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4 Reasons We Love Raising Kids in a Condo

Jun 26, 2017

Let’s face it. In big cities, backyards are going the way of the dinosaur. They will be pushed to extinction by the asteroid that is urbanization.

This doesn’t mean city dwellers don’t occasionally dream of greener pastures. I still overhear conversations in which young people say that they want, nay, that they need a place with a backyard. I suspect this is a person destined to move to the suburbs. Many big-city residents (like myself) arrive from small towns and open spaces. While some will always pine for the comforts a patch of grass can provide, others embrace the many benefits of city life.

Living in Toronto, our family pursues urban adventures. We explore neighborhoods and find activities that engage the kids and expose them to new cultures. That means afternoons at our local outdoor skating rink or Sunday visits to the art gallery for arts and crafts. As the kids get older, we’ll enroll them in organized activities and skills classes, attend professional sports events and seek thrills at amusement parks. Most big cities contain adventures I could only dream of while growing up in Cape Breton.


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As our kids grow older and we consider our future accommodations, we see three possibilities: move to a house in the suburbs, spend a major portion of our earnings on a house in the city, or stick with our spacious, two-bedroom condo. For now, we’ve opted for the condo. Here is why we think it’s the best choice for us:


Less house means more savings

We travel a lot and still manage to save quite a bit too. Having a low monthly mortgage payment and no vehicle allows us enough disposable income to regularly leave the city. We travel outside Toronto between 12 and 18 times year. On some weekends, we rent a car and drive to neighboring cities like Niagara-on-the-Lake, Montreal, or to nearby U.S. states like Vermont and New York. For longer vacations, we hop on a flight to discover a new country. A higher mortgage payment would severely limit these opportunities.


Condos come with amenities

Our condo has a pool, a basketball court, a squash court, and a rooftop patio with a whirlpool. When our kids need to run around, we gather up a basketball, a baseball bat and a couple hockey sticks and head down to the gym which is an indoor area where we can play sports year round. The blistering heat of summer and bone-chilling cold of winter are not a factor. Our rooftop patio also gives us a great place to relax and barbecue while enjoying an elevated view of Toronto’s beautiful skyline.


Food to discover at our doorstep

We love food. It might be the main reason why we don’t want to move outside of the city. During our travels, we have discovered that most metropolitan areas have amazing culinary scenes. Every neighborhood contains an abundance of restaurant options and flavours from many parts of the world.


Less house maintenance and yard work

When I hear how much some homeowners spend on their lawn, I cringe. The yearly cost of those summer nights on the back patio runs in the thousands, not to mention the expenses for home repairs and home security systems. From leaky foundations to dilapidated shingles, home ownership can be a money pit.


Happy little girl jumping in an urban playground.

My small town friends and I grew up outdoors. We played road hockey constantly and routinely explored the wooded areas in and around our expanding subdivision. Those were our day-to-day rituals. We made our own fun based on the options available.

What we rarely did was hang out in in our own backyards. Our yard was large (we had two lots), but I really only knew it as the place where we put the barbecue. In fact, my most enduring memory from having a yard is the torture of mowing it. I now see the city of Toronto as my backyard, and my family and I have made enough memories in our ten years here to last a lifetime.

Article Author Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy is a Toronto-based travel writer for Baby & Life. He and his wife have pursued their love of culture by exploring their city and travelling frequently with two young kids. After growing up on Cape Breton Island, Chris moved to Toronto and fell in love with its many neighborhoods. He craves good food, fine beer and urban adventure. You can read about the trials and tribulation of his on-the-move parenting at babyandlife.com.

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