YOUR" houses who own CARS. Perhaps people who were born and raised in Toronto don't appreciate people who move down from the country into "their" city. Doesn't it all seem a little silly? You do not deserve more rights to things then the person who is standing next to you. I do enjoy reading your blogs, except the ones where you rant and rave about whats yours. If you don't like busy subways, waiting for your turn at the gym, and trying to outbid someone for your "dream home", perhaps you shouldn't be living in the "hustle and bustle" of the big city. Maybe you would be happier where you grew up?

Unknown said...

Clearly I've hurt people's feelings with things I write.

I don't morally agree with the suburbs. I'm sorry if you live there, but that's what I believe. It has to do with "Smart Growth" and you can read about it if you want

I don't think you're a bad person.

Please don't call me a hick because I hurt your feelings over some meant-to-be-humourous and over-the-top posts. Maybe you don't think I'm funny. That's fine because I'm probably the least funny person I know. But I still take unsuccessful stabs at it.

I'm really fatigued by defending myself to people who think I'm mean.

Other people say shitty things all the time, but when I say it, people get all bent out of shape. I think that sucks.

You know when you call it "your apartment building" even when you don't own it? Well, the same goes for the gym that I use.

I guess the the same logic could be used for you: if you don't LIKE what I write, then you shouldn't read it.

I complain sometimes and that's my right because sometimes I don't like things and this is my personal journal.

Do you never complain about the traffic? Do you always think your parents are completely unannoying?

Of course I don't like the people that bid me out of a house I want. That's not an unusual reaction.

But you know what? Although I don't want to live where I grew up, I would like to live outside the city. I can't do that because I like my job which happens to be IN the city. And I like the friends that I have in the city and my boyfriend lives here and won't move. So I really don't want to leave.

But that doesn't mean that I have to pretend to love everything about it. I mostly love the city, but I also get really annoyed by it, just like I would by a sibling or a partner. And when I get annoyed by it, I'm going to write about it. Because that's what I feel. And it makes me feel better to write about it.

I am obviously upset that you take such offence to what I write. I don't understand it. You seem to take things even more personally than I do. And that's saying a lot.

Anonymous said...


That smart growth website is pretty vague and disorganized and I don't really feel like digging through it to figure out what they're trying to argue. As best as I can figure, the point is that people who live in the surrounding communities of Toronto are somehow hurting Toronto. Could you elaborate on that? I'm not as defensive of my suburban lifestyle as you might think so I'm certainly open to legitimate criticism. However, posting a link to a website as justification for your "moral opposition" seems a little weak to me.


Anonymous said...

#1 no you have not hurt my feelings

#2 I, myself, AM a HICK, YEE-HAW!!

3# I don't have to like what you write, and yes I have the choice to either read it or not. But I do have the right to an opinion.
If you are choosing to broadcast your opinions over the internet, then surely you SHOULD expect people to respond to them, positively or negatively.

#4 I am not offended by what you write. It does not effect me or my way of living in any way.
What does bother me is that someone who seems to be an intelligent person can make some unintelligent statements.

#5 You DO take it very personally when someone does not agree with you.

@lex said...

1st - Cath you need to redesign this little thing of yours, my brain hurts from all the text without the pretty avatars. Especially after Kat took the time to get a cute animated one :-).

I do have some things to say on the issue at hand. Largely I'm defending Cathy's position so the dismissal of my response can begin now if you wish as I'm sure it'll get filed under "Just cause Cath said it, Alex defends it".

That being said I don't think Cath said anything wrong. As I read it she was being a bit cheeky about sending people with cars away to the burbs. However she's right, if you have wheels, man go get a real house with a backyard and a garage and get it for way less than buying in the city. We just didn't have the luxury but if you can, giver! However, if you want to buy in the city, you’re certainly entitled. Hello neighbour.

What I take more exception with in this discussion is not the content but it’s reason for starting in the first place, blog thought policing. I'm more than a little tired of people throwing around the j-word (judgmental) every time someone expresses themselves on THEIR blog or otherwise. Judgmental is taking a subjective point, like pro or anti abortion and asserting that the opposite point is in fact wrong and those engaged in it should stop or somehow repent. Indicating why you don not like something or indicating a choice is nothing more than preference, taste, opinion. Surely we're still entitled to express these aren't we? Also, can we please forego the fallacy that each and every one of us is not judgmental every day of our lives. Judge, see if I care. Have opinions, say "that sucks", say "you're wrong"; I will in turn defend my position. Argument and debate are a lost art form, it seems these days when you oppose, someone “I disagree” seems to get translated into “You are a bad person. ON GUARD!” I’m done with that. People take things too personally and I’m done with all that.


Personal attack:” Having kids while you’re not married is WRONG!”

Point of disagreement: “Commuting to urban centres and urban sprawl is major parasite on the earth”

Alternatively, I just might be a dick and not care if I ruffle some feathers when I say what I think… actually as I read back what I’ve written already that’s quite evident but I don’t care. I think we need more of that and less sensitivity.

Finally, to change gears, I think you should take ownership of your city. You should say this is MY town and MY subway. Take pride, take ownership. Go to NYC, Philly, Jersey, go try and tell those people that they can’t use the first person possessive when they talk about Brooklyn or Queens. They lay claim to corners, individual stores, pizzerias, front stoops. We need more of that. We have too much detachment and that’s why Toronto isn’t where it should be. In this case I argue the opposite, people need to get MORE personal about where they live. Then they’ll be motivated to encourage change rather than be complacent.

To that end yeah, I do have issues with the burbs, it IS an us vs. them attitude. I’m a tax payer now in the city of Toronto and as off June 23rd I am now officially paying for a transit system for people in Oshawa, Whitby, Pickering, Ajax, Oakville, Brampton, etc. to use without kicking in their fair share. The fare is subsidized, simply paying the fare is not contributing. The outlying areas need to kick in. The DVP is not packed with people from Toronto leaving the city in the early morning returning for 9am. It’s full of suburbanites coming into Toronto and this municipality is paying for that road. So yeah, as a city guy I have a fundamental issue with people who want to live in the cheaper suburbs, with cheaper taxes, and expect me to provide the route for them to get into their higher paying city job. Now before you fire up the torches, I think you’re fine human beings worthy of life and liberty but I won’t say the system works and that I’m happy about it out of fear of being branded judgmental. I disagree, the difference is huge. Thank God I live somewhere where I’m allowed to do that.

So just be careful when you’re telling someone what they can’t say and how they can’t say it. Apparently it encourages verbosity in overly opinionated, pseudo intellectuals… and before you get upset, I was talking about myself ?

Actually, as an after thought, it occurs to me that saying “don’t tell me what I’m allowed to say” is a giant hypocrisy. In saying that, I am doing to you the very thing I objected to in the first place. So do tell me and I will in turn tell you why I think it’s ok. Then we’re be really talking and not doing this verbal square dance that everyone is so enamored with now.

It’s all love.

Anonymous said...

My home in the "burbs" is over $300 thousand dollars (i live on a small lot in a subdivision) and my taxes are $4000 dollars a year, plus I have car payments, and car insurance. My husband commutes to the city everyday for work. We chose not to move to the city for our children's sake. It would seem to me that I do not have any less expense then you. I would have to say that more than likely I have MORE expense then you.
In the summer months MY roads are packed with CITY PEOPLE heading north for weekends. MY roads, the roads that I pay taxes for. Please stop crying the blues. We all pay taxes for things, some of which we don't all benefit from.
Perhaps next time I drive MY car into YOUR fine city, I will let you know. You can wait on the corner with a styrofoam cup and I will gladly drop MY 50 cents in to help lighten YOUR tax load.

Kat said...

Wow - folks are really passionate about this, eh? Sorry if I stirred the hornet nest. Scott and I are thrilled that you found a home to call your own in the

I think that as Alex has pointed out, we all get a little up in arms when someone says "you seem judgemental". We all make judgement calls, every day (my best friend is a vegetarian - that's choice she has made, and it's a judgement on her part that eating meat is wrong). But we're still cool, and I still eat meat in front of her. When you say "I don't morally agree with the suburbs", shit, that's judgement too. And you are totally entitled to that.

The only other thing I'll say about this Cath is that when you put your thoughts up online and allow comments, you can expect other people to post their opinions and provide feedback on what you have written. So, it really isn't a personal journal, it's a blog. I'm not saying people should attack you personally, but if you put it out there, that might just happen.

We're all your friends and we love and support you. Doesn't mean we aren't going to debate you every now and again or challenge what you say. It's all love :)