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The Informer

Real Estate

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Cottage of the Week: $5.2 million for a lakeside palace in Oro-Medonte

toronto-cottage-of-the-week-15-georgina-drive-intro

Address: 15 Georgina Drive
Neighbourhood: Oro-Medonte
Agent: Krista Charlene Alkerton, Royal Lepage First Contact Realty
Price: $5,150,000

The Place: The Eyrie, as this nearly 10,000 square foot property is dubbed (don’t worry, Game of Thrones fans, no villainous Littlefingers to be found at this one), is a modern six-bedroom, seven-bathroom manor perched on a high outcrop above Lake Simcoe’s Kempenfelt Bay, just minutes from Barrie.

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The Informer

People

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Q&A: Joe Fresh founder Joe Mimran on the worst part of joining Dragons’ Den: the clothes

Joe Mimran

(Image: courtesy of CBC)

You left your baby, Joe Fresh, in March, and you’ll become a Dragon this fall. Why the switch?
CBC asked me several times over the years, but I never had the time until now. And when you’ve been in the spotlight for as long as I have, there’s a shock effect when it’s over. Dragons’ Den is a great way to keep my profile up.

What’s the filming process like?
Gruelling. It’s 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with one hour for lunch, for four weeks solid.

And you’re required to wear the same outfit throughout. What’s that like?
It’s fashion purgatory! It’s like Jean-Paul Sartre’s world, where there are no mirrors. It’s my personal hell.

How long did it take to settle on the dark suit and blue tie combo?
Not too long. It’s a classic style. I didn’t want to look flamboyant or like a carny.

On the show, Jim Treliving is the veteran, Mike Wekerle is the wild man, newbie Michele Romanow is the techie, and Manjit Minhas, another newbie, is the sweetheart. Where do you fit in?
I’m the velvet fist: even-keeled, high tolerance for nonsense, but when I reach my boiling point, it’s not pretty.

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The Informer

Best Bets

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The Toronto Fringe, a Brian Wilson concert and six other things to do this week

(Images, clockwise from top left: Brian Wilson, by Brian Bowan Smith; Death Grips, by Tom Spray; Gord Rand in Stratford's Oedipus Rex, by Don Dixon; Judy Blume)

(Images, clockwise from top left: Brian Wilson, by Brian Bowan Smith; Death Grips, by Tom Spray; Gord Rand in Stratford's Oedipus Rex, by Don Dixon; Judy Blume)

See your childhood literary hero read from her new book for grown-ups
Judy Blume’s kid-lit catalogue grapples with first periods and secret crushes. But, every so often, the author examines life on the other side of 13. Here, she presents her first adult novel in 15 years, In the Unlikely Event, a historical family narrative set against a series of plane crashes that shook Blume’s hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, in the early ’50s. Monday, June 29. Free. Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., 416-393-7148, torontopubliclibrary.ca.

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The Informer

Columns

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Memoir: it seemed crazy to buy a house with my in-laws, but I did it anyway

lorretta-neebar-full-house-memoir

When our daughter, Sharon, was a year old, my husband, Neil, and I faced a major domestic challenge. My maternity leave had just ended, and the babysitter we’d lined up was no longer available to work for us. Both of us held stable administrative jobs at U of T, but between our student loan payments and rent on our two-bedroom Etobicoke apartment, we couldn’t afford to pay $1,200 a month for daycare.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Sale of the Week: the $400,000 Parkdale suite that shows hard lofts can hold their value

toronto-sale-of-the-week-24-noble-street-intro

Address: 24 Noble Street, Unit 406
Neighbourhood: Parkdale
Agent: Edwin Brdlik, Toronto Lofts Realty Corp., Brokerage

The Property: This hard loft has exposed brick, wooden beams and hardwood floors throughout. Unlike many units of similar size, though, it also has a separate bedroom. Two large windows and a space-saving storage unit built into the raised den further separate it from the rest.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Condo of the Week: $1.5 million for a family-sized condo with a lake view

toronto-condo-of-the-week-628-fleet-street-intro

Address: 628 Fleet Street, Unit 3403
Neighbourhood: Harbourfront
Agent: Kenny Shim, ReMax Condos Plus, brokerage; and Stephanie Campbell, Royal LePage Your Community Realty, brokerage
Price: $1,470,000

The Place: A three-bedroom condo with views of the the Toronto Islands and the downtown skyline.

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The Informer

People

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Q&A: Andy Byford, the TTC’s top executive, staunchest defender and chief apology specialist

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

Most Toronto transit riders have experienced at least one moment of hopelessness about the state of the TTC—but Andy Byford hasn’t. The TTC CEO, a British-born alumnus of both London and Sydney’s transit networks, has stared down seemingly endless setbacks: service cuts, political grandstanding, the massively delayed Spadina subway extension and the ever-present mysterious smoke at track level. And yet, he’s surprisingly optimistic. Between the TTC’s infamous subway shutdown in early June and its next major acid test—July’s Pan Am Games—we sat down with Byford to discuss three essentials for contending with transit struggles: apologies, bourbon and curse words.

I feel like, for every generation in every city, there’s a specific struggle that unites them. What would you say if I suggested Toronto’s was transit?
I’d agree. In many ways, that’s what makes this an especially interesting job for me to be doing right now. Transit is at the forefront of what everyone’s talking about: it was the hot topic in the municipal and provincial elections. And I suspect it’ll be a factor in the federal election. There’s a recognition that the TTC, which was once an absolute jewel in the province’s crown, has lost its way through lack of investment and, I’d say, political influence over the last 30 years. Congestion is ever worse, and there seems to be a lot of talk about transit expansion and not a lot of action.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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The Chase: a couple blows past their budget to land a Leslieville fixer-upper

the-chase-leslieville-fixer-upper-timothy-bramble-megan-cairns

The buyers: Timothy Bramble, a 31-year-old project manager for the digital ad agency Art and Science, and Megan Cairns, a 30-year-old RN at St. Michael’s Hospital.

The story: After renting a condo in the West Don Lands for six months, Timothy and Megan decided they were ready to commit—to each other (they’re newly engaged) and to a home. They wanted a sizable yard (for Timothy, who loves gardening) and a second floor with at least two bedrooms, for a future child or two. Starting with a budget of $500,000, they focused their search in Corktown and South Riverdale, figuring they’d get more house for their money east of Yonge than west. Several bidding wars later, they realized they’d need to boost their budget to land a home anywhere near their desired location. 

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The Informer

Sports

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Could Toronto organize a bid for the 2024 Olympics?

THE IDEA

Toronto has bid on the Olympics five times since 1960, and failed each time. But Marcel Aubut, the head of the Canadian Olympics Committee, recently told the Star that the moment has come to try again. The relatively smooth lead-up and presumed success of the Pan Am Games should prove our ability to host mega-events, and the International Olympic Committee made reforms this past winter, many of which are designed to make bidding and hosting easier and less expensive. Could Toronto seize this moment to take its international sporting status to the next level?

idea-evaluator-red-smallWOULD IT WORK?

Even though the idea of a bid was ostensibly scratched last year, when city council’s economic development committee voted against spending $1 million on a pre-bid assessment, Aubut’s suggestion isn’t completely left-field. Rio de Janeiro hosted the Pan-Am Games in 2007 and then leveraged that position two years later to win the 2016 Summer Olympics, setting a precedent that Toronto could emulate.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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The Chase: how four city-dwelling families found fuss-free condos in cottage country

Toronto’s building boom is creeping into cottage country, turning prime lakefront properties into condo compounds with distinctly urban amenities, like heated pools, spas and helpful staff to handle the headaches

the-chase-condoland-north-tee-time

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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $5.8 million for a Humber Valley villa with a golf course in the backyard

(Image: Birdhouse Media)

(Image: Birdhouse Media)

Address: 433 The Kingsway
Neighbourhood: Humber Valley
Agent: David Anderson Oey, Harvey Kalles Real Estate
Price: $5,800,000

The Place: A sprawling five-bedroom, six-bathroom manor on the eighth hole of the prestigious St. George’s Golf and Country Club, which has hosted five Canadian Opens, most recently in 2010.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Cottage of the Week: $12 million for a modern Muskoka Lakes mansion on a private island

toronto-cottage-of-the-week-bass-island-intro

Address: Bass Island
Neighbourhood: Muskoka Lakes
Agent: Storey Badger, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Brokerage, Port Carling
Price: $11,800,000

The Place: A contemporary, window-lined mansion on Bass Island, in the middle of Lake Muskoka.

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The Informer

Transit

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How a brand-new TTC streetcar arrives in Toronto

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

(Image: Giordano Ciampini)

The TTC’s next-generation streetcars, of which there will eventually be 204, are still a head-turning rarity on Toronto’s streets—and that’s mainly because Bombardier’s chronic labour and manufacturing problems have at times slowed the assembly line to a virtual halt. Even once a streetcar is assembled and ready to roll, though, it has to clear a final obstacle before it can start serving Toronto passengers: the 1,000-kilometre journey from Bombardier’s plant in Thunder Bay to the TTC’s Hillcrest maintenance yard on Bathurst street, where trained technicians unload it and probe it for defects. Here’s what that process looked like recently, when the TTC took delivery of streetcar 4408, the eighth member of its shiny new fleet.

The Informer

Culture

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The Gilded Stage: David Leventi’s photos of the world’s most opulent opera houses

David Leventi photographs of opulent opera houses

(Images: courtesy of Bau-Xi Gallery)

When David Leventi was a kid, his grandfather, a Romanian cantor named Anton Gutman, would sing arias in the family’s Westchester house, swanning around the living room like it was the stage at La Scala. Gutman’s aspirations for operatic glory had been stymied in World War II, when he landed in a Russian POW camp, forced to perform for Red Army officers.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Sale of the Week: the $1.6-million new-build that shows the investment potential of Wallace-Emerson

(Image: Russ Martin)

(Image: Russ Martin)

Address: 132 Yarmouth Road
Neighbourhood: Wallace-Emerson
Agent: Alice Kent, Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

The Property: Because of its unique facade, this modern Wallace-Emerson home is known as “the ‘S’ house” among neighbours. It has an open-concept main floor with a glass staircase, a master bedroom with a massive six-piece en suite bathroom, and a sizeable backyard with a two-car detached garage.

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