Neighbourhood Walk Score

In reading a recent Toronto Life article “House Wars: true tales from the Toronto real estate market” I got to thinking about how the walkability of your home effects your life, and where exactly you live.

El Granto & I do not own a car, we commute via TTC to our jobs and walk pretty much everywhere else. I buy groceries 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) because I can only carry so much. I buy only the food we plan to eat for that week, and as such we don’t have a lot of pantry items, snack goods or the like hanging about. I buy milk from the corner store as it’s too heavy to schlep farther than that, and we buy all our bread and meats from a local bakery & butcher, and in the summers we frequent local farmers markets.

Living downtown sans car means a lot of things to your lifestyle. Our weekends are spent walking to local amenities, restaurants and parks. To the hardware store to procure items for our home projects, and grabbing a coffee and heading out for an adventure with the dog. So when the Toronto Life article touched on Walk Score it got me thinking. We knew that when we bought our house the location played an important role. We could get a much bigger house say north of St. Clair and west of Jane, but we would be stuck on a bus to get anywhere near the subway, and lacked a lot of the things we loved. (Evening drinks with friends, Thai takeout etc.) We set a goal of living south of Dupont, and luckily we found it. Truth be told, our house was one of only 3 houses that we even looked at south of Dupont. One of the three was a major fixer on Euclid that went several hundred thousand over asking, and the other was a hoarders house in the Junction, that again, went over asking. We looked at over 100 houses, and really felt that we lucked out finding a house in the location that we did.

So back to Walk Score, I checked out our score today and noted that our house gets an 82 (out of 100) on its Walk Score and a 94 on Transit Score. That’s not bad and pretty much what we thought. Our neighbourhood is transitional (drug dealers and hookers are moving out, and hipsters  & young families are moving in.) As this transition moves forward more amenities move into the neighbourhood. We’ve got some great local restaurants (Starving Artist, Bloordale Pantry, Farmhouse Tavern to name a few) as well as great places to grab a pint (3 Speed, Bar Neon & Boo Radley’s) and lately coffee shops have been popping up like acne on teenage face. Café Neon and the Toronto Coffee Company among others. In contrast, when we moved into the house, Bloordale Pantry, Farmhouse Tavern, Bar Neon, Café Neon and Toronto Coffee Company didn’t exist. That’s a lot of new amenities moving in to the hood in the last year and a half. Hell, even the New York Times recently featured the neighbourhood in a Travel slideshow/article. Check it out here.

Transit however has always been good. We’ve got Bloor/Danforth subway, the Bloor GO Station, a plethora of buses (Lansdowne, Dupont, Symington, Dufferin) and the 504 & 505 streetcars. We knew with good transit options that our neighbourhood had too much to offer to stay underutilized forever. Now as we grow together in our first home we keep seeing the building permits go up in the windows around us, the junkies disappearing and the neighbourhood seems to get better every day.

So whats your Walk Score? Did you move into your neighbourhood before it was hip?

Labour Day Weekend!

T minus 8 hours and its the long weekend. The last long weekend of the summer. This is it, the end, finito.

Don’t be sad, next up will be jacket weather, fall leaves, harvest vegetables, pumpkin spice lattes. It’ll be okay.

None the less, let your hair down, and get out there and enjoy your last weekend of the summer!

Let it all swing in the wind

Vacation Recap

Our vacation week was a success! We had a car for the week (thanks in-laws!) so we were able to get out of the city as well as getting some running around done.

Here’s a recap:
Visited family friends cottage in the Muskoka’s. Odin was afraid of the boat motor.

We went for great hikes and Odin swam in the lake.

We headed up to my family cottage waaaay up north on the French river.

We read books,drank lattes lakeside (YES, cityslicker Kristen did bring her espresso machine to the cottage) had camp fires, ate and drank too much!

Oh and we did some hiking too.

Going for a hike

Odin celebrated his first birthday at the cottage and got a present of a raw egg followed by a campfire and marshmallows.

We got a lot accomplished around the house including a trip to Home Depot for some big & heavies (wood & cement).

We loaded up on dog food for Odin and took back our beer empties to the beer store (this is one thing that sucks doing when you don’t have a car, you seriously look like a hobo when you’re wobbling down the street overloaded with empty cans and bottles, so we usually wait until we can beg borrow or steal a car.)
We headed to the drive-in.

And went to the beaches for a dog play/swim with El Granto’s oldest friend and his three awesome dogs. We spent time catching up with a good friend in from the UK, and accomplished a few to do’s off the list. All in all it was a great success and I’m terribly sad to go back to work today. Summertime has me wishing I didn’t have to work! It was amazing spending all that time with the hubby and puppy.

On Staycation!

I am on vacation from work for the next week. I have scheduled a few posts while I am relaxing. (So you’re not allowed to call me a lazy bastard…)

We will be staying in and around the city for most of our vacation, but we hope to head up North to my parent’s cottage on the water for a few days. We didn’t take a summer vacation last year as we were gearing up for the wedding, so it’s been a while since we were able to spend our days sitting on the dock with a good book overlooking the water. This year we will have Odin to join us, and I am excited for him to swim in the lake, jump off the dock and run around in the woods. We will also be enjoying spending time with a good friend in from London, and getting a few things checked off our to do list around the house.

Here is the plan:

Good Dog + Good Friends + Good Food + Good Drinks = Good Time

New Domain!

It’s official, we graduated to our own domain today! El Granto deemed my blogging effort a win, and decided to buy me

The truth is neither of us knew if I would take to blogging, and if I would well…actually do it. Turns out I’m not half the lazy bastard we all thought I was.

So if you had your RSS feed set for the old site, please make the switch, and check back here for all future posts!


Happy Civic Holiday!

Happy what? Yeah, I know it doesn’t make any sense to me either. Today is Holiday Monday of Civic Holiday weekend in Canada. No one really knows why it’s a holiday, and technically it’s not even a real holiday. (The Government of Canada doesn’t consider it a statutory holiday). Stores are open, but banks are closed. I just consider it a bonus day! Yay, no work! I will be enjoying it with some visiting friends, hanging out with the dog and enjoying a bbq in the backyard. Accomplishing AB-SO-LUT-ELY Nothing. What are you up to today?

Odin Chillin in the Backyard