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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $4.8 million for a summery new home in the Beach

The house for sale at 20 Neville Park Boulevard

Address: 20 Neville Park Boulevard
Neighbourhood: The Beach
Agent: Ken Digilakis and Nicole Digilakis, Re/Max All Stars Realty Inc., Brokerage
Price: $4,788,000

The place: A two-storey Cape Cod–inspired house a few minutes’ walk away from the Balmy Beach waterfront.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Not Your Average Joe: who cottages where on Muskoka’s luxest lake

Of the three major Muskoka lakes, Joseph is cottage country’s most star-studded. Its lots—generally bigger than those on nearby Rosseau and Muskoka—attract celebrities and business titans who require adequate room for their toys, boats and egos, and prefer not to rub elbows with nosy neighbours. The maximal-living trend is most obvious on the lake’s northern tip, dubbed Billionaires’ Row, where one lakeside cottage compound recently went on the market for a record-setting $25 million. Here’s a look at who calls Lake Joe their home away from home.

(Images: Bronfman, Ivey, Crawford, Cynamon and cottage, Hamlin by Getty Images; Kenny G via Wikimedia Commons, cottage by Ted Yarwood; Walker cottage via Instagram; O’Leary courtesy of CBC, cottage by the National Post; Stavropoulos via Twitter. Illustration by Chloe Cushman)

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Best Bets

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Camp out on the Islands, see some buskers and seven other things to do this week

Toronto things to do, August 2015

(Images, clockwise from top left: Jane Levy in Bang Bang Baby, courtesy of Red Eye Media; Sketchbook Project pop-up, courtesy of the Sketchbook Project; Silver and the Sauruses, courtesy of Buskerfest Toronto; the Weather Station, courtesy of Wavelength Toronto)

Attend an indie-rock campout on the Islands
For five years, Toronto’s friendliest music fest, ALL CAPS!, offered listeners of all ages an idyllic island retreat and intimate shoreside sets from the country’s finest indie bands. Now, ALL CAPS! organizers Wavelength are resurrecting that festival’s rustic-getaway vibe—overnight camping included—with Camp Wavelength, a Canada-centric lineup featuring Toronto roots rockers the Wooden Sky, singer-songwriter the Weather Station and dubby psych-pop trio Doomsquad. Friday, August 28 to Sunday, August 30. $75; $150 with camping access. Artscape Gibraltar Point, 433 Lakeshore Ave., Toronto Islands, 416-546-2745, wavelengthtoronto.com.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Here’s what Ace Hotel’s Toronto expansion could look like

Ace Hotel's proposed Toronto expansion

A view of the proposed building from the north.

What it is: A proposed Toronto location for Ace Hotel, a chain that prides itself on art-friendly boutique hospitality. (Imagine the Drake Hotel, but a multinational corporation.) The new building would be located just southwest of Queen and Spadina, at the corner of Brant and Camden streets. It would be 13 storeys tall, with 130 hotel rooms on the upper floors, a lobby on the ground floor and a restaurant on a lower level.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Cottage of the Week: $450,000 for a rustic retreat in Frontenac

The cottage for sale at 141 Badour Island

(Image: The Real Image)

Address: 141 and 142 Badour Island
Neighbourhood: Frontenac
Agent: Rhonda Grant, Sutton Group Masters Realty Inc., Brokerage
Price: $450,000

The place: A two-lot property on an island in Bob’s Lake in Frontenac. It consists of a guest house, a tree house and a main building.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Sale of the Week: the $1.8-million Long Branch home that shows what 30 feet of Toronto lakefront is worth

Sold: the house at 85 Lake Promenade

Address: 85 Lake Promenade
Neighbourhood: Long Branch
Agent: Sohail Mansoor and Arlyn Fortin, Royal LePage Signature Realty, Brokerage

The property: This Long Branch home’s back deck is located just steps away from Lake Ontario, and the open-concept main level has a floor-to-ceiling view of the water. The master suite has a door that leads directly to the beach.

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The Informer

Politics

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Doug Ford says he’ll take Stephen Harper’s job, but only if he has to

doug-ford-now-whatMonths after deciding not to run for leadership of the Ontario Tories, Doug Ford is once again openly musing about assuming control of a Conservative caucus—but this time (movie trailer narrator voice) it’s federal. During an interview with Bloomberg, Ford expressed interest in running for Stephen Harper’s job as head of the Conservative Party of Canada, should Harper resign after the election. The classic Doug Ford trial balloon came with a classic Doug Ford exaggerated feint at reluctance: “I don’t think I’ll have to because hopefully he’ll be prime minister for the next 20 years,” he said. “I never say never in politics.”

The Informer

Columns

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Memoir: after my mother died, I found solace in her religion

Memoir: after my mother died, I found solace in her religion

My mother used to compare Buddhism to a boulder in a rushing river: something you could grab onto whenever you needed it, an anchor in moments of chaos. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, we left our Vietnamese village on a fishing boat. When we settled in Regent Park, my father toiled as a mechanic, my mother as a seamstress—they were always working to make a better life for my two siblings and me. Throughout my childhood, my mother would pray to the ancestors for guidance or good fortune. She’d set up an altar, place food on a wooden table by the window, and burn candles and incense to create an auspicious crosswind. My father was skeptical of her practice; he thought religion was a hobby for the ignorant. I tended to agree with him.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Condo of the Week: $870,000 for a piece of a Victorian near Casa Loma

The condo for sale at 300 Avenue Road

(Image: Toursler.com)

Address: 300 Avenue Road, Unit 2
Neighbourhood: Casa Loma
Agent: Marcus Williams, HomeLife Dreams Realty Inc., Brokerage
Price: $868,000

The place: A two-bedroom condo spread over three levels of a converted Victorian mansion. There’s a kitchen and living area on the main floor, a light-filled family room and guest bedroom on the lower level, and a large master suite upstairs.

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The Informer

Features

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The Tenant from Hell: how a serial fraudster took advantage of Toronto’s red-hot real estate market

The Tenant from Hell

Wilf Dinnick and Sonia Verma moved to Qatar in 2014 and rented their west-end home to people who seemed like ideal tenants. (Images: House by Dave Gillespie; Gubb, Dinnick and Verma via Facebook)

In the summer of 2014, Wilf Dinnick, a former news correspondent, accepted a job running Al Jazeera’s website in Doha, Qatar. He and his wife, Sonia Verma, a newspaper reporter, had settled in Toronto in 2009. They bought a beautiful four-bedroom brick semi at 47 Lakeview Avenue, near Dundas and Ossington, for $719,000. They loved the area—minutes from Trinity Bellwoods Park, steps from their favourite restaurants and cafés, and surrounded by neighbours who quickly became close friends. Rather than sell the house before the move, they decided to rent it out. They knew that if they were ever going to return to Toronto, they would want to build their life in the same area. Plus, in a neighbourhood that continued to gentrify, selling didn’t make sense. They hired Chestnut Park, which deals with some of the most expensive real estate in the city, to ­manage the rental. For $4,000, Sarah Giacomelli, a realtor with over 20 years of experience, agreed to take care of ­everything: placing an ad, vetting the candidates, choosing the tenant and handling the paperwork. A few weeks after the family had arrived in Doha, Giacomelli reported that she’d found terrific tenants. The Gubbs were a family of four: Jesse, his girlfriend, Haruka, his brother, Troy, and his father, John. Jesse, who appeared to handle the rental negotiations for the family, worked in sales at a tech­nology company called Web Factory Studios Canada. He drove a Range Rover, had more than $44,000 in savings and would have no trouble covering the $3,600 monthly rent. Another potential tenant showed interest in the property, but Gubb won them over with a sob story: he was trying to get his family, once estranged but newly reunited, under one roof. He upped his rent offer to $4,000 to seal the deal, and it worked.

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The Informer

Sports

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The ridiculously elaborate high-fives of the newly victorious Blue Jays

The Blue Jays have had plenty to celebrate lately—and, if you’ve just started paying attention, you’ve probably noticed they have some strange ways of doing that. Here, a selection of the most elaborate high-fives, handshakes, backslaps and other on-field victory gestures from a few of the team’s recent games.

Jose Bautista makes it rainThe Rainmaker
Jose Bautista and Ryan Goins appear to mime making it rain, shuffling bills from their hands into the sky.

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The Informer

Columns

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what should I do with my back-seat cab-driving boyfriend?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

Every time I take a cab with my boyfriend, he guides our driver using the Waze app, which plots out the fastest route based on real-time traffic updates. He shouts, “Left here! Now right!” and so on, not unlike an English lord addressing his valet, and it makes me extremely uncomfortable. Do passengers have the right to undermine a cabbie with an app?

—Not-So-Set in My Waze, King West

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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $2 million for a sprawling Humber Valley bungalow with a backyard waterfall

The house for sale at 1 Country Club Drive

Address: 1 Country Club Drive
Neighbourhood: Humber Valley
Agent: Theodore Evan Babiak, Royal Lepage Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage
Price: $2,048,000

The place: A sprawling four-bedroom, five-bathroom bungalow with a Californian feel, complete with its own waterfall in the backyard.

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The Informer

Culture

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A New Altitude: photographer Ronnie Yip shoots the city from dizzying, dazzling heights

Ronnie Yip's feet dangle from a Toronto rooftop

Yip angled his camera straight down from his perch on a condo balcony to create a vertiginous perspective.

The latest trend in urban daredevilry is rooftopping, a style of bird’s-eye-view photography that often involves entering buildings without permission or scaling the exteriors of skyscrapers, and shooting the scenes below. The king of Toronto rooftopping is Ronnie Yip, who started shooting five years ago. Yip doesn’t break and enter—he has a knack for finding doors that have been left open or talking his way in by charming window washers and building managers, using his portfolio to convince them that his intentions are pure and his art worthy.

a-new-altitude-photographer-ronnie-yip-02

A slice of the Rogers Centre peeks out from behind a fortress of condo towers.

Getting inside is the easy part. At hundreds of metres up, freezing temperatures and strong winds create a hostile atmosphere. Yip occasionally uses straps and carabiners to keep his tripod secure, but otherwise he packs light, carrying only his Canon 5D Mark III camera, wide-angle lenses, a sandwich (he’s often up there for hours waiting for the right light) and occasionally a horse mask—“for the LOLs,” he says. The photos are luminous and vertigo-inducing. He edits them using exposure fusion, a technique that lets him combine the best elements of multiple frames. Each shot turns Toronto into a glowing, utopian version of itself while capturing its rapid skyward expansion. Here, above and below, are a few of our favourites.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Cottage of the Week: $2.7 million for a luxurious log cabin on a private Huntsville lake

The cottage at 1700 Aspdin Road, Huntsville

(Image: Paul Madden)

Address: 1700 Aspdin Road
Neighbourhood: Huntsville
Agents: Jamie Lockwood, Sutton Group Muskoka Realty, Brokerage; Jack Janssen, Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage
Price: $2,695,000

The place: An upper-crust take on a classic log cabin, located on Lake Onawa near Hunstville.

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