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?