Pearl and Gina Move to Toronto

This is a big change for us! The last time I lived in a big city was over 45 years ago when I lived in Vancouver for a brief time. That was a pretty wild time because somehow I ended up being part of an “in crowd” of very rich hippies – think platters of coke and Thai stick being passed around on silver trays at cocktail parties. But those are stories for another day.

Pearl and I had settled into a nice routine back in Dundas after moving from an apartment run by slum lords (charging luxury prices) into my mom’s apartment. Those of you who followed our journey in Europe might remember that my mom died while Pearl and I were on the ferry going from Civitavecchia, near Rome to Palermo, Sicily. There were a lot of people in my apartment building who believed Covid was a hoax and flaunted all the regulations meant to help keep people safe, so my sister suggested I move into my mom’s apartment for awhile. The rest of the family also thought this was a grand idea because someone needed to sort through all of her stuff and no one else was willing. It is a lovely apartment in an old Victorian home with high ceilings, transom windows, large rooms and a good location. Lots of places for me and Pearl to walk and a schoolyard to play fetch.

I had been having problems with the superintendents ever since I moved in because I had had the audacity to complain about the window screen with a huge gash in it, my storage room being full of someone else’s things, my fridge leaking water all over the food and the floor etc. I was told that if I complained they had ways of evicting me and believe me they tried. I even got an eviction notice for speaking too loudly when on my balcony! So anyway my sister, who owns the house containing my mom’s apartment asked me to stay. I was iffy about renting from family, but thought perhaps I could supplement my income by renting out the extra bedroom. of course my idea of renting to a visiting prof or post doc never materialized. When Universities are closed, people don’t tend to visit.

Oh well, Pearl ad I were enjoying having a yard and a nice place to live and had no plans to move until a subsidized housing unit became available and that was years away. Then my niece decided that she wanted my apartment and I was out on my ass. I looked in Dundas and there was almost nothing available and they were all way more than I could afford. I kept raising my budget, but to no avail. The cheapest apartment that wasn’t a complete dump was almost double what I was paying. So I started looking in Hamilton where apartments were only 150% to 175% more than I was paying. And most were in areas where I would be afraid to walk Pearl at night. I did go to see one in an okay area. There were a dozen people waiting to see it. It was completely different than the description – 1 instead of 2 bedrooms, no garage, no sign of renovations in the past 20 years or more and the current tenants were openly selling drugs! Since I didn’t want to wake up one night with a gun in my face, I did not attempt to rent it.

I could have looked further east towards Stoney Creek, but then it would take even longer to get to Toronto to see Penny. Now that the numbers were down, I could finally spend some time with my granddaughter again. Perhaps Toronto was the answer, but I was sure it would be even more expensive. To my surprise it was cheaper! Even in the Beaches where I eventually found a place. Instead of looking at smog from a grimy window in Hamilton, I could see Lake Ontario from the front of the house that my apartment is in. It is a beautiful shady street, a 4 minute walk to the beach and there is a grocery store a couple of minutes away. One of the things I loved about Dundas is all of the little independently owned shops and restaurants. Well Queen Street in the Beaches is like Dundas on steroids! AND Penny is only a 30 minute walk/ 20 minute transit ride away.

The apartment is tiny. It is about the size of my living room in Dundas, but location, location, location as they say. Also my landlords are super nice. They are a youngish couple with 3 children aged 9, 7 and 5 who are in love with Pearl. Of course. How could they not be?

And what does Pearl think of the move? It took a bit to get used to all of the dogs and she still reacts sometimes, but mostly she loves it. The Beaches are so dog friendly that the grocery store has a dog hitching post out front. There is at least one dog skiing with its person at every cafe you pass and lots of dog parks. In fact the beach at the end of our street is an off leash park where Pearl can play with all kinds of dogs and go for a wade in the lake when she gets hot.

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