The Top Five Reasons to Raise Kids in a Condo

raising kids in condoAs we complete the final preparations for a 6 month sabbatical from Toronto, I am realizing that there is a small chance that we may not return to our beloved downtown condo at the centre of one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. After spending the last couple months clearing out the place, packing some items while purging others, we are in a position to uproot ourselves in what might be an unexpected way. We do plan to come back to Toronto, and we do expect to move back here if we return, but we’re also open to new opportunities and might have to be prepared to say goodbye.

Should these be our final days living on Bay Street, I can unequivocally say that raising kids here was a good idea (and Yashy agrees). We surprise a lot of people with our commitment to ‘stay on Bay’. Raising a family in a condo is not a lifestyle to which most Canadians are accustomed but it’s a growing trend (based on this newspaper article we were featured in). Our country’s modest population resides in the world’s second biggest country, and so space shouldn’t be at a premium, but for those of us intent on living in Canada’s biggest city, living space can be tight. Canadian living, with its backyard barbecues, deep woods excursions, and blizzard-filled commutes, is not Toronto living.

 

Here are the top five reasons we prefer to raise our kids in a city condominium:

 

why raise kids in the city

We Don’t Need to Buy a Car

I am not a ‘car guy’, never was. Cars are dangerous (car accidents are one of the leading causes of death for young people), cars pollute the environment, and cars are money pits. By not owning one, our family saves about $1,000 a month. If we were to live outside of the city, we would be forced to own a car, but not in downtown Toronto. Most of the items we need such as groceries and household amenities are less than a five minute walk away (about the time it takes to warm up a car engine and brush the snow off the windshield). When we do need a vehicle, which is about once every 2 months, I can rent a zipcar from the parking lot across the street for $115 a day. Paying $115 every two months is a much better feeling than dropping $1,000 a month.

 

We are Prevented from being Hoarders

Actually, that might be stretching it. We are hoarders and we have come to accept that. These last two months saw us either inventorying or purging an astounding amount of stuff, including hundreds of beer and wine bottles, dozens of boxes of clothes, and innumerable items that I can only refer to as knick knacks (i.e. junk). If we had more space, our hoarder problem would be worse and we would never force ourselves to routinely go through our belongings. Purging feels so good, especially for condo dwellers.

 

Our Kids are Forced to Bond

Growing up, I had two sisters, and we each had our own room. To be honest, I never remember playing with my sisters growing up. We each had our own toys and I always used to retreat to my room to use them. Our kids, however, seem to be very close. They constantly play together and rarely look to retreat into their own worlds. Sharing a room seems to be helping them to forge a strong relationship based on collaboration and compromise, and those are pretty good life skills.

 

kids in condo

We Have Great Facilities

Our condo, like many in Toronto, has numerous facilities. The building has a pool, a gym, a rooftop patio with a hot tub and barbecues, a squash court, and even a basketball court. I may have grown up in a big house with a big yard but my basketball court consisted of a sloped driveway with a crooked net that was too low. Having so many amenities available in our building ensures that I can get the kids moving when they need to. When we head down to the basketball court, I bring a soccer ball and a baseball bat and we spend a few minutes playing each, finishing up with a few races to the wall and back. If we are still here when the kids get a little older, I can’t wait to finally get into squash!

 

We Get to Experience Food and Culture

Though we are still trying to expand our kids appreciation for good eats, we are in a position to expose them to foods from all over the world. Having so many different styles of cuisine in our neighbourhood helps us to prepare the kids to eat the available food options when we travel to different counties. Downtown Toronto is also home to a number of great museums. The Little Monkey is showing an interest in art, and if she keeps it up, we’ll be able to regularly take her to see a range of exhibitions presented by the Art Gallery of Ontario (where we just saw a number of works from Van Gogh and Monet). Nearby museums cater to kids with special areas and workshops as well, giving them a chance to choice from a variety of artistic activities.

kids in city apartment

 

Our family is not the only ones embracing this city lifestyle. Visitors to our building, which has a number of 2 bedroom units, will often notice that it is teeming with kids. We have met and befriended a number of other families in the building, which also gives our little ones the opportunity to set up playdates on a regular basis. Not once have I regretted our decision to stick with out downtown condo when the kids came along.

  • Julie
    February 3, 2017 at 10:11 am

    I’ve never lived in a big city and I don’t imagine I ever will…I was born and raised in rural Ontario and quite honestly, love it and wouldn’t dream of raising my kids anywhere else. It’s interesting to hear about your life and perspective. While quite different from mine, I imagine we’re both doing right by our own families!

    • Yashy
      February 5, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Totally agree Julie. Every family has different needs.

  • Anne Taylor
    February 3, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    I am not a big city girl at all. We live and are raising our grandson in a condo/apt in Victoria BC but I do envy your lifestyle!

  • Elizabeth Matthiesen
    February 3, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    I’ve never lived in a big city, close to one but never in one. I would love to have a house with a garden since I enjoy doing that but I’m afraid there’s no room here and what room there is is lawn. I’d love my own vegetable patch, nothing tastes as good as home grown strawberries, potatoes etc. I do see your point though but since I have 7 children (all adults now) living in a condo wouldn’t have been practical for us either. To each his own. 🙂

  • Judy Cowan
    February 4, 2017 at 11:08 am

    We live in a condo and several people here have children, so it can definitely be a lifestyle that is possible.

  • kristen visser
    February 4, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Those are definitely valid points ! especially the facilities you have at your finger tips! definitely some pluses with living the condo life.

  • Marina
    February 4, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Great reasons. I agree that Toronto is one of the most liveable cities in the world with amazing food and culture to enrich every child’s world.

  • Calvin F.
    February 4, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Interesting take on this, thanks for sharing. I never looked at it this way. Not in depth like this to be exact.

    • Yashy
      February 5, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Glad you like it Calvin

  • Debbie S.
    February 5, 2017 at 1:29 am

    I think condo living would be fun for families. I have never lived in one but I like what you are saying here. I

  • jan
    February 8, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Yes, as North Americans we are so caught up in the thought that we need to own a house. Certainly not so!

  • Wendy Kam Marcy
    February 9, 2017 at 10:09 am

    These are the same reasons why we also stayed downtown (3 years and counting now)! Except we do own a car… so we can visit all the other families who have thrown in the towel and fled to the burbs haha. The “condo generation” is still a relatively new thing in TO but in most major cities (NYC, Hong Kong, Tokyo), this IS the norm and it frustrates me sometimes when I have to defend it. My life never stopped when I had a baby. I would pop him in the stroller and run 4 errands in less than an hour. While my other friends were stuck in their McMansions too afraid to transfer their sleeping babies into car seats and they got nothing done or it took them twice as long! Not sure if we will be here forever as well, but for the time being, we are glad that the city is our playground.

  • kathy downey
    February 11, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Wow this is definitely a lifestyle that is possible and sounds wonderful !

  • Kristi F
    February 12, 2017 at 11:58 am

    I can see how some people want to raise their children in the country and how some want to do it in a city in a condo. Definitely great points to be considered here! Every family has to decide what’s best for them.

    • Yashy
      February 12, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Absolutely agree!

  • AD
    February 12, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    I like your reasons and definitely agree with them (not to mention there is less work related to yard/lawn maintenance, snow removal, costs related to upkeep, etc.)…. but, I have to admit with kids, I do like the space that a detached home provides. I have lived all over the world (with the kids) and I do enjoy having the space of a home, with a backyard where I can get away from the noise and business of the inner core. And I think the last point you made (about food and culture) is still accessible if the parent(s) makes it a point and effort to expose their children to it.

  • Carole D.
    February 12, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    I love living in a smaller city, not sure I would have love raising my children in a condo but lots do.

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