Toronto Life - The Informer

Insider intel on the politics and personalities shaping the city. Sign up for Preview newsletter for weekly updates

The Informer

People

13 Comments

“Going to a coffee shop is my indulgence”: how Valentina Leucona, a student and recent immigrant, lives on $1,200 a month

(Image: Gabby Frank)

(Image: Gabby Frank)

Who: Valentina Leucona, 26, who moved to Toronto from Venezuela in August.

What she does: Advertising account management student at Centennial College, and also a waitress at a private club downtown.

What she makes: $1,200 to $1,300 a month. (“I work about three or four nights a week, and I have another part-time job which is on-call. I’m a server there too, but only for functions, parties, weddings. I work anywhere from 25 to 30 hours a week.”)

Some of how she spends it: Rent on a basement studio apartment near Danforth and Woodbine: $900 a month. (“It’s very comfortable. It has everything. I don’t even have to pay for TV, internet, nothing. Everything’s included.”) Cell service: $45 per month. Monthly Metropass, with student discount: $112. $100 in monthly student-debt payments, starting in September. (“I’m nervous about paying those loans. Especially because I don’t have a permanent job right now, and it all depends on me getting an internship.”)

What she bought in one week: Zucchinis, eggplants and lightbulbs from Valu-mart: $8. (“I didn’t spend a lot on groceries because my fridge was fully stocked. I buy milk and meat in bulk. I spend about $150 on groceries per month.”) Tax return: $31. Resumé copies: $5. (“I’m applying for internships.”) Coffee: $0. (“I have my coffee pot here at the house. Actually going to the coffee shop is, like, my indulgence.”)

Want to tell us how you make and spend money in Toronto? Email costofliving@torontolife.com.

The Informer

Best Bets

2 Comments

Drink lots of beer, see a bunch of documentaries and eight other things to do this week

(Image, clockwise from top left: early Saturday Night Live cast members, by Edie Baskin; Twiggy in Toronto, by Bob Olsen/Toronto Star; George Ezra, by Robert Blackham; Auditorium, by Stephen Andrews, courtesy of the AGO)

(Image, clockwise from top left: early Saturday Night Live cast members, by Edie Baskin; Twiggy in Toronto, by Bob Olsen/Toronto Star; George Ezra, by Robert Blackham; Auditorium, by Stephen Andrews, courtesy of the AGO)

Drink and dance at spring’s hottest beer festival
Toronto’s Festival of Beer combines two summer traditions: outdoor booze bacchanals and music festivals. Each ticket includes five free samples from breweries like Creemore, Junction Craft Brewing, Flying Monkeys and Beau’s (plus cideries like Brickworks and Thornbury). Performances from the synthpop starlet Lowell and the indie band JJ and the Pillars will entice non-drinkers to tag along. April 24 and 25. $30. Sherbourne Common, 61 Dockside Dr., beerfestival.ca.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

7 Comments

Toronto’s most stunning private home is for sale for a cool $28 million

(Image: James Dow)

(Image: James Dow)

If you ever needed a reason to do your math homework, here’s one: Integral House, one of Toronto’s best and most architecturally important private residences, is up for sale. The 18,000-square-foot Roxborough Drive property is not currently listed on the Toronto MLS, but a Sotheby’s catalogue says the asking price is $28,000,000. A trio of Sotheby’s realtors will be holding an invite-only preview event at the property this week.

The sprawling modern home, completed in 2009, belonged to mathematician James Stewart, who made a fortune in calculus textbooks before dying of cancer in December 2014. Designed by Toronto architects Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe, Integral House is renowned for its sinuous, environmentally sensitive design, inspired by the shape of the mathematical integral symbol. It has, among many other amenities, a two-story living room built specifically to accommodate musical performances, with seating for up to 200 people. The gargantuan asking price makes this one of the most expensive properties currently on the market in Toronto. The only home listed on the MLS that even comes close is 68 The Bridle Path, a much less distinguished chateau-style mansion that’s selling for $25 million. Here, some pictures of Integral House’s interior:

The Informer

Real Estate

4 Comments

Sale of the Week: the house that shows what $1 million gets you in Leslieville

toronto-sale-of-the-week-39-austin-avenue-intro

Address: 39 Austin Avenue
Neighbourhood: Leslieville
Agent: David Coffey, Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

The Property: A detached family home with an open-concept main floor. The master bedroom claims the entire third level, including a rooftop deck.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Sponsored Content

1 Comment

Five reasons to live in The Jack, a new Rosedale condo with major music-celeb cred

In Upper Rosedale, an elevated living experience is set to transform this storied midtown location. Steps from the tranquility of ravines and parkland, The Jack features elegant interiors, and a lifestyle for those who appreciate being only seconds from all the action and world-class amenities of the big city.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

3 Comments

How the University of Toronto wants to make Robarts Library a little less imposing

robarts-common-intro

What it is: Robarts Common, a glassy, zinc-plated, five-storey addition to the west side of the University of Toronto’s Robarts library, which the university says will add 1,222 new work and study spaces.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

3 Comments

Condo of the Week: $1.7 million for a Mimico townhouse with the view of the lake

toronto-condo-of-the-week-5-marine-parade-drive-intro

Address: 5 Marine Parade Drive, Unit 121
Neighbourhood: Mimico
Agent: Steven Maislin, Re/Max Realtron Realty Inc., Brokerage
Price: $1,698,000

The Place: A large townhouse near the lake in south Etobicoke.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

2 Comments

The Chase: twin sisters take a chance on a bargain-basement fixer-upper


the-chase-twin-sisters-seeking-fixer-upper-00

The buyers: 29-year-old twins Jennifer Carroll, a health-care product reviewer, and Krista Carroll, a municipal project manager for Peel Region.

The story: In the fall of 2013, Krista moved home to Toronto from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she’d been working for an NGO. Unsure about her next steps, she crashed at her twin sister’s condo, a 900-square-foot two-bedroom at Sherbourne and Wellesley. Jennifer was renting out the second bedroom, so Krista took the couch. It was a tight fit for three, but the twins loved living together. Determined to find a place they could comfortably share, they pooled their resources, set a budget of $500,000 and started hunting for the perfect house. Their wish list was ambitious—two bedrooms, a big kitchen, a lush backyard and a basement rental unit—so they focused their search on the northwest corner of the city, hoping to land a well-maintained home in an up-and-coming area.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

2 Comments

What developers want to turn a century-old building at Duncan and Adelaide into

(Image: Hariri Pontarini Architects)

(Image: Hariri Pontarini Architects)

What it is: A 57-storey tower with an existing century-old industrial building at 19 Duncan Street incorporated into the west side of its podium.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

People

3 Comments

Q&A: Shad, the rapper given the unenviable job of undoing the damage at CBC’s Q

(Image: Claire Foster)

(Image: Claire Foster)

On the surface, the decision to anoint rapper Shadrach Kabango as the new host of CBC’s Q might seem like an odd one. Shad, as he’s known, has zero journalistic experience, nor does he have any training in radio broadcasting. What he does have is deep roots in Canada’s arts and culture scene, having won a 2011 Juno award (he beat out some dude named Drake) and made the Polaris Music Prize shortlist three times. Despite his successes, the Canadian-raised Kenyan has managed to remain humble (for now, at least), and in that way and many others, he’s the antithesis of his disgraced predecessor, Jian Ghomeshi. Ahead of his debut on April 20, we caught up with Shad to talk about his new job, the art of the interview and why pretzels suck.

Congrats on your new gig. You’re going to keep putting out albums, right?
That’s the plan, but there’s nothing coming up in the near future. I’m always scribbling stuff here and there. I call it climbing that hill, and I haven’t started climbing that hill yet.

It’s like that ’80s song.
It’s not running up that hill for me. It’s more a slow walk up the hill.

I have to ask the obligatory baggage question, because there’s a lot of it surrounding the show. How much did that figure into your deliberation process about whether or not you’d take the job?
That didn’t exactly factor in for me, and maybe it should have. Everyone has asked it. And I guess it’s made me think, “Should I have thought about that?” But it didn’t really factor in. I did a week on the show and really enjoyed it, and I pretty much came away from that week thinking that if they were interested in having me, I couldn’t turn it down.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Columns

51 Comments

Dear Urban Diplomat: can I hate my fellow TTC riders for not giving up seats for me and my toddler?

(Image: Andrew Currie/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,

I’m a young dad, and I take my 16-month-old son to and from daycare on the subway during rush hour. Is it wrong to get annoyed when people don’t give up a seat and I’m stuck carrying a squirming toddler for the entire 10-stop ride?

—Last Man Standing, Bloordale

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Real Estate

3 Comments

House of the Week: $650,000 for a condo-sized coach house in South Riverdale

toronto-house-of-the-week-25r-clark-street-intro

Address: 25R Clark Street
Neighbourhood: South Riverdale
Agent: Marc Paille and Michell Perez, Royal Lepage Signature Realty
Price: $645,218

The Place: A coach house tucked away on a quiet laneway near Queen and Broadview.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

How-To

2 Comments

How a construction crew demolished Regent Park’s last original apartment tower

(Image: Holly Blair)

(Image: Holly Blair)

Regent Park is in the process of being transformed from a social housing project into a mixed-income neighbourhood where condo-dwellers and low-income renters can live near one another, shop in the same grocery stores and hang out at the same parks and fancy athletic facilities. The final realization of that dream is still a few years off, though. For the time being, the 69-acre site, currently under heavy redevelopment by Toronto Community Housing and Daniels Corporation, is a construction zone. This March marked a milestone: 14 Blevins, a Toronto Community Housing apartment tower that happened to be the last original 1958 Regent Park high-rise still standing, was completely demolished to make way for what’s next. Here’s how ProGreen Demolition wrecked the building without dropping any bricks on the elementary school next door.

The Informer

People

Comments

Ten things Russell Martin can’t live without

Last fall, the star catcher signed a five-year, $82-million deal with the Jays. This month, he’ll make his debut on the field. Here, the 10 things he can’t live without


russell-martin-the-list

1
My Lululemon pants
I’ve got really big thighs, so it’s impossible to find pants that fit right. The ABC pants from Lululemon are a life changer! They look great with a sport coat, but they’re as comfortable as yoga gear.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Best Bets

1 Comment

See a play in an abandoned high school, bid farewell to Dame Edna and seven other things to do this week

(Images, clockwise from top left: "Squirrel, Oh Happy Day," by Marjorie Campbell, courtesy of Love Art Fair; Dame Edna Everage, courtesy of Mirvish Productions; Herbie Hancock, courtesy of Massey Hall; "Indian War Canoes," by Emily Carr, courtesy of the AGO)

(Images, clockwise from top left: “Squirrel, Oh Happy Day,” by Marjorie Campbell, courtesy of Love Art Fair; Dame Edna Everage, courtesy of Mirvish Productions; Herbie Hancock, courtesy of Massey Hall; “Indian War Canoes,” by Emily Carr, courtesy of the AGO)

See a play in an abandoned high school
One of the season’s most ambitious theatre creations is Sheridan College’s Brantwood 1920–2020, an imaginative lark that takes place in the abandoned Brantwood School in Oakville. The cast will play out scenes and songs from the school’s fictional history in different classrooms. Ticket-holders arrive at Sheridan College, where, appropriately, a school bus will transport them to the Brantwood campus. April 11 to May 3. $35. Sheridan College, 1430 Trafalgar Rd., Oakville, 905-815-4049, sheridancollege.ca.

Read the rest of this entry »